Sunday, February 21, 2016

Patching Three Ways to Cover Stains and Relieve Boredom

Boro patching with sashiko stitching

Surely I cannot be the only one who manages to drip a blob of something or other down the front of whatever I'm wearing, seemingly every single time I dine out. Unfortunately, those something-or-other blobs don't blend well with my love of natural fabrics and natural dyes. In my experience, once a blob hits cotton or linen it will remain there as an unsightly discolored stain no matter what cleaning methods I employ. Happily, I have learned to just patch those stains into oblivion in a variety of ways (see Mend Writing for one of those techniques not covered in this post).

NOTE: All three shirts in this post were thrift store scores in pristine condition before I waltzed them around in my messy world.

Stain removed with boro patch

I believe the culprit here was a bowl of mussels in anise broth. The blob smack in the middle of my chest remained a discolored stain after laundering.

Boro patch with sashimi stitching

To cover this unsightly stain I used a scrap of Japanese fabric and the Japanese technique of boro patching, employing sashiko stitching. I like the end result better than the original shirt, which was a bit boring.

Circle patching: a cure for boredom

Speaking of boredom, the patching job shown in the photo above is a response to an utterly boring Flax thrift store shirt. The solution: marrying it with another thrift store shirt. I cut up a $1 equally boring man's shirt, created a bunch of circle patches, and stitched them on.

Circle patch

To create circle patches, use a jar lid to draw a series of circles on a piece of cardboard and then cut the circles out. Place a cardboard circle in the center of a roughly circular piece of fabric, and then iron the edges over the cardboard template, being careful to keep your fingers out of harm's way. Slide the cardboard out and you've got a perfect turned circle ready for patching. I am keeping a few circles in reserve since it is only a matter of time before I manage to drop something down the front of this shirt.

Creating circle patches

From blob to political statement

Segueing back to unsightly blobs, here we have another thrift store Flax shirt. I have no recollection of what caused this particular stain, but post-laundering the problem was evident. This time around I used a leftover patch from my Sixth Extinction series. Follow that link if you want to see more Sixth Extinction couture and furniture and learn about our current eco-crisis and the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon. 

Passenger pigeon patch and vintage buttons

This photo of dead passenger pigeon specimens in a museum collection was printed onto photo transfer paper, ironed onto a scrap of cotton fabric, and then used as a patch. Note that I have also switched out the shirt's original buttons with a set of vintage buttons. 

1 comment:

  1. This is genius! I'm glad to know I'm not the only person who slops - mine are usually coffee and almost always on a white shirt. Now I have a solution.
    Oh, and I agree - your patched versions are even better than their unstained versions. (Don't you just love snagging something fabulous at a thrift store?)


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