Bojagi! Hand-stitched tradition

I went to a Korean patchwork workshop/exhibition recently!

This traditional Korean style of patchwork is called “bojagi”.

The style has been compared to the work of Piet Mondrian and it’s easy to see why!

Here’s the sample I made at the workshop (which I had to finish at home afterwards since I didn’t get it done).

You can see where I started learning, at the bottom of the pink piece where the stitches are all big and messy!!

Mine started out a bit Frankensteiny and after some tutelage I improved my technique… I was pretty proud of how small my stitching was, until I reexamined some of the exhibited pieces and realised just how tiny the stitches were on these amazing pieces!

The stitch used to secure the pieces is a tiny whipstitch. I tried two of my seams as flat fell seams (this was the way most of the sheer pieces were done in the exhibition). Of course, it doubles your work, but it looks super nice!

See how the material we used is sheer? It’s silk organza so it’s quite stiff which makes it easy to work with.

There’s nothing quite as humbling as being in the presence of an artisan’s work! (Especially after you try the technique!)

I mean…just look at how tiny these lil squares are…adorable!!

Look at the teeny squares!! Work by Moonhee Han

It’s quite addictive doing those tiny little stitches. Especially with the sheer fabric, the way the different colours work together is amazing!

tiny intricately stitched seams!

There were some other types of patchwork too. I’m told in the western quilting world this (see picture below) is known as cathedral windows, although of course it’s known as something else in Korea. All i know is it looks like wizardry to me.

Moonhee was a featured artist, and was a great tutor too!

Also, some of her work featured laser cutting!! So gorgeous. Many layers were stacked on top of each other and secured with tiny stitches. I love it!!

i’ve used laser cutting before, and I hope to use it in future too. This is great inspiration of course!


Hmm, now what am I going to do with my teeny little sample? And of course.. my mind is wandering to how I could incorporate bojagi techniques into a garment (feature collar?? Fun pockets?? Hemline detail?? Although that would take forever).

You can see more at the  Wellington bojagi instagram account, and follow them to find out what events come up next! Would you try bojagi?

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