Contemporary Kogin-zashi: Modern Sashiko Beyond Filling in the Gaps

C&T. Jan. 2023. 160p. ISBN 9781644031872. pap. $26.95. CRAFTS
Kogin-zashi, an embroidery technique, originated in early 1600s Japan. It was created from necessity. Cotton was limited to use only by members of the royal family, so those outside that rarified circle made cloth from plant fibers, such as hemp. With wear and cleaning, such fabric would break down, leaving gaps that cold air could penetrate. The work-around was to use kogin stitches of cotton threads to close the spaces, which gave more warmth for the wearer. This craft evolved with more complex patterns and is now recognized as an artform in Japan. The decorative stitches are woven between threads, and they require some practice to master. Award-winning DIYers Roudhán and Bowlsby (Boro & Sashiko) have co-written many books on crochet. This latest work has step-by-step instructions for patterns, fabric preparation, and necessary tools to create kogin stitches.
VERDICT This time-honored method to artistically enhance clothing presents a new opportunity for intermediate or even new sewers. The book is a useful addition for all library collections, especially when paired with library programming.
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