We’re in the season of patched up scarecrows and stitched together monsters, and, less spooky, patched throw pillows.
I added a new ticking stripe throw pillow to our couch a few weeks ago, which has been lovely for lounging with, but which also threw into relief the threadbare corners of the pillows it joined. Our older cases all date from when Faye was a baby—two in plain canvas and one in striped linen. Through seven years of use as fort walls and nursing props and pillow fight battering rams, they’ve held up remarkably well, but like so many things in my home over the past year, they’ve started to show the signs of wear.
So when a box full of fabric remnants for a different project arrived from Fog Linen recently, I got immediately to work adding patches to my pillows. I first tried my hand at machine sewing the patches, but my machine balked at having to go through so many of layers of fabric at once and I didn’t feel like deconstructing and reconstructing the pillows in their entirety.
Instead, I picked up the sashiko needle and thread Katrina Rodabaugh sent my way with her delightful book last spring and got to work by hand, patching my threadbare corners over the course of an evening. I’ve rarely been so pleased with a small improvement.
I appreciate a throw pillow’s usefulness and I’m not so much of an ascetic as to deny myself some basic comfort, but I’m not usually drawn to throw pillows as decorative items. I don’t collect them or swap them in or out seasonally. I’m not someone to follow (or offer) the common directive of regularly zhushing up a couch with new pillows and so while I do love our new pillow, the patched up counterparts offer something that all new replacement pillows never could have. All patched up, there’s something about the reinforced corners that feels comforting and, dare I say, human. Maybe I’ve finally lost it, but it’s reassuring to see something turn more lovely thanks to its age and a little effort. Overnight my plain throw pillows have become more interesting and more my own, each patch a little signifier of thrift and resourcefulness and simple, honest work.
For the curious:
My new patchwork asymmetrical ticking stripe pillow case in ticking stripe was a gift to me from Toast.
For anyone in need, Fog Linen sells fabric remnants in large and small bundles that are helpful for lots of things and patches in particular. For anyone needing inspiration in the form of Japanese textiles and tradition, Fog Linen’s own Yumiko Sekine’s book Simplicity at Home is gorgeous.
For anyone needing more details on the mending, Make Thrift Mend is clothing-specific but endlessly inspirational and applicable all over the home.
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