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A Patched and Stitched Indigo Dyed Sakiori Vest

Written on September 9, 2009

This marvelous sakiori vest is a very good example to illustrate the life–or many lives–of a single work garment.

The vest itself was woven from torn, “recycled” garments, bedding and other household textiles; this kind of shredding and weaving is called sakiori. From its inception, this vest represents re-use and re-purposing.

Over time, as the vest was worn and used for work in  fields and forests, it required some additional strengthening, which is why we see the applied patches and the profusion of stitching all over the vest, both inside and out.

What is wonderful about this particular vest is that it is made from all indigo dyed cotton material, which some feel makes the most desirable sakiori items.

It’s hard to date this piece as this kind of work clothing was made in Japan from the late 18th century up until the early-to-mid 20th century.  My guess is that this one was woven in the early 20th century, but this is just a guess.  The warp is cotton; were it hemp, this could indicate the piece was older as rural people didn’t have wide access to cotton threads in the 19th century.  As well, if the warp is hemp, it could indicate the piece was very rural, as hemp thread was still being plied in rural areas until relatively recently.


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  1. Comment by Lorie McCown:

    holy cow that’s awesome. every single bit of it!

    September 10, 2009 @ 8:04 am