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The Symmetry of Sashiko Stitching

how to sashiko tutorial

Sashiko Embroidery: Ancient Mending

What is Sashiko?

Sashiko stitching is an ancient Japanese embroidery technique for joining fabric together with visible mending. It is also used in quilting and as decorative embellishment on clothing. 

Sashiko is created using a running stitch to create a repeating symmetrical or geometric pattern. The lines do not intersect when they cross paths. There are lots of traditional patterns, but you can also make up your own repeating pattern using a ruler and anything with a round base. 

I used 4 free patterns that I found on the internet, printed, and transferred to fabric. 

How do you pronounce it?


What materials do I need to sashiko?

sashiko materials

Though the materials are few, they are fairly specific. I had a stash of perl embroidery thread, and wanted to experiment with a few different kinds. You can use sashiko thread, perl embroidery thread, or you can use regular 6 stranded embroidery thread. 

A sashiko needle is longer with a sharp point, and an eye that is the same size as the needle. 

sashiko needle

Getting Started

Using a running stitch, create a dotted line following your pattern. If you are worried about keeping your stitches exactly the same length, here's a fun sashiko cheat for you. Mark a length on your left thumb (if you're a righty) to measure perfect stitches. The visible stitches should be slightly larger than the stitch that goes behind the fabric. You may have to adjust as you get closer to the end of each row. 

symmetrical sashiko stitches

Here's the other big thing, you'll weave your needle up and down without pulling the needle through, until its filled with stitches. Simple enough, right?

sashiko technique

Simple, but not easy.

To achieve those exact perfect stitches will take some practice. And if you are using it to mend, well, it's much more difficult to maintain perfect stitches on an actual garment. Keep practicing, this is a craft that you can do while huddled on your couch under a blanket while watching tv. 

You might also like this post about chain stitches:

Or this one on mending a cardigan:


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  • Erin Eggenburg on

    Good luck, Sarah. It’s a simple technique, but takes some time to get the hang of. Start with an easy pattern, getting familiar with the feel of it, and then ease into more involved patterns.

  • Sarah on

    Thanks for these hints and tips, I’m plucking up the courage to try sashiko mending and this is helping! Sarah

  • Erin on

    Thanks you rawdenimwelldone, I love reading your posts on IG.

  • rawdenimwelldone on

    I love it, thank you

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