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Jenni's Book Review

June 29 2022

Book Review: The Book of Boro: Techniques and patterns inspired by traditional Japanese textiles 




Have you heard the old joke about darning socks?  In my grandmother’s day, when a sock got a hole in it, she would get out the wool, and a blunt needle, and darn it.  Today, we find a hole in our sock, say “Darn it!” and throw it in the garbage. 

Our grandmothers experienced scarcity during World War II and the Great Depression.  Clothing was hard to find, expensive, and was often of poor quality.  Mending was a necessity to prolong the life of family clothing.  In today’s world, we have fast fashion – relatively inexpensive clothing that is widely available.  In the past couple of decades, it was easier for many people to throw out and replace clothing that needed alterations or repairs.  But now, a new/old trend is emerging – visible mending; a way to repair clothing while showcasing favorite fabrics and beautiful hand-stitching.

This book teaches the Japanese technique of “boro”, which means rag.  “Boroboro” refers to something tattered or repaired.  Boro is an ancient technique which is enjoying a comeback, along with patching, visible mending, darning and slow stitching.   While these techniques for repairing textiles were traditionally for utilitarian purposes, the current trend is to make the repair decorative as well as functional.

Author Susan Briscoe presents basic techniques and projects ranging from a book mark to a tote bag to a Japanese Hanten jacket, which is loose and boxy like a kimono.  Stitchers off all levels will learn much from this book, which is available at Mannville Library.

Other similar books in the TRAC Library system:

  • Joyful mending by Misumi, Noriko
  • Creative mending by Noguchi, Hikaru
  • Mending Life by Montenegro, Sonya
  • Visible mending by Cardon, Jenny Wilding
  • Mending matters by Rodabaugh, Katrina

Library staff would be happy to help you place a hold on any of these books.  Call or stop in today!

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