Sashiko Embroidery

Sashiko embroidery is something that I’m really interested in – so I thought I’d share the idea with you and maybe give you some inspiration for this week’s challenge for Mend It Month! (If you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, read the post linked there)

Sashiko embroidery, also known as sashiko mending – which is how I first heard of it, originated in Japan – with the word sashiko literally translating into ‘little stabs’. It’s used a lot to mend or reinforce weaker areas of garments in a really hecking gorgeous way, using the simple running stitch to create a pattern to patch an area up.

Of course, this kind of embroidery doesn’t have to exclusively be used for mending things, but back in the day (and by that I mean in ancient Japan) and still in modern times, that’s its express purpose – to fix something while simultaneously making it more unique.

Traditionally its done using white thread on an indigo fabric like denim (check out what I mean below) which really stands out – it is, after all, visible mending, but you can use it in any way that you fancy; currently I’m using a mustard thread on blue denim.

There are absolutely hundreds of really intricate and jaw-droppingly beautiful designs, but the simplest way to do it is using the sashiko variation of a running stitch, like this:

sashiko stitch how ot


Because it’s designed to hold a garment together and last, sashiko is done using thicker embroidery thread – the full six strands – or specialist sashiko thread.

On the jeans that I’m currently working on, I’m just doing those little running stitches, but in the future really want to have a go at this design, called ‘Saigaiha waves’. There are loads of variations of this pattern alone, but the semicircle shape is meant to represent fish scales, clam shells or rippling water. I can’t help but see lots of tiny rainbows when I look at it. This photo (which is from a great article that features loads of sashiko embroidery patterns) shows saigaiha waves as well as loads of other rad designs – if you fancy giving any of them a go, click that link!

sashiko cover

Sorry that this post has taken me so much longer to get up than I thought it would, this last week has been super duper busy and has resulted in me being stuck in bed with a bit of a pain flare! Don’t worry though, I’ll make sure to get my next post out to you later this week, along with a sneaky little video tour of my new sewing room!