Boro (more accurately ‘Boro boro’), meaning ‘rags or tatters’ is the art of repairing fabric using scraps and stitching. A source of shame in Japan for many years, the fabrics are now highly prized and can fetch significant sums. Boro work follows the British wartime tradition of ‘make do and mend’ but was used out of necessity in Japan to prolong the life of clothes and bedding due to extreme poverty and the scarcity of textiles.
In this online workshop, led by Rob Jones, the participants will learn a brief history and origins of Boro, and they will learn how to repair a garment using scraps, both modern and vintage, how to use sashiko stitching to enhance your work; practice using visible repair to enhance and strengthen textiles; applique and reverse applique techniques will be shown. This workshop is suitable for complete beginners.
Participants will need the following materials and tools:
An item of clothing to repair: Denim, chinos or cotton linen pieces are best. Alternatively participants could start to make their own Boro-inspired fabric by sewing together different patches. No wool, jumpers or fine materials such as silk.
Some fabric to patch with: This could be any scrap fabric, vintage fabric or material people have. Ideally it would be printed or at least have some pattern on it as this is what people can use to get their inspiration for their stitching from. This also needs to be of sufficient weight for the material being mended. If the cotton is lighter than the denim being mended it can be doubled to add weight.
Sashiko thread: This can be in any colour of your choice and that will work with the fabrics selected for mending.
Sashiko needle (or alternatively, embroidery needles).
Small pair of sharp scissors, or large pair of dressmaking scissors if you have
Pins: Ideally these would be the finer kind and longer ones are best but any will do
[OPTIONAL] Thimble or sashiko coin thimble
Soluble marker pen
Strong thread for tacking/basting (or alternatively embroidery thread)
Iron and ironing board
[OPTIONAL] Quilt batting (only if you wish to make a quilted fabric rather than a mend)
Some Sashiko materials and tools could be purchased from Susan Briscoe Design or Doughty’s Online.
London-based Romor Designs was formed in the autumn of 2015 by Rob Jones, a shibori textiles designer and natural dyer. Having discovered Shibori, the ancient Japanese art of resist dyeing, at West Dean college, Rob went on to study in Japan under indigo guru, Bryan Whitehead. In 2018, Rob returned to Japan to expand his Japanese textiles skills, visiting Ise, the home of Katagami stencilling and buying supplies to set up his own teaching practice back in the UK.
If you have any questions, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In association with: Romor Designs
£25 per person
Booking essential - Priority for Japan Society Members and their guests
Please note that spaces are limited and early booking is recommended