sample seam with title "Pojagi: traditional Korean patchwork"

Pojagi: Traditional Korean patchwork tutorial

Pojagi is an ancient Korean fibre art. Traditionally it was used to make wrapping cloths to store and carry household items and family heirlooms. Today these techniques are used to make a variety of items.

Lined pojagi, as you can tell from the name, is made up of a pieced side and a backing side. In small pieces, the front and back will only be attached at the edges, in large pieces, they might be attached with decorative stitches throughout the piece.

In ancient Korea, pojagi was commonly done with scraps of silk and other materials from special occasion clothes.

 1. Make the templates

Pieces are cut out using templates. To make the template, cut it out of lightweight cardboard, such as a cereal or cracker box.

The pattern pieces are cut to the actual size, not with seam allowances. So it you wanted a 2” square in the finished piece, the template is also 2” square.

2. Prepare the fabric pieces

Lay the pattern on top of the fabric, being sure to leave at least 1/4″ around it. Using a Hera marker with a firm back and forth motion, trace the shape of the pattern.

using a hera to trace a template and mark a shape on fabric

You can see the crease line that the Hera leaves on the fabric.

fabric marked by a hera

Cut out the piece approximately 1/4″ around the shape. Seam allowance doesn’t have to be exact, since the sewing line is marked, but keep it consistent.

Once the piece is cut out, finger press on the sewing line creases.

patchwork piece of white linen

3. Pin pieces together

Cut out the second piece in the same way, and then line them up, wrong sides together with the seam allowances folded in.

fabric pieces pinned together

Match up the seam lines and pin together.

close up of seam pinning

Want to use this technique in a project?

Check out all the great patterns from Epida Designs!

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4. Stitch together

The pieces are then sewn together using an overcast stitch on the edge of the fabric. Traditionally a contrasting thread colour is used as part of the design.

stitching a pojagi seam to join white and blue linen

The needle goes through the fabric perpendicularly, so the stitches will look diagonal. Keep them a uniform distance apart.

It might take some practice to get the right tension. When the stitching is done, the two pieces should open and lay flat, side by side. If the tension is too tight, they will pucker or one will be on top of the other.  If it is too loose, there will be holes. They need a gently tug, but never a strong pull.

pojagi patchwork stitching with white thread

Do not stitch in the seam allowances. Only stitch in the part of the fabric that will be visible in the finished piece.

You’re done!

It is easy to design with this method, because you just trace the exact pattern onto cardboard and cut out the pieces. You don’t have to worry about seam allowances.

The piece will be finished with a lining, or reverse side. There are a couple different methods for this, and they will be covered in other tutorials.

sample seam with title "traditional pojagi patchwrok seam"

Pojagi Seam for reversible patchwork

hand-stitch a seam for unlined patchwork

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

Pojagi Seam by machine

reversible patchwork by machine

Elizabeth DeCroos

Elizabeth DeCroos

designer, teacher, speaker

Elizabeth enjoys doing all types of sewing and needlework and teaching others new techniques. For more information or to have her speak to your group click HERE.

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