Boro + Sashiko – The Art of Mending

There are some things that I personally think should not be lost to the convenience of low-cost/high-speed consumer production. Most of the fabrics that make up my life (sheets, jeans, jackets, blankets, socks) all get pretty roughed up and, although it may take precious time out of my busy day, I would always prefer to take care of the items that have treated me well — that I love and have been a part of my personal history — by mending them and extending their lives.

I may just be more sentimental than others but I am obsessed with the idea that fabric absorbs human energy by being used; through sweat, dirt, hair, wear and tear. Last night while patching a hole in my sheets, I thought of my mending as helping to create a visual composition, subconsciously directed by my sleeping patterns. I love that I don’t have to go to Ikea and buy new sheets for $30. I just find a nice piece of scrap fabric, and patch it up.

Japanese boro (futon cover), 19th century by recycling remnants of indigo dyed cotton- courtesey of Ounodesign.

Boro is the Japanese art of mending, “literally translated as rags or scraps of cloth, the term boro is also used to describe clothes and household items which have been patched-up and repaired many times.” -Furujistar


A late 19th century Boro panel, courtesy of

 Sashiko,  literally translated to “little stabs”, is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching, usually running stitch, for areas on clothing that get a lot of wear.

Courtesy of Itode

November 4th TAC will be hosting a full day workshop with Sashiko master, Marico Chigyo, creator of Chigyo, where students will study and explore the beauty of the stitch.

“Threads create new encounters and connect our hearts to others. From this new thread another work is born. Threads generate our creative and artistic life.” -Chigyo.

I like to think that when I patch, stitch up and mend that I am extending, connecting and creating new histories that I will carry around with me. So don’t throw it away! Learn how to stitch: generate! Don’t destroy!

One Comment

  1. Thank you for quoting my article on boro. I enjoyed your post and im glad to have discovered your blog.

    I would just like to correct the spelling of my shop name in the article ;)

    You can see my shop here:

    Thanks :)

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