Natural Patchwork by Suzoko Koseki

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Dearest Sultana,

Here’s a book I recently got out from the library.

Natural Patchwork

Natural Patchwork by Suzoko Koseki

This was a lovely book about patchwork projects. Her work is quite organic and inspired by nature.

What I like most of it is her use of vintagey fabrics in muted colours. She says that her grandmother disassembled many of her childhood things, clothes, cloth toys, favourite stuffed animals… When I read this I was reminded of my own grandmother who was quite the crafter, she was excellent at dressmaking and always busy crocheting. Even when her fingers became crooked from age, she always had projects going on. And she was so fast! She could make me a bunch of crocheted grapes in under five minutes.

She would sometimes disassemble her own clothes and make them into daster (Indonesian house dress) for me. Even though the colours were rather muted, the fabric was always so soft and lovely to wear.

My own mother also likes to save our old clothes, although, not to disassemble. She only saves the better ones and passes them down. I have a jacket that was once mine and has been passed down to both my sisters and is now worn by May. That jacket has so much memory in it. When May wears it, I sometimes tell her of my childhood stories when I was her age in that jacket.

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I like Suzoko Koseki’s grandmother’s idea though. Instead of soft toys and millions of old clothes taking up precious storage space (I’m a bit of a hoarder), disassembling and reusing these pieces can produce beautiful meaningful new creations with childhood memories intact. I think I might just do that. I will keep a few of the girls better clothes and give the rest a new lease of life. What a clever solution to my storage problem and my hoarding instincts.

Another good tip she gave was when assembling the patchwork pieces instead of cutting the fabric neatly with scissors, snip a bit and tear the rest, this will give it a softer edge which will go nicely with more muted colours. Also, don’t throw away any scrap, everything can be used again. Even thin strips and irregular little shapes. The difficulty in these shapes is what can inspire new creations.

Some great tips in this book, and the whole book sets a sort of nostalgic mood and makes me feel that although vibrant rich new fabrics are definitely great (and drool worthy), there is value in the understated and everyday bits of fabric as well.

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