Korean patchwork

Pojagi by Machine!

I’ve heard people say “It’s not a quilt until it’s quilted.”  That’s true, and a good motivation to finish all the tops I have laying around, but if it’s not quilted, it might be pojagi.  Pojagi is a form of traditional Korean patchwork that I was lucky enough to learn when I lived in Korea.  Traditionally it was used to make wrapping cloths for gifts or to store valuables.  Today, the technique is used for a lot of different things (like quilting).  It is commonly used to make place mats, table cloths, coasters and wall-hangings, but my favourite is for windows.  When you see the pieces hung where the light can shine through, it looks amazing.

Since we returned from Korea in the summer, I have been playing with the technique.  It is traditionally done by hand, and commonly with silk or ramie (a linen-like fabric), since those would be the scraps women had left over.  I brought some Korean fabrics home with me, but I don’t want to use them all up in experiments so I decided to try some more readily available fabrics.  They  have to be pretty light-weight to allow the light to shine through, and they can’t have an obvious “right” side, since the technique is reversible.  The two obvious choices were shot cotton and batiks.  I tried them, and I have to say I love the results.

Here is a placemat made from Kaffe Fasset shot cotton.  Other than the fact that it wrinkles pretty easily, it looks good.

You can see that the seams are finished on both sides, so it is reversible.

Look at it in the light!  It has the effect of stained glass.

Here is one out of batik.  I am not a good photographer, but it just glows.

The technique I have developed is quick and fun, but still true to the traditional technique.

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