Sashiko is a traditional Japanese embroidery technique that developed out of a need for practical and decorative stitching.
Sashiko is a traditional Japanese art of embroidery using running stitches. It is a form of mending. The word “sashiko” literally means “little stabs”. This traditional technique was originally used as a way to repair old clothing or make new clothes more durable; however, sashiko has also been adopted as a calming hobby by many crafters today. You'll find it most commonly in clothing, but there are so many other things you can do with this simple stitching!
"It was historically used to mend clothes and household textiles such as futon covers."
Historically, it was used to reinforce areas of wear on work clothes, especially those worn by farmers and fishermen. In the past, sashiko embroidery was applied to kimono sleeves and hems as well as the backside of kimono jackets. It was also used to mend household textiles such as futon covers. Today it is most often seen on denim and commonly used to decorate jeans, jackets or bags and other accessories to create an unique look. The distinctive geometric sashiko designs are also often seen on small home items such as tea towels and pillowcases, but they can also be found on larger items like quilts.
"Sashiko uses the simple running stitch to reinforce fabric and create geometric patterns."
The process involves an embroidery needle and a length of thread, which is stitched in a pattern. The process of making sashiko has changed slightly over time—the first forms were just straight lines, while later versions were made using curved stitches. Running stitches can be placed close together or further apart depending on your desired effect. But they are often in a distinctive geometric design.
Today sashiko is practiced as an art form in its own right, with artists creating modern designs.
You can buy sashiko kits that include materials like needles and thread so you can try your hand at making a patterned patchwork design on the back of a shirt or jacket. You can also find some interesting sashiko kits in my shop. These kits contain pre-printed panels (usually cotton or linen), threads, needles and an instruction that explains how to stitch sashiko step-by-step.
If you're experienced with embroidery projects but have never done sashiko before, these kits provide all the necessary tools for small household projects like placemats or cushions or even larger projects like tablecloths or bags if you're feeling ambitious!
You can also find sashiko patterns online that are suitable for beginners; but all what you really need is a needle and thread and a piece of fabric! If you have never tried sashiko before practicing stitching straight lines that form decorative patterns in bold contrast with the base cloth colour, is a great idea!
"It's very simple and repetitive, so it's great for practicing a meditative mindset."
I know - sashiko can be a lot of work. But it's also very simple and repetitive, so it's great for practicing a meditative mindset. The sewing itself helps you focus on the present moment and take deep breaths, which will keep your energy levels up. And since there are many sashiko projects out there, even if you're not an expert at free-motion stitching yet or don't have enough time to commit to one large piece, they're still easy (and fun!) to make in small doses.
Sashiko is a relaxing craft that helps you keep your favourite clothes longer.
I remember my first sashiko project. I decided to try some simple pattern first, since those are easy enough for anyone with even beginner skills in needlework. It didn't take me long until I was hooked on this Japanese craft!
Now every time I see or design a new sashiko pattern, I wonder how long it will be before I get around to trying it out. But this time, the stars aligned, and everything fell into place: I had extra fabric from my failed quilt project; there was just enough space for me to stitch in my favourite workroom as I finally managed to organized things (the stock mainly); and I got some free time, which is quite rare recently.
"Sashiko is experiencing a revival in popularity among crafters who are interested in sustainable crafts that use up old clothes rather than buying new fabrics."
Using sashiko to patch holes in clothes is a great way to recycle your old clothes into something more useful. You can also use it as an accent on modern clothing, like scarves or even shoes.
Sashiko is normally done using white thread and cotton fabric, but other colours have been used over time including indigo blue (a common colour for traditional Japanese clothing).
Sometimes different colours of thread are used to make more complicated, beautiful designs. For example, in the image below, where I have used some variegated threads.
Sashiko is a relaxing craft that helps you keep your favorite clothes longer. They are often in a distinctive geometric design. Historically it was used to reinforce areas of wear on work clothes, especially those worn by farmers and fishermen. The sashiko stitches make the fabric stronger and more resistant to tearing. For this purpose, you would use white thread on plain unbleached cloth, but you could also use sashiko for decorative stitching. Sometimes different colours of thread are used to make more complicated, beautiful designs.
I do encourage you to try it and it really might become your next favourite thing to do!