Hey y’all! Amy here. If you asked my friends for a word to describe me I have no doubt that all of them, without fail, would give you a synonym for thrifty. Frugal? Resourceful? I would like to think none of them would say cheap, but I can be honest; I love something from nothing. It’s my favourite thing. The idea of taking garbage and making gold is something deep in my bones. I am also a long time quilter. My nanny was a quilter, my grandma was a quilter, all of my aunts quilt. Patchwork and the idea of creating a blanket of scraps runs through my DNA like threads.
Alexis, knowing this about me, asked a while back if I knew about Pojagi/Bojagi, the ancient art of Korean patchwork, and thus became an online love affair. This form of patchwork was initially designed to make wrapping clothes for gifts or special objects. A more domesticated version was also used for making food wrapping clothes as far back as the 14th century. Usually, scraps of silk, ramie or linen were hand-sewn together using a finished seam that is clean on both sides. This makes this technique perfect for a sunshade or curtain. The finished seams end up looking like stained glass and the piece looks beautiful from both sides! I have been trolling the work of the artist Yoko Kubota in addition to Yeonjaejae Studios while stewing on this idea. When I went into the studio recently and took a look at our scrap collection (drapey white fabric for our upcoming pattern launch and a whole whack of unbleached muslin) the plan finally kicked into place: a bojagi inspired sunshade using all the scraps from our toile-ing at the studio!
- rotary cutter
- ruler or square
- fabric scraps
You’ll want to start with a bunch of scraps in a fairly neutral palette. Muslin, sheets, table cloths, hand-dyed yardage, anything that is the same on both sides and lets a bit of light in works for this. Start with your smallest pieces and then work towards the bigger pieces. Pick your favourite small scrap and true up the sides a bit.
With this little linen scrap, I’m going to cut off the curved edge. The basic pogagi seam is an offset seam. You will be matching up two edges with one hanging out a little longer. So next you’ll be looking for a piece to sew this to. I like to put the fabric I care about less (aka the one I have more of) as my longer seam.
After trimming that edge and matching up this yellow linen scrap to the muslin fabric scrap of the same size I overlap the muslin scrap 1/2″.
Sew at 1/4″ from the edge of the more “precious fabric”.
Press the seam open on both sides.
Wrap the longer seam allowance over the other fabric and press.
Sew down this seam at 1/8″.
I think the seam looks good from either side so if you decide to switch up which pieces you use on the “right side”, I’m with you.
From here on you just continue to build this block one scrap at a time. I try and match one edge of each block I start with a scrap and trim from there. Obviously, you are also trying to distribute your colours and textiles in a pleasing way. I am building one block out at a time and then will combine all the blocks at the end. For anyone looking for a pattern, this technique is not for you. But if you like improvising and riffing while putting this together: get ready, this is so addictive!!
I just kept adding bits of fabric and then trimming back to square. A quilting ruler or t-square can help you on this journey.
Once you have some blocks that are getting a bit wonky you can square them up and start piecing them together in bigger sections!
HALF SQUARE TRIANGLES
Another good place to start if you’re feeling uninspired is with half-square-triangles. Start with two squares of fabric the same size. Fold them in half and make a crease with your finger.
Using the crease as a guide, sew 1/4″ on either side.
Using a rotary cutter, cut them in half.
Press the seam open and sew down either side.
Trim the corner and sew these blocks together. From there you can match up an edge to a scrap. Keep adding to your blocks until you have enough “square footage”. Now you can assemble your blocks.
I laid these out on the floor and moved them around until I found a pattern I like. I had to add some bits to even it out and then I sewed them up!
I might add more to this for my new house(!) so I haven’t figured out how to hang it yet. I’ve seen folks sew a channel and use grommets. What do you think? How would you finish this?
Let the light shine in!