Sunday, December 06, 2020

Sashiko stitching and visible mending

I had another great learning weekend! At the top of my quilting bucket list is a trip to the International Quilt Festival in Houston. Yes, one day I will go person. However, this year I was able to attend a few virtual workshops offered through the festival. 

Sashiko stitching 

I took 3 courses and today I want to tell you about Sashiko Essentials - A Modern Adaptation of Ancient Handwork. The master class was taught by Shannon & Jason Mullett-Bowlsby of Shibaguyz Designz.

Sashiko printed designs - two of five are now done

I've been interested in Sashiko stitching for a while and a few years ago I bought a sampler that was printed onto the fabric since I haven't been able to figure out how to copy a pattern on the dark fabric without a stencil. While I watched the recording of the class, I stitched the second square of the table runner. I believe it's the Asanoha pattern or hemp/ flax leaf.  I researched it and the first pattern that I stitched was the Higaki or Cypress fence pattern. These are moyouzashi patterns. 

Offset Crosses pattern

After watching the master class for the first time, I went back and created a grid using a cupboard lining type of vinyl that I use for free-motion quilting to grip my fabric. They used a plastic canvas grid that is use for crafts but I wasn't able to find any. The important thing is that it's an even grid for stitching Hitomezashi grid patterns. You may be able to see my pink lines on the image above. These were made with a Frixion pen and will disappear when ironed. 

Creating Offset Crosses pattern after the course

Boro or visible mending

During the class, they showed us a few projects using visible mending or Boro, the Japanese art of mending.

This was timely because my favourite jeans are falling apart and I want to keep wearing them!!!! I first added embroidered patches to them while I was in Venice, picking up my daughter. Here they are in all their glory.

My favourite jeans' 
patches were made in Venice

Close-up of the new lovely patches

Considering how they were made and that I wear them a lot, I'm quite lucky that they lasted a year before un-raveling. Those were lovely stitches but the embroidery floss eventually started breaking.

I could live with the patches falling apart but then I just plain used up the jeans and had a couple of big rips on my butt! I wore them until they were too revealing and then added some fun plead flannel patches. Again, these didn't last very long. So, after seeing Shannon's mended pants and listening to how she mended them, I got right on it and reinforced my patches the Boro way 😊

Reinforced patches still show the
original embroidery designs

You can still see some of the original embroidery, but it has been reinforced with the running stitch that is used in Sashiko.
Both patches got a face lift! 

The big difference is that there is now a piece of fabric inside the jeans so that they patches are now quilted. How cool is that? 😊

There was some major stitching to fix the rips. You can see the patches from outside and inside the jeans. I didn't removed the original embroidery since for me, they show the evolution of the patches. I know that they are not cultural resources that are being preserved but I believe that the evolution of a piece, even a pair of jeans, needs to be respected. BTW, these flannel patches may be colourful but they are not very visible.

The layer on the inside of the jeans
Stitched patches on the
outside of the jeans

Boro & Sashiko 
While I was doing some research for this post, I found out that Shibaguyz Designz offers a course, Sashiko 101, that is very similar to what I took. The course is offered through Creative Spark, C&T Publishing's online course platform. The links are below in Related links. 

I've also bought Shannon & Jason Mullett-Bowlsby's newest book, Boro & Sashiko. That's where I got the terms for the different types of Sashiko patterns and stitching. They talked about them but I had no idea how to spell them correctly!

What I learned

  • I really enjoyed Shannon and Jason's course and I highly recommend it. It covers some history as well practical tips on how to mark the grids, work the needle and make the stitches.
  • To keep the top and bottom of the patch attached before stitching, they recommend using a glue stick. It worked very well 😊
  • I'm just sorry that I can only view the course for another week. Since I have the book, I should be fine.
  • I love the way that Shannon and Jason mix up the types of Sashiko patterns in the projects in their book. 
  • There's nothing like another tool to put into that artist's toolbox! I'm thinking that Sashiko could easily be added to my Traveller's Blanket, either as a meditation block or in the stitching around the blocks. 

Related links

Linking parties

I'll be linking up to Slow Sunday Stitching as well as many other fun linking parties. Let's see what's going on! Oh Scrap!, Patchwork & Quilts, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Off The Wall Friday, Peacock Party, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2020, Monday Making, To-Do Tuesday, Put Your Foot Down

I will be hosting Free Motion Maverick's linking party on Thursday. Please come back to link up and check it out!


  1. It's always fun, sometimes a little frustrating to learn a new skill. The white on the black stitching looks really dramatic. How cool that you learned a skill that has practical, and fun, impact on your wardrobe. Happy stitching and thank you for linking up with 15 minutes to stitch.

    1. Thanks Kate. Sashiko is a wonderful skill that I will try to master but Boro, or visible mending could come in handy, even if it's just to embellish clothing. Take care.

  2. Hi Andree! Oh, your Sashiko stitching looks so nice. Thanks so much for linking up this week! ~smile~ Roseanne

    1. Thanks Roseanne. It's been pretty addictive. I've made a few more since :-)

  3. J'ai le livre "The book of boro", je vais me plonger dans sa lecture. J'aime beaucoup ton sashiko, et ton jeans est superbe. Quelle allure !

    1. Merci Frédérique, c'est pas mal addictif! J'en ai fais quelques autres :-) J'ai bien hâte de voir ton travail Boro! Amuse-toi bien.


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