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Hello! This is Valerie from Élégantine! and I am back with something a little different than my usual… Today, I am here to show you how you can do some Jeans Mending For Cool Kids with Boro and Sashiko Embrodery.
Recently, my 2 year old son made so many holes in his pants that I figured I better learn an interesting way to mend his clothes. So far, he ruined mostly sweat pants and he ALMOST got through a pair of jeans. I am here, impatiently waiting, for the real hole to appear so I can use this new technique that I learned especially for this! Trust me, once you learn how to mend using Boro and Sashiko embroidery, you will want to mend everything!
Honestly, I don’t mend clothes that often. A missing button, perhaps, here and there. Other than that, I tend to put all the clothes I need to mend in a neat pile with all the good intentions in the world. But then, I get distracted by all the shiny new projects I want to undertake and the mending pile just keeps on growing bigger. That was me, until I discovered Boro and Sahiko embroidery, 2 very cool and creative techniques that add so much to a garment that they make me feel like I created something completely new!
About Boro and Sashiko embroidery
The techniques that I am using today are both coming from the Japanese tradition. While Boro designates the art of mending textiles with patches, Sashiko is a simple but impressive hand-sewing technique. The two techniques are often combined together for mending and quilting. Sashiko refers to a series of exposed and very regular running stitches on various shades of indigo.
There are lots and lots of Sashiko designs. You can find patterns in specialty books, find them off the Internet or even create your own designs. You can use the most simple to the most complex designs. Have fun experimenting and use shapes to enhance your own personality.
Traditionally, Sashiko was used on light to medium weight woven fabrics in all shades of indigo. I am using it today on denim, which is a heavier type of fabric. Therefore, it is not completely faithful to the Japanese tradition. It might take you a little more practice to get even stitches on a heavier fabric, but you will get the ideal shades and you can still create something unique and fun!
You will need…
- Scraps of denim or any chosen WOVEN fabric. Use various shades and textures for an interesting look! Don’t forget to pre-wash your denim scraps, especially if you are using white or pale embroidery thread. Tip! Use recycled materials to get into that slow fashion concept even more.
- An extra long needle. If you can find a Sashiko needle, good for you! If not, a simple solid extra long darning needle will do just fine.
- Sashiko thread (optional) or top-stitching or embroidery thread. Depending on your thread thickness, you can choose to thread your needle with 1 or multiple strands.
- Beeswax (optional). Beeswax will help you thread pass more easily through your fabric and will prevent knots.
- Thimble (optional). A thimble will prevent your hands from getting sores from pushing the needle in and out.
- An erasable marker or chalk
- Pins, ruler, scissors.
Jeans Mending For Cool Kids with Boro and Sashiko Embrodery
Cut your patches to cover all your planned design. Make sure they are at least 1 inch larger all around the hole you will be mending.
Finish the edges of the patches with your preferred method. If you are using a serger, secure the threads tails.
Place the patches inside the legs or under the area you are planning to mend.
If you are mending a knee hole, pinch the fabric a little with your fingers to give more room to the knee. This will prevent too much tension on your stitching.
Using a ruler and erasable marker or chalk, draw your design on the fabric. When I use simple straight lines, I generally trace only the first line and then I use the previous stitching line as a guide.
Pin the patch to the fabric and start the Sashiko stitches. Sashiko embroidery is different than other embroidery forms. Start by inserting the needle (tied with a double knot at the end) WITHOUT going all the way through the fabrics. Instead of doing small stitches one at a time, you will run a series of stitches and pull the needle all the way through once you have a couple of stitches on the needle. Continue in this matter following your design.
When doing horizontal lines, start a second row from the side you’ve finished, going in the opposite direction.
When you reach the knee patch, it will get a little tricky since we added ease to the fabric. Go slowly and trace a few guide lines if you need to.
Voilà! You are all done!
Now that you know about Boro and Sashiko embroidery, you have no reason of ever feeling miserable when you’ll have your machine serviced! Have fun creating with these techniques, mixing various textures and colors and also try inserting Sashiko embroidery in your next garment sewing project. Imagine how it would look awesome on a pocket or on a shirt yoke!
My friend’s son, who graciously entrusted to me, his old favorite pair of jeans, was the most happy and surprised fellow when I brought them back! There is nothing like making a kid happy, is there?
For more denim projects, boy fashion and all kind of sewing inspiration visit me on my blog Élégantine!
Until next time!
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Making your own clothing alterations is so satisfying and a great way to save some money, too!
Check out a few more easy alterations you can make today: