Tuesday, 3 May 2016


Something old made into something new,
Something "boro'd" is always blue.

And there you have it - BORO, Japanese folk fabric,
the orient's answer to western patchwork.

Boro stemmed from the almost forgotton value of "mottainai"
or too good to waste and sits comfortably in all it's indigo
shades with today's shabby street chic.

When literally translated the word means scraps of ragged
cloth and is associated with clothes and household items that
have been patched and repatched many times.  Generations of
family sagas are contained within the threads of many of the
older examples.  Garments were traditionally passed down within
families and the beauty of the hard wearing boro fabric lies in the
highly sophisticated sewing and weaving techniques employed 
by it's makers.  Japanese women would often create their own
individual designs in fierce competition with other family 
members and friends.

Donja's are the very large, heavy sleeping coats which all the
family used to pile into whilst a bodoko was a bed sheet.
The bodoko, or life cloth, was also used when a woman went
into labour.  She would be suspended from ropes fastened to
the ceiling whilst at the same time lightly kneeling on the bodoko.
This meant that these layers of rags worn by her ancestors would
be the first thing her new-born child would touch upon entry into
the world.  I think I'd prefer gas and air anytime but each to her own.

Boro is the tangible representation of "yuyo-no-bi" (the beauty
of practicality) as it uses everything and lets nothing go to waste.
Each and every piece of this cheap, utilitarian fabric is, by it's
very criteria, unique.  You'll never find two pieces alike and by
dint of it's beauty and history these wonderful examples of textile
art have now become highly valued and much sought after.

So I must make a start.  Where did I put those worn out old blue
jeans?  I hope no one's "boro'd" them.


  1. Gorgeous - of course, blues of these shades are my favorite but I love the structured chaos of the shapes.

  2. What an interesting post. I find the more I delve into threads and fabric and the history of them, the more fascinating it becomes. I truly enjoyed reading this and seeing the photos. Thanks!!!