Simple method to sew a modern pojagi patchwork seam

sample seam with title "how to sew a modern pojagi patchwork seam"

Modern pojagi patchwork is different from normal quilting. The finished piece is a reversible single layer of fabric with no raw edges or seam allowances exposed.

traditional pojagi wrapping cloth in pink and green with a long blue tie.

It is based on traditional pojagi – an ancient Korean fibre art. Women of the past used fabric to make wrapping cloths to protect and store household items. Sometimes they were whole cloth or embroidered, but often they were patchwork made of clothing scraps.

Today pojagi has moved beyond wrapping cloths and the techniques are used for many items – both functional and decorative.

fabric window hanging in greens that looks like stained glass.

If you are making window hangings with this technique, I recommend using batik fabric. It is easy to work with and readily available in any colour you could wish for. In sunlight, it glows like stained glass.

close up of stitching on a traditional pojagi table runner

In pojagi, contrasting thread is normally used. The stitching is part of the design and is meant to be seen, not hidden. It is quite common to use a high contrast colour. If that bothers you, feel free to use matching thread.

If you are joining pieces that have seams in them, it will be easier to use the regular pojagi patchwork seam method.

If you are just joining pieces of fabric, this simple method will save some steps.

1. Stitch

Have one of the fabrics sticking out about 3/16″. Don’t worry about measuring because it doesn’t have to be exact. Just make it a hair under 1/4”.

white and pink fabrics on top of each other offset by 1/4".

Stitch the seam about 1/4” from the edge of the inner fabric. Again, the 1/4″ seam doesn’t have to be exact, so don’t stress over it. Close enough really is good enough for this. It’s more important to try to keep the edges of the fabric and the stitching line parallel.

2. Fold & Press

pink fabric with white fabric folded over the raw edge of the seam.

Press the seam allowance down over the raw edges of the shorter piece. Be careful not to burn your fingers! If you have trouble with the iron, the other method of this seam will be better.

Need one on one help? Get it in the Modern Pojagi Patchwork online course!

3. Open & Press

pink and white fabrics joined together with raw edges folded in.

Press the seam open, being careful not to disturb the seam allowances that were already pressed.

4. Stitch

reversible pojagi seam with pink and white fabrics.

Topstitch right along the edge of the folded seam allowance. If you feel more comfortable, you can use an edge stitching foot to help, but with practice you will just be able to eyeball it.

You’re done!

On one side of the finished piece, you see two stitching lines. On the other side, you only see one stitching line, but the seam is finished on both sides. All the raw edges are tucked away inside.

If you do garment sewing, this seam might look familiar to you as it’s basically a flat fell seam. Using this in patchwork will open a world of possibilities. It is great to use in window hangings that look like stained glass.

sample seam with title "modern pojagi patchwork seam tutorial"

Modern pojagi patchwork seam tutorial

another option for stitching the modern pojagi patchwork seam

sample seam with title "Pojagi: traditional Korean patchwork"

traditional pojagi patchwork seam tutorial

hand-stitching the pojagi patchwork seam

Elizabeth DeCroos - Epida Studio.

Elizabeth DeCroos

Elizabeth DeCroos is the designer and teacher at Epida Studio. She loves to work in quilting, pojagi and embroidery and teach these techniques to others.
Learn more and get her to speak to your group.

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