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PostHeaderIcon Sashiko; Traditional Japanese Non-Patchwork Quilting

Patchwork Quilting allover sashiko patternSashiko (刺し子, literally “little stabs”) is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching from Japan.  Originally used to reinforce multiple layers of traditionally indigo blue fabric used for various functions.

Dating to ancient times warriors wore garments reinforced with sashiko beneath their armor in war to not only protect them from harm from combatants but from chafing.

“Firemen” in Japan in ancient times had uniforms made of sashiko.  The many layers of cloth, held together by the decorative stitches, would help in a most astounding way… the men that fought the fire would be literally doused with water so that their sashiko covered uniform was soaking wet, and then these men would run into the building and just knock down the walls and the fire with it.  Put the fire out?  No way!  The buildings were just made of paper, and they just wanted to get the fire down and out as soon as they could so that it did not spread to nearby structures.  The sashiko uniform helped save the “fireman” from burns.

The white cotton thread on the traditional indigo blue cloth gives sashiko its distinctive appearance, though decorative items sometimes use red thread.

There are many beautiful designs made for stitching sashiko patterns into the cloth.  They are traditionally patterns that are in repetitions and can be stitched continuously, so make for very good machine sewn sashiko quilting too.

One of my own copyrighted patterns featured sashiko and I will be offering that pattern free to my readers in upcoming weeks so be sure to watch for that giveaway!

This video shows some wonderful examples, and the recommended reading will give you even MORE!  

Recommended Reading:

  • Extreme Sashiko – Today I am showing two items that are covered with sashiko stitching: one is a pair of rustic, cotton tabi and the other is a drawstring bag, often referred to as a zenibukuro, with a fancy, purple silk braided cord. …
  • Fun and Easy Sashiko Quilting « Learn How to Quilt – Professional Quilter Pepper Cory calls it Big Stitch Quilting, but the idea came from a style of centuries-old Japanese embroidery; a running-stitch technique called sashiko (translation – “little stabs”), used by peasants to patch …
  • A Magnificent, Sashiko Stiched Donza or Sakkuri | Sri Threads – In the Kyoto Shoin Series of books, in the volume Kogin and Sashiko Stitch, similar examples to this coat are shown and they indicate these types of sashiko stitched kimono were worn by fisherman. Likely both farmers and fishermen wore …
  • Book reviews: Japanese sashiko craft books « The Ardent Thread’s … – Sashiko is a fairly simple art form, yet there are many traditional patterns that range from super easy to mind bogglingly difficult. It all breaks down to basic geometry but if math makes your brain hurt, take comfort in the thought …
  • adventures in sashiko – Last week I took a sashiko workshop from Nancy Ota. I’ve always wanted to learn to do sashiko properly, and I’m so glad I did. Nancy is a wonderful teacher and a fabulous quilt artist as well. Here are my results from the last couple of …
  • Sashiko Workshop at the International Textiles Festival, 8th May … – Places on our popular Sashiko Workshop, taking place at Stroud’s upcoming International Textiles Festival, have just sold out! Two places remain, however, for the talks and papers on related themes taking place the day before, …
  • Indigo Dyed Rustic Cloth: Hemp Sashiko Stitching | Sri Threads – Below is a heavily sashiko stitched pad: it seems the chevron shapes or the “arrow feather” pattern was stitched by counting threads. At first I thought this was a zokin or dustcloth, then I realized it was probably created to be used …

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