Embellishment & Mending: Sashiko Stitching

Sashiko or little stabs are a Japanese technique of mending clothing or reinforcing areas of high wear. Usually it was white or natural cotton thread onto indigo dyed garments so the contrast as well as the rhythmic dashes create a functional and aesthetically pleasing focal point. Whether or not it was intended to be. Quilters have used this type of stitching as well to quilt together the fabrics or create interest. 


I had a pair of RTW jean shorts that came “distressed” and they were fine for a while but then as rips do, mine got bigger. Then one morning my foot got stuck in a hole and I though “that’s it, to the mending pile!”.


I have seen this technique in denim and I knew I wanted to keep the frayed edges out so this technique seemed like a better choice than the option I use to mend jean crotches. I picked out an embroidery thread and a scrap of cloth I liked and got to work. I added little plus signs in different spots too.


The shorts already had some give and wear so I was having a hard time keeping the fabric flat against the edges where I wanted it. I didn’t have out the iron and had miss-placed my fusible tape so I thought I would try the school glue method of basting.

This is where you use white school glue to temporarily glue two piece of fabric together. I don’t know if it was me, the glue, or the fabrics but it did not work for me. The glue bulked up the area and made it hard to stab thru, and I had to wait for it to dry. It did wash out completely so that’s a plus.

I hate waiting when I am ready to get creative.

Sashiko was a great way to add interest to the distressing, reinforce the hole and gave me a little while longer with these shorts. I will be using fusible tape next time. The bunching in the fabric doesn’t bother me while wearing it but it does visually bug me. Oh well at least I get more wear out of them and learned a new technique. What new techniques have you tried recently?


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