Random Sashiko + Crazy Quilt Pocket

Posted on January 5, 2024
Tags: madeof:atoms

A 18th century pocket in black jeans with a random pattern of
pink running stitches forming squares and other shapes. The
unfinished edges of the pieces of jeans can be seen, running more
or less diagonally.

Lately I’ve seen people on the internet talking about victorian crazy quilting. Years ago I had watched a Numberphile video about Hitomezashi Stitch Patterns based on numbers, words or randomness. Few weeks ago I had cut some fabric piece out of an old pair of jeans and I had a lot of scraps that were too small to do anything useful on their own. It easy to see where this can go, right?

The wrong side of a pocket piece, showing a light coloured fabric
with a grid drawn in pencil, a line of small stitches all around
the edges and a mess of thread ends left hanging.

I cut a pocket shape out of old garment mockups (this required some piecing), drew a square grid, arranged scraps of jeans to cover the other side, kept everything together with a lot of pins, carefully avoided basting anything, and started covering everything in sashiko / hitomezashi stitches, starting each line with a stitch on the front or the back of the work based on the result of:

import random
random.choice(["front", "back"])

The wrong side of the other pocket piece, with just three lines
of stitching and a piece of paper to mark the pattern. There are
bits of jeans peeking out of the sides.

For the second piece I tried to use a piece of paper with the square grid instead of drawing it on the fabric: it worked, mostly, I would not do it again as removing the paper was more of a hassle than drawing the lines in the first place. I suspected it, but had to try it anyway.

The front of the pocket seen from the wrong side, with a
machine seam around the lit, whose end has been cut in a triangle
so that it can be turned.

Then I added a lining from some plain black cotton from the stash; for the slit I put the lining on the front right sides together, sewn at 2 mm from the marked slit, cut it, turned the lining to the back side, pressed and then topstitched as close as possible to the slit from the front.

The finished pocket attached to a belt made from the waistband
of a pair of jeans (with button, buttonhole and belt loops still
attached) whose raw edges (left when unpicking away the jeans)
have been sewn shut by hand.

I bound everything with bias tape, adding herringbone tape loops at the top to hang it from a belt (such as one made from the waistband of one of the donor pair of jeans) and that was it.

The back of the pocket, showing another random pattern in two
different shades of pink for the vertical and horizontal lines of

I like the way the result feels; maybe it’s a bit too stiff for a pocket, but I can see it work very well for a bigger bag, and maybe even a jacket or some other outer garment.