Monday, February 11, 2019


Over the Thanksgiving holiday I spent the weekend with my son and his fiance'.
They asked me where I'd like to visit and I immediately said French General,
a fabulous French based arts, crafts & antique store in downtown L.A.
It was my second visit to this impressive store,
and to really see everything it would take at least an hour.
But I tried really hard to not make the kids wait that long.
I spotted this very cool Boro Tote kit.
It came in Indigo or French Reds.
I asked Zach's fiance' Nicole if she liked the look of the finished tote on the package
and which color she preferred.
She chose the Indigo Blue.
I was actually buying it for her mother as a Xmas gift.
Her mother Mary is an outstanding stitcher/quilter/knitter,
but after I brought it home to wrap I just couldn't seem to part with it.
It seemed to be calling to me.
So I ended up getting Mary something else just as nice.
I've been interested in Japanese Boro for about the past 5 years,
researching the techniques,
even looking for an original antique piece to buy to teach with from Japan.
But I've never used the technique myself.
It's a mending process,
used for hundreds of years to patch clothing with.
I rationalized this was my big chance to try it out.
So I kept the kit for myself and worked on it my entire Xmas break and beyond.
I have to be honest,
at first I wasn't a fan,
but the more I stitched the better I liked it.
Hundreds of stitches go into it, 
and I was sewing thru 3 layers of cloth;
the indigo fabrics, many of them overlapped,
a piece of cotton batting and the linen tote,
so sometimes 4 where the overlaps were.
What was really great was that there were leftover Indigo fabrics,
so I used them to make a pocket on the inside (above).
which wasn't part of the original kit instructions.
I also didn't use the stitch patterns they suggested.
In addition,
I wanted the bag to have more structure so I sewed up the bottom corners,
(something else that wasn't in the instructions),
used a piece of Indigo Shibori fabric I had in my stash,
and a piece of plastic netting material,
and made a bottom to support the bag.
All hand sewn and appliqued.
A 7th grader last year had given me an Indigo dyed velvet button he made as a gift.
I saved it and used in on the front along with an antique crochet covered button from my stash.

This Wednesday I'll be attending the courthouse wedding of my son Zach to Nicole,
and it will be one of their many wedding gifts I have planned.
I'm super excited and just can't believe this day is finally here.
We will be flying to Hawaii for their actual destination family/friend ceremony 
so I'm hoping they can use it as their beach/travel bag.
The courthouse wedding is just a technicality 
because the state of California requires it if you are getting married out of state.
This is news to me.
But two celebrations are better than one!

P.S.  I gave the bag a good washing to help fray many of the cloth edges
Look closely at the third photo.

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