Friday, 4 April 2014

Parcel Two - Boro Delight

"This is a vintage noragi vest from Hokuriki district. It is made of beautiful sakiori fabric. Sakiori is a traditional Japanese technique of rag weaving.The rag strips are cut finely and woven into a tweed-like fabric. In olden times people in northern district were poor, and people used their fabrics repaired and repaired, and finally make the fabrics to sakiori fabrics, and made noragi, interior fabrics and obi from sakiori fabrics.
This piece has especially beautiful (well worn) sakiori pattern. Textile is very very thick. And in the back near the neck, sashiko stitches are done. Its white pattern is exceptionally beautiful. Please check the fantastic sakiori and sashiko details with more photos.
It has a tear in the right chest, but as a whole it is in very good condition.
For the connoisseurs."

Above are the details from the Ichiroya - Kimono Flea Market website where I saw this vest and, although I am no "connoisseur", I knew I had to have it.
It arrived in the post yesterday, 

along with an apron I took a liking to and a gift of a lovely piece of kimono silk. Ichiroya are great to deal with and the descriptions and photographs of items on the website mean you know what you are buying.

The vest combines so much of what I love about vintage Japanese textiles.  The woven "sakiori" 

fabric, the sashiko stitching, the indigo dye of course, the concept of "boro" and also wabi sabi.  Here are my thoughts, I would appreciate your views.

The vest is old, and fragile in places.  I want to wear it once in a while and I want it to continue to have a life, not just become a treasure I store away in my sewing room.  It has evolved over time and I think it can continue to do so.
Can I do some work on it without stripping it of its integrity?
There are two areas I would like to pay attention to, the tear in the right side of the front (shown in the first photograph) and the stitching down the sides.

am thinking of patching the front using some vintage indigo fabric, hopefully patching from inside if it is possible.  I would then use a simple sashiko stitch to hold it all together.
I would like to extend the stitching up each side of the vest, using the same stitch and in a cream cotton sashiko thread.
I feel that doing these things would prevent further damage to the vest.
However, should one repair such a beautiful item?
I really would appreciate your opinions and suggestions.

Japanese-speakers out there.... what exactly is on my apron?  Ichiroya say it advertises fish sausages. Are these anything like fish fingers?  I love the zipped pocket detail on the apron which I didn't notice initially!


  1. What great items! I've got no opinion on how best to repair / strengthen your vest, but I'm happy that you're going to be doing it to preserve but use the piece!

  2. I think that if this piece is not important enough to be in a museum then you have enough sensitivity to Japanese culture and to boro cloth to add enough stitch or fabric to it to prevent it from deteriorating any further. I would be of the same view as yourself that it would be in the spirit of the garment to continue its useful life and to add your marks to it.

  3. The apron says Kane tetsu. The kanji on each side say "registered" "trademark"
    The pictures are of kamaboko, a kind of sausage made of minced fish meat. One is on a wooden block ... that is the way it is sold, and the other is "Chiku wa" (bamboo hole) it is also the same sausage formed into a tube. Those are often cut into slices and served in soup
    I would say go with the repairs to the vest.The idea in the first place is to extend its life and you have the skill and the appreciation to pull it off.

  4. How lovely that Julie F could translate for you. As for the repairs, as Julie says, if it's not destined for a museum, it should be used, and you are the best person to repair it sympathetically! Extending the stitching sounds like a great idea!

  5. Julie says it all, repair this beautiful piece of clothing gently and use it to show your appreciation.
    You can see for yourself the website of the 'kamaboko' fish cake factory.

  6. continue the repairs is if you were it's original owner, wear it and enjoy it. as a weaver - of sakiori - might I suggest that you needle weave (just over 1 and under one) in the repair area to give it some stability before adding the patch and stitching. the rag weft is folded and bunched, in some areas it will need a bit of force to get the needle through.

  7. oh what a wonderful find, I think you should repair it as that is conservation, to prevent it deteriorating any further, you lucky bean


I really appreciate your lovely comments, ideas and opinions, they make my day. Thank you for visiting Piece'n'Peace,
hugs, Lis x