Bojagi-Inspired Flat Felled Seam

Posted by Daisy Aschehoug on

When it comes to hand-pieced patchwork, I love the double-sided results I get from this bojagi-inspired flat-felled seam. You can see more of my bojagi work in this post from a few months ago.

This kind of patchwork is perfect for household linens like napkins, tablecloths, and curtains. I also love the idea of a wrapping cloth, which is a nice nod to the traditional Korean patchwork that inspired this style of stitching.

To start, I prewashed some linen. Because this seam is double sided, I recommend using solid linen or cotton fabrics. There are also some beautiful weaves or ikats that would bring in the element of pattern nicely because the pattern would be on both sides.

I've got chenille needles sized 24, but I've sewn these stitches with a variety of needles. I found my favorite needles in some old mystery packs - they're probably just plain sharps. Essentially, if your thread goes through the eye, it'll do just fine. I also like shorter needles better than longer ones.

Aurifil thread, john james needles, chenille needle, essex linen

For thread, I usually measure out twice the length of the seam that I'm about to sew. Any thread will do, but my favorite is Aurifil 12 weight. It's just thick enough to be visible, but no so think that there's a lot of resistance as you pull the needle through the fabric.

ironing, essex linen, aurifil thread, bojagi, flat-felled seam

Iron a fold in both of your fabrics. One fabric should have a fold that is 1/4". The other fabric should have a fold that is between 1/2" and 5/8". (Later steps are a bit easier if you have aa 5/8" fold).

Using pins or Clover Clips, align the folds together so that the short sides are facing away from each other.

Aligning linen fabrics and securing them with clover clips for hand sewing a flat-felled seam.

Place the short, 1/4", fold facing you, and the long, 5/8" fold  away from you.

Push the needle up through the long fold. 

The knot will be hidden in a later step.

Showing the width of whipstitches

Continue with a whipstich all along the fold. As you pull the thread for each stitch, pull just hard enough to get the thread to rest against the fabric (without making a loop in the air.) Don't pull the thread so tightly that the fabric is cinched in the stitch. 

At the end of the row, place a second stitch over the previous stitch, leave a loop, and bring the needle through the loop to make a small knot. Repeat the knot.

The knot at the end of the first round of stitches

Clip your thread. I clipped this a bit too short - I recommend that you leave a small tail which will help keep your knot secure over time. If you clip the tail too short, it can work its way back through the knot and unravel.

Clipped thread at the knot at the end of the first round of stitches

This knot will be hidden in the seam allowance of the next seam.

Don't adjust the short fold. Unfold the long fold just like you're opening the cover of a spiral bound notebook.

Opening up the long side after whipstitching the first round of stitches.

Bending the long side to get it to open correctly for the next row of stitches

Fold it back onto itself and finger press the fabric inside the stitches.

Folding over the long side to prepare for the second round of stitches

Fold the long fold over the edge of the short fold. It's helpful if you can use an iron for this step, but it isn't necessary. I'm often stitching when I travel, and I finger press and use clips to get this fold without an iron.

Next, fold the new fold (long blue fold around the short brown fold) onto the short fold fabric (brown).

Pinching up the back fabric to prep the fold for the second round of stitchesPinch the fabric to make a fold in the brown fabric.

Making the fold for the second round of stitchesPlace clips or pins to secure this brown fold to the blue fold that you either ironed or finger pressed.

The second fold is ready

Start the stitch underneath the raw edge. The knot will be contained in the finished seam.

Continue with the whipstitch along the two folds just as you did in the earlier step.

At the end make another knot. The knot will be visible until it's contained in the next seam allowance. Open the brown fabric, again like a spiral bound notebook.

Bojagi-inspired flat-felled hand-sewn seam

The double-sided seam is complete, and all the raw edges are contained.

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