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Sashiko Embroidery

What is Sashiko?

Japanese Sashiko embroidery (pronounced SA-she-ko)  was originally created to serve the purpose of reinforcing clothing during the early Edo period of Japan's history. This kind of sashiko is also called "boro sashiko". It serves the same purpose as darning does however, instead of trying to hide the mended area, sashiko highlights it and turns it into a focal point of interest on the garment. 

Sashiko embroidery as a rebellion?

Additionally, sashiko was used as a kind-of rebellion against the feudal lords at the time who denied common people to wear clothing with special embellishments so as not to outdo the ruling power!

Over time, many beautiful and creative sashiko embroidery designs began to emerge. Today, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of sashiko patterns and motifs that you can experiment with. Click on this link to read more about the designs.


When I first started learning sashiko a while ago, I didn't realise that the sashiko floss (thread) needed to be prepared in a special way.  I simply opened the packet, and well, the video says it all really... oops!

Modern sashiko has become very popular with patchwork, quilt-making, appliqué and even machine quilting. Using a simple running stitch, you can make your stitching more complex as your competency grows. Sashiko uses repeating patterns and there are many geometric and nature-inspired patterns that are traditionally associated with sashiko but the art form has evolved greatly over time.

Creating your own sashiko embroidery design is also quite easy!

More recently, the Japanese Boro Sashiko embroidery (used for mending) has really taken off in the up-cycling circles of the crafting world. Boro is a Japanese word which has been translated on other sites as "rags". To me, the Japanese word boro carries the meanings of being scruffy, or all over the place. This being said though, modern boro crafters are creating seeming works of art out of their off-cuts of fabric stitched roughly together and I think that the world is so much the better for it! Check out some of the cool things I found for boro sashiko on my Pinterest page.

Are you interested to learn about boro sashiko? Click here for more information.

Japanese Sashiko Embroidery Workshops

Japanese Art Adventures holds workshops in Beginners Sashiko regularly throughout the year and we also partner with the CIT Solutions at Bruce Campus periodically to reach a wider audience. 

Kits are available for sale too, to get you started!

Also available in the Japanese Art Adventures shop: 

Come on over to our shopping page to select from a variety of different beginners' sashiko kit patterns! We sell Olympus brand pre-printed napkins, sashiko floss and sashiko needles in a convenient kit format.


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