Don’t you just love Sashiko?!
The simplicity of the stitches to create what look like really complex designs have me fascinated and the indigo blue fabric is just amazing against the white thread.
A recent Birthday saw this lovely book come my way…
This meant I had no excuse but to give Sashiko a go!
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The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook
The book itself is beautiful with a fascinating insight into the history of this technique and the people who used it. It is lovely as a resource on its own for those interested in Hand Embroidery regardless of whether you actually stitch something from it or not.
However, with the photos and projects being so gorgoeus they do make you want to delve right in.
Supplies for Sashiko Embroidery
If you have not done Sashiko before, I am sure you could try the patterns on any fabric with a thread of your choice just so you can get an idea of what the patterns are like to stitch.
However… If you are serious and want to replicate the proper technique then you will need to gather a few special supplies. (I don’t know about you but, I don’t need much persuading when it comes to buying more embroidery goodies!)
Basics for Sashiko…
- Blue 100% Cotton Fabric – Although a lot of the designs are more Navy, I decided to try a Royal Blue for a bit more vibrance.
- Sashiko Embroidery Thread – Sashiko thread is a special thread from Japan and I thought it had a similar weight to #8 perle cotton. The 100% cotton is lovely and soft in texture and nothing like any of the other threads I use often.
- Sashiko Needles – having no idea which would be best, I opted for the Clover Sashiko Needles as well as the Tulip Hiroshima Sashiko Needles.
Once the needles arrived I was able to determine what makes them any different to other needles.
Sashiko needles are really long in order for a few stitches to be taken through the fabric at once. The eyes are larger to accommodate the type of Sashiko thread you choose.
I am really glad I purchased 2 different types because I found the Clover needles to be too thick and clumsy. The Hiroshima were what I used to stitch my chosen design.
These are fascinating and each have a name and are symbolic. You will be amazed at the variety of patterns achieved through one technique.
Running Stitch forms the design which are geometric repeats.
The choices in the book were endless (!) and a little overwhelming.
Choosing a Pattern…
Given the fact I was going to have to draw the design I decided to start with a fairly simple pattern from the book.
My choice was a traditional hemp leaf pattern…
When it comes to the technique – Stay on track or go off road! You decide!
My intention when I started to try stitching the Sashiko pattern was to embrace the technique in the traditional way and follow the directions as given.
Since the book is dedicated to the proper techniques used from transferring the pattern to the actual stitching it seemed the most appropriate way to go.
It became apparent from the start this was not going to be the case. I was interested in doing this purely for enjoyment and not to be a slave to the technique, so when the technique was beyond my frustration level and I couldn’t help but think there must be an easier way to do this, I went a bit off track!
Sashiko Embroidery the Stitchdoodles way…
Drawing the Pattern on to the Fabric…
I decided that drawing a grid pattern directly on to the dark fabric was way beyond my patience level! I therefore decided to draw it on to some Sticky Fabri Solvy instead!
The book does break down the pattern really well so you can see how to draw it simply so this was now a nice easy task that didn’t take too long since I was drawing it on paper not fabric!
You are supposed to take several stitches through at once to give a nice straight stitch line (hence the long needle). For some reason I really couldn’t get the hang of this and found it really uncomfortable. This meant I did a stitch at a time (!) – which for me was not an issue and still gave me relatively straight lines in the design (a bit wonky is ok with me as well!)
Holding the Fabric…
Traditionally a hoop is not used which must be really nice and relaxing if you can stitch this way. Yet again, for some reason this just hindered me to distraction so I hooped up and happily carried on stitching.
We can’t all be perfect!
As you can see from the close up above, my stitches were not perfect and my centre star points were not as neat as they could be but all in all I was really happy with the result…
Sashiko has so many gorgeous designs to ponder over and I am definately going to have a go at a few more designs in the book as it was really enjoyable. If you are a stickler for doing things the right way then Sashiko is quite complex in my opinion due to the grid patterns and drawing them directly on to the fabric.
If you are happy to go rogue and put your own spin on it to make things easier for yourself then its a lot easier. You can also buy transfers and stencils for marking the fabric if you want to bypass that step as well!
If there’s a will there’s a way!
If you have any experiences to share with Sashiko Embroidery leave a comment as I am sure people would love to hear!
Want to remember this? Post this Sashiko Guide to your favourite Pinterest board!