The art of Sashiko

Sashiko is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) from Japan. Traditionally used to reinforce points of wear, or to repair worn places or tears with patches.


This jacket is one good example of Sashiko technique that I found online. It’s apparently a fisherman’s winter jacket from late 1800 to early 1900. You can see that this indigo-dyed jacket was mended again and again. I love it because more you see it, more you can find different details and effects that were applied to it.

Have a look at the scrapbook on Onagono’s pinterest page to see more examples of Sashiko.

Since there were 2 pairs of Jimmy’s well worn jeans that have holes on the knees, it was a perfect opportunity for me to experiment the Sashiko technique on them.



I learned how to do it by watching this youtube video. It’s in Japanese but you will get the idea just by watching the demonstration without having to understand the language. (In fact, the narrator is talking about the history rather than giving the instruction.)

* Click the title on top to jump to the youtube page as it won’t play on this blog page.

First, I sew on a patch that is made of similar colour and material to cover the hole from inside.


Marked the guide-lines for hand-stitching using fabric pencil…


Then started stitching using cotton thread…


And put them in the washing machine to wash off the pencil mark.


And here it is!


Same goes to the blue jeans…


Slightly fancier Sashiko stitching pattern on them (like the one on the youtube video).


After thought: Probably I should have used less visible coloured thread but at least you can see the pattern clearly…



Our Sashiko challenge continues!






4 thoughts on “The art of Sashiko

  1. I love this!
    I am taking a Sashiko class this weekend and can’t wait to try it out.
    What kind of cotton thread do you use? Is it regular embroidery thread or something else?

    1. Hi Meg,

      Thank you for your comment! I am sorry that I couldn’t reply to you earlier but I hope that your Sashiko class went well!

      I used 100% cotton 30/3 thread. I made it double to make it stronger. I think that any threads will do as long as they are strong enough – I would test it by pulling it lightly and if it doesn’t snap too easily, it should be OK. I think that embroidery thread is certainly be sufficient. I used the cotton thread because it has matt look (as oppose to shiny!) which I like, and it went nicely with the denim jeans.

      Tomo x

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