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Indigo Patchwork Japanese Boro Fabric | Early Showa Era

Indigo Patchwork Japanese Boro Fabric | Early Showa Era

Regular price ¥32,000 JPY
Regular price Sale price ¥32,000 JPY
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  • Made from handspun natural cotton, repaired by hand
  • Dyed with natural plants
  • Historical Japanese boro culture, passed down from generation to generation

Stunning Japanese futonji fabric from the Early Showa Era (1940's) made from natural indigo dyed cotton fabric. Extensively repaired with various katazome fabrics, leaving no space empty and cleverly resembling an abstract painting. All patchwork is repaired with the recognisable sashiko hand stitch, with all patches also dyed with indigo and made from cotton.

Katazome is a Japanese dyeing method using a paste resist technique. The design is cut into a unique stencil called shibugami, which is a handmade washi paper dyed with persimmon astringent (kakishibu). Next up is adding the stencil to a long white piece of cotton cloth, and pushing the rice flour paste through the stencil onto the fabric through the cutouts. Where the paste entered the stencil onto the fabric, the dye or color will not enter the fabric, working as a resist technique and leaving the white of the fabric. The stencil is often a repeating design, which means that the same stencil is used numerous times and the placement is of high importance for a continuation of the design. 

Having applied the rice paste, the fabric is stretched out and ready to be dyed with natural dyes like aizome (indigo) or benibana (safflower). The amount of times the fabric will be dyed depends on the desired colors of the creator, where deeper colours require multiple dyes. The creator also occasionally adds more accents to the design by hand like extra dots or shades. After being satisfied with the colors, the fabric is soaked overnight in water, where the applied rice paste slowly weakens and the design is finally revealed.

This particular fabric was used as a futonji, a cover on top of the traditional Japanese bedding containing rows of handspun cotton. Due to its many repairs it has been used frequently and passed over from generation to generation.

This fabric can serve as a beautiful decoration or remake material.

Size: Length = 125cm (49"), Width: 66cm (26")

Boro tradition

The tradition of boro (rags) was created out of desperate necessity since cotton could not be cultivated in the freezing north (Tohoku region). This made every piece of cotton very precious. Out of sheer necessity, clothes and fabrics were constantly repaired and passed on from generation to generation.

Looking further than the embodiment of poverty, we can recognize a high degree of handiwork, skill and beauty produced by many nameless people of northern Japan.

Care instruction

All of our fabrics are cleaned by hand and do not contain any bad or old odours. Some colours have naturally faded due to age and exposure to the sun. Our fabrics do not contain mould or dust.

Due to the age of this fabric, we do not recommend washing it in a washing machine as the stitches could come loose. If it is necessary to wash the fabric, we recommend a warm or cold hand-wash with very little detergent.

Shipping and Returns

Kesapasa Shop offers two worldwide shipping options, standard and express shipping.

Worldwide standard shipping starts at 2000 Japanese Yen (€12,95 or $14) for all orders under 1kg. Standard shipping takes around 7 working days to arrive. Including order process time of 2 or 3 days, you will receive your order in 10 working days!

Worldwide express shipping starts at 4000 Japanese Yen (€26 or $28) or all orders under 1kg. Express shipping takes around 2 or 3 working days to arrive. Including order process time of 2 or 3 days, you will receive your order in 5 or 6 working days!

Japan domestic shipping has a fixed price of 1000 Japanese Yen (€6,5 or $7) for all orders located within Japan. Japan Domestic Shipping takes just one working day to arrive after the day we shipped your order. Including order process time of 2 or 3 days, you will receive your order in 3 or 4 working days!


We have a 7-day return policy, which means you have 7 days after receiving your item to request a return.

To be eligible for a return, your item must be in the same condition that you received it, unworn or unused, with tags, and in its original packaging. You’ll also need the receipt or proof of purchase. Please note that in case you are not satisfied with the product or expectations were not met, all customers are responsible for shipping costs as well as duties on all returned items.

To start a return, please contact us

If your return is accepted, we’ll send you instructions on how and where to send your package. Items sent back to us without first requesting a return will not be accepted.

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Artisan's Profile

Kesapasa represents full transparency, aiming to show the craftspeople and process behind our products. This fabric was repaired in Japan by Jelle, please click below to learn more about his journey.