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Art of Sashiko

Our Sashiko Mending Kits give you the tools you need to start your journey into mending and repair. One of the results in stitching these patterns, is that it not only makes the jeans look great, but it also gives the fabric more strength. Barb took an old pair of jeans and stitched them up using the Asa-No-Ha,(Hemp Leaf), design. This is a traditional pattern that is widely used for decorative stitching. It is also a meditative process and easy to master! This is a great time to start your project while our kits are on sale thru Labor Day.

These intricate patterns are all a simple running stitch that are sewn in a grid to create these designs.

1) Start by marking vertical lines on your jeans with tailor's chalk in your kit, or a fabric marker that washes out. These are spaced 2” apart. First mark the center front line by taking the mid way point at your leg opening, knee, thigh and waist,(between outseam and inseam). You can also press your jeans along the center front leg to mark it easily. Be careful not to catch your pocket bag in the stitching line except for the top portion if you extend the design up to your pocket opening.

2) Make parallel 45 degree Diagonal Lines 2” apart that intersect with the vertical lines.

3) Stitch a Zig Zag line along the diagonal and vertical lines. The Zig Zag lines are lining up with the intersecting vertical and diagonal lines.

4) Here is the progression of the jeans with one completed leg.  Make sure not to pull too tight on the stitches. These jeans have a little stretch and you want to make sure there is some give after you wash them. 

Here are some important tips from our favorite Sashiko Expert at Upcycle Stitches. This is definitely something you will want to watch to understand the technique for stitching.- 

For denim you will want to use the 20/6, (that is 6 strands of size 20 thread twisted together to make the thread). This Heavy Sashiko Thread is in your kit. For more of the Daruma/Yokota Heavy Sashiko thread we have 100 meter skeins that you can buy in Navy or White.  (Just a note that the Thin Sashiko Thread is 20/4.  It is good for lighter weight fabrics. The Kogin Thread is 20/8).  Sashiko thread has a soft twist which makes the stitches stand out more after washing.

We also recommend the Simple Sashiko Book by Nihon Vogue.  It has clear instructions and templates for the 36 classic Japanese embroidery patterns. Below is the Hemp Leaf pattern with white thread on indigo so you can clearly see details of the pattern design.

Enjoy your venture into the world of Sashiko!