Sashiko with Gudetama

Denim shorts with Gudetama sashiko patch

Sashiko was developed as a resourceful way of extending the life of garments in rural Japan.  There are traditional ways of doing it - but the concept is this... Hand quilting patches or scraps of fabric over holes, stains, abrasions (and today maybe even to cover an occational corporate logo) 

Imperfections are welcome and patches can be hand made, decorated or just scraps of fabric.  Your new patch will weaken the fabric around the patch so eventually it will strain the fabric and you will need to add more patches.. and your garment story telling begins!


Example shorts.  These vintage Levi's shorts have some not so pretty marks and stains we can't get out.  We will use a cloth patch made out of vintage Levi's denim to repair them.
Materials - Sashiko needles in two lengths. I prefer the longer needle for denim sewing. Sashiko thimble - image #3 shows you how to wear it! Sashiko thread - a twisted yarn made of 100% Cotton can be contrast or matching
Instructions: 1) Open thread packet and cut thread into 20-24" lengths 2) Thread first thread onto needle
3) Put thimble on your ring finger - facing towards the palm.  Made adjustments as needed to loosen or tighten it to make it comfortable.
4) Position your patch - you can use straight pins or safety pins if you want.  Experienced stitchers may not need pins and may find they get in the way.
Either knot your thread and start sewing from the back side of garment - or leave a 1" tail of thread (you will sew over it later to lock it in place).  You can start wherever you'd like.  I like to choose a flat edge to start - or a corner.  Bring needle to the front of the garment and run the needle through the fabric several times.  Try to keep the stitch lengths short - around 1/8"-1/4" with the proportion of 1/3 visible stitch to 2/3 not visible stitch
Now use the thimble on the palm of your hand to push the needle through the fabric and pull it through.
Repeat to create your design.  For this design I chose to circle around the Gudetama print - and when you get to where you began you will overlap the original stitches - for about 5 stitches and then cut your thread.  If you run out of thread before completing the circle you will also overlap the threads with the new thread overlapping 5-6 times over the previous thread to "Lock" it into place.  You can also place a knot here if you like.
With a new 20-24" thread - repeat around the outer edge of the design.  Keep stitching away from the edge approx. 1/4" as edges will fray and stitches too close to the edge may pull through the fray.
All done!  Stains are covered.