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Embroidery for people who crave order

how to mending sashiko

Sashiko visible mending embroidery

Sashiko Embroidery: The perfect mending option for the tidy at heart. 

If you love front facing labels, organized sock drawers, and you make your bed every morning, Sashiko embroidery is the perfect craft for you. 

Sashiko is an ancient Japanese mending technique, used to patch clothing. It is traditionally seen as white stitched geometric patterns on indigo fabric. An embroidered pattern is created using only running stitches. 

And though Sashiko is a simple technique, there's infinite room for improvement. But, it also doesn't have to be perfect to look beautiful. I haven't been using Sashiko for long, and I am also not a perfectionist, so excuse my far from perfect stitching. 

Let's do it!

Sashiko: What you'll need

The good news is, no embroidery hoop needed. However, you will want to have a pretty specific needle. You can buy a Sashiko needle, or use a long, not too fat, not too thin, very sharp needle with a small eye, like this:

Sashiko needle

This needle is about 2 1/2" long. 

I used perl cotton, which is type of embroidery thread, but you can also use regular 6-stranded embroidery thread, using all 6 strands. OR you can go big, and use actual Sashiko thread. 

Sashiko 2 Ways

You can choose to sashiko on the fabric directly, or you can sashiko a patch over the top of your garment. 

Sashiko embroidery how to

I chose a patterned patch, and a solid patch. A patterned patch is good option to start with, since you can use the pattern to guide your stitches. You will want to try and keep your stitches uniform, but also don't make yourself crazy over it. 

how to patch clothing using sashiko

Because the 2nd patch was solid, I traced my guidelines directly on the fabric with a water soluble pen. You can also use a regular old pencil to trace lightly. 

sashiko patches on denim

Sans Patches

You can also embroider directly over a tear. You'll just want to make sure your stitches surround the tear with a little leeway. I considered a simple pattern, but decided to go rogue at the last minute, and sketch a pattern using a water soluble pencil directly on the denim. 

sashiko embroidery prep


When stitching Sashiko, you do not want your stitches to meet in the corners. Though, in contemporary designs, the rules have changed a bit. This is a fun technique to really experiment with. Experiment by sketching different repeating patterns. 

sashiko mending

Like I said, I'm no pro, and as I practice, I'll share a few more sashiko projects with you. I'd love to see your sashiko stitchings too. Tag me on instagram @wrenbirdarts. 

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