This is a tutorial for the technique for Reversible Pojagi. Seam allowances are totally enclosed, so either side can be displayed. This is the technique I used in my white place mats and my red and green table mat.
The fabric that I used is called ramie. It is very common in Korea, and summer clothing is often made from it. It is a natural fibre similar to linen or hemp. As you can see in the picture, it is quite stiff and holds it shape very well. I have not tried this technique using any other fabrics. If you want to try it and don’t have access to ramie, probably linen would be the best substitution. It needs to be a fairly stiff fabric and be able to hold a crease quite well.
The ramie I used is lower quality, so it is a bit rough to the touch. Ramie used in clothing is still stiff, but softer. I didn’t care how soft my place mats were. I am also planning on seeing how the fabric stands up to regular use.
In the sample, I used yellow and green fabric. I will refer to them by colour, but obviously any two colours could be used. Normally a contrasting colour of thread is used. The stitching lines are part of the design and are supposed to stand out. I used white thread for a moderate contrast. My stitches are visible, but not as much as if I used a dark colour. The thread is thick, like a size 8 perle cotton. The fabric has a loose weave, so it needs a substantial thread.
1. Place the fabrics together, with the green fabric about 5 mm offset from the yellow. (NOTE: For consistency, I will use metric measurements in the tutorial. My ruler is in metric, and Pojagi is traditionally measured with metric. 5 mm is just less than 1/4 inch and 1 cm is about 4/10 of an inch.)
2. Baste the two pieces together close to the edge of the yellow fabric. Use a contrasting thread, but a different colour than your stitching thread. Any old sewing thread will do – these stitches are removed later.
3. Measure 5 cm from the edge of the yellow fabric, and mark with a hera. Marking in this way is just like scoring paper to fold it. A hera is essential in Korean patchwork. I had never used one before, but now I can see many uses.
See the crease line?
4. Fold up the yellow fabric on the line.
5. Fold the green fabric down away from the yellow fabric. The seam allowances should be in the middle, kind of like an “M” shape.
6. Stitch the two pieces together with an overcast stitch. The goal with pojagi is to have uniform stitch size.
Be careful not to make the stitches “bite” into the fabric too deep. The seam has to be able to lie flat, so just pick up a couple threads on the top. Also, don’t pull too tight, or it won’t be able to spread, and it will pucker.
7. When you are finished, open the fabrics. Notice that the back of the overcast stitches is straight.
8. Now mark the green fabric with the hera just past the edge of the yellow fabric. (Sorry about the glare from the flash.)
9. Fold the green fabric up on the crease.
10. Now fold the entire seam up onto the yellow fabric. The stitches that you see on the green fabric in the picture are the same stitches you see on the yellow fabric above, it is just the other side of the seam allowance.
11. Fold the yellow side away to make the “M” shape again. The only difference is that this time, the bottom of the “M” is joined.
12. Sew with an overcast stitch. (Yes, I cheated and used the same picture twice since I forgot to take a picture of this step.)
13. Now when you unfold it, two stitching lines are visible. The raw edges are tucked away neatly inside.
14. Remove the basting stitches.
Notice that each side of the fabric shows two lines of stitching. One is straight and the other is slanted. If the stitches are not too tight, it should lay nice and flat.
An important thing to remember if you are trying this technique, is that part of the seam allowance is visible and included in the finished piece, but not on both sides. On one side, you may have a yellow piece of 6 cm, but on the reverse side, it’s only 5 cm because the seam allowance is in the other colour. So if you want a finished 6 cm square, you can’t just simply add 2 cm for seam allowances. Also, if you have a lot of pieces, getting all the corners to line up is very difficult, as I discovered in my red and green table mat. If you are trying it, start with simple designs.