I love new ways to repurpose and reuse old jeans – so I was delighted when one of my favourite bloggers asked if she could share this fab DIY Denim Boro Coaster Tutorial with my readers.
Vicky Myers is a super creative blogger with a passion for upcycling and she has particular expertise in bag making! Enjoy!
Hi, I’m Vicky – super excited to be here with you sharing my love of working with old jeans to create fabulous new items.
As a blogger love to inspire people to be creative, using what they have to hand. After all we only have one earth!
In this tutorial I am going to show you how to transform a pair of old jeans into coasters, combining slow stitching with fabric scraps. Each coaster is unique, making beautiful gifts.
What is Japanese Boro?
The Japanese word boro refers to the practice of reworking and repairing textiles like clothes and bedding.
Japanese Boro is the result of using the sashiko stitching technique for patching repairs to clothes and other items. It involves, piecing, patching and stitching scraps of fabric into place – authentic boro would be used to patch over tears, holes or frayed areas on a fabric or piece of clothing.
Boro is essentially the practice of using a simple running stitch (a sashiko stitch) to reinforce a textile item using spare or would-be-discarded scraps of fabric. It is a practice that grew out of necessity in medieval Japan, and has evolved, four centuries later, into a distinctively gorgeous textile artform.Indigo Niche
So our coasters are going to be ‘Boro Inspired’! The raw edges of the fabric are just that, they are not folded under so over time may fray. This is all part of the charm.
If you don’t have an old pair of jeans to hand I suggest asking friends and family if they have any old pairs lurking in cupboards, alternatively, you could ask in your local charity shop if they have any in their rag bin.
Your finished coasters will measure 4 ¼” (all measurements are in inches as I used a quilter’s ruler)
Denim Coasters DIY – Materials Needed
- An old pairs of jeans
- Cotton for the back of the coasters – I have used an old sheet (otherwise a fat quarter will suffice)
- Fabric scraps – it can be nice to pick a few different fabrics with varying textures- I used 3 scraps per coaster
- Embroidery floss
- Rotary cutter, mat and quilters ruler
- Denim needle, Sewing machine, and regular quality sewing thread
- Iron on interfacing 1m (I have used Pellon Shape Flex SF101 – UK equivalent Vilene G700)
Step 1: Prepare Coaster Fabric Pieces
Iron interfacing to the wrong side of your denim and your cotton fabric for the back of the coasters. The interfacing will help prevent the denim stretching.
Cut a set of four denim pieces 5 ½” in size. I find a quilters ruler particularly helpful for ensuring I cut right angles.
For the back of the coasters cut 5” squares.
The denim is cut just a little bigger to give a bit of wriggle room with your hand stitching. We will trim it back later.
Step 2: Create your boro inspired designs
Place small fabric scraps onto your denim pieces.
I have used three scraps of fabric per coaster, creating different designs.
I went for shades of blue to mimic the Japanese indigo look that is often associated with boro and sashiko. You can choose any colours you like of course!
Hold the scraps of fabric in place with pins while you work.
Choose embroidery floss which compliments your tonal range.
Split into three threads, then thread a needle and tie a knot at one end.
Use this thread to stitch a running stitch along your fabric scraps.
If you are not familiar with running stitch it is very simple, you are passing the needle from one side of the fabric to the other creating stitches of similar length. These are small stitches between 2-3mm (they really don’t need to be precise!).
As you can see I start with securing one piece of fabric before changing thread colour and stitching the next fabric scrap.
For variety, you can stitch little clusters of stitches into the fabric or sew your stitches in a circle or spiral design.
See the video tutorial at the bottom of this post if you need more of a visual for the different stitch variations.
Step 3: Assemble Coasters
Place the lining fabric so the right side faces the right side of the hand stitched denim.
We are going to machine stitch the two sides together leaving a turning gap.
Using a 5/8“ seam allowance, starting ¾” from a corner stitch to the corner, lift your sewing machine foot and pivot, stitch along the next three sides, then 3/4” down your fourth side. Thus creating your turning gap.
Trim the edges and corners taking care not to snip the stitches.
Turn right side out, turning in your seam allowance and press.
Finish the coaster by hand stitching an 1/8” in from the edge of the coaster all around with a running stitch.
This adds the finishing touch to your beautiful denim coasters and at the same time closes the turning gap.
I hope you have liked experimenting with this style of embroidery and that this tutorial has inspired you to create your own designs. Why not make a bigger version as a piece of wall art or as a panel for a bag?
Try these Easy Quilt-as-You-Go Coasters from our sister site Scrap Fabric Love.
Printable Instructions and Vicky’s Video Tutorial
- Old Jeans
- Fabric Scraps
- Embroidery Floss
- Iron on Interfacing
- Cotton (for backing)
- Rotary Cutter
- Sewing Machine
- Quilter's Ruler
- Cutting Mat
- Iron interfacing to the wrong side of your denim and your cotton fabric for the back of the coasters.
- Once the fabric has been prepared with the interfacing cut 4 5 1/2" squares from the denim and 4 5" squares from the cotton.
- Place small fabric scraps on top of the denim pieces in a layered fashion and hold in place with pins.
- Use embroidery floss to stitch the scraps down using a. running stitch. You can vary your stitch to be straight, clustered or in a circular shape as desired.
- Once your stitching is complete place the coaster backing right sides to right sides with the coaster front and stitch around the edge leaving a turning gap.
- Clip corners and excess fabric
- Turn coaster right side out and turn raw edges in.
- Stitch down around the edge of your coaster by hand with a running stitch to finish and close the turning gap.
More denim upcycling ideas: