My Boro Stitching & Thoughts for Other Stitchers

By Susan Fletcher
sewing with boro fabric

     It seems vain to be writing a blog that is just about my own boro stitching and thoughts about it, but I am updating my Boro Beginner Kit and I want to have some photographs for stitchers who are starting their first boro projects, so this is that :-D.

It is just meant to give examples and stimulate ideas.

(If you are looking for small cuts of fabric for your own boro stitching projects click here. I keep a good range of fabric and colours in packs of about 60 grams available)

Boro book cover

This boro book cover is still my favourite of all the pieces I have stitched. You can see that I used some scraps of previous projects in it, like the flax leaf sashiko fragment in the bottom left corner, and the bit of an effort at piecing a log cabin block on the bottom left corner. One of the beautiful things about boro stitching is that it can give a home to the bits of projects "gone sideways" that are too good to throw away and not good for anything else! 

boro slippers

My second favourite boro project was these slippers made by my sister and me. Mine are the little feet on the left 😂

laying out boro scraps for stitching

Before you can make a project from a boro stitched cloth you need to make the cloth, and that means stitching a lot of patches to a backing cloth. You can lay them out and baste or pin them to the backing, and then stitch but I just add one at at time to the backing fabric and hold it in place until I have it stitched down. It's a messier and random method but very relaxing, and I enjoy it.

making of pieces of boro fabric

Possibly I enjoy it too much! I keep making these. They just get stuffed in a box until one day I have a lot of them. Once I took all I had made and stitched them together into a boro quilt which looks like this:

boro quilt

I wouldn't call it pretty. I'd call it home-y, interesting, comfortable. Like other textiles that contain hours of someone's life in its construction, it feels valuable. 

Which is a good thing since I keep making more pieces of boro cloth! And now you know why I have an Instagram hashtag #stillcantstopstitching" 😂

boro quilt

 I don't stitch straight rows and my fabrics are not laid out in any orderly way. And I like to stitch on the fabrics after they are stitched to the backing, just randomly doodling with my thread and needle. But I admire greatly the chiku-chiku boro stitching style. I hope to make a quilt in that tradition one day.

It's a matter of what you enjoy plus what is functional for your project. The right thing to do is to suit yourself!

cutting boro cloth to sew with

This was a fun project. I made a Tilda doll and dressed her in a sashiko top and boro pants. Again you can see the use of some scraps of sashiko stitched fabrics that were left over from other sewing projects. I can never throw away handmade or hand stitched scraps.  Here is the finished Tilda Doll:

Tilda doll with boro and sashiko stitched clothing

She has a face now. She wasn't quite finished then.

boro container

I guess this is my third favourite boro piece. It keeps its shape because it has a layer of Soft&Stable between the outer and inner fabric. (Let me digress to say that Soft & Stable is what you want for any project that you want to have keep its own shape when empty)

Boro stitching. You can use a simple sashiko stitch and stitch in rows and it will look so good. You can also play around with adding more stitches. If you know how to do hitomezashi stitching you already know how to build designs from repeating individual stitches. But you can also just make up your own if you want. I do that all the time because it is relaxing to have no rules.

I believe this is the piece I cut my slippers in the earlier photo from 😀

bor stitching sample

Although I like to  do it, there is no reason for such heavy all over stitching.  A little can do a lot.

One more sample of pieces of boro stitched fabric being used for a sewing project. This is a clever little slide bag with a metal slide clasp closure.

boro bag

This time I made the boro fabric specifically for the making this little bag. I stitched the fabrics together, made the bag, and added the extra stitching for decorative reasons after. 

Did I already say that you should do your boro stitching in the way that pleases you the most? If not, I'm saying it now. 

Happy Stitching,


boro stitched projects