Hand-Stitched Sashiko Jeans 12

Hand-Stitched Sashiko Jeans ~ ASANO-HA CO1

A challenge in 2017 of Modern Denim Fashion came out pretty good. It is still in the process of Sashiko, I thought of sharing the beautiful image of the progress. I received an interesting question if I am hand-stitching or not. Yes, everything is done by hand so it is genuine Hand-Stitched Sashiko Jeans. It took about 20 hours to complete the Asano-ha pattern. Here is a step by step image how used jeans turn out “one-of-a-kind” Sashiko Jeans.

Each process of Hand-Stitched Sashiko Jeans

Hand-Stitched Sashiko Jeans 1
New Denim is difficult to do Sashiko on. Pick a used jeans with soft fabric.

 

Hand-Stitched Sashiko Jeans 2
Try to stitch the straight line first. Think of efficiency.

 

 

Hand-Stitched Sashiko Jeans 223

 

 

Hand-Stitched Sashiko Jeans
The pattern started coming up. It is very rewarding time. Enjoying it.

 

Hand-Stitched Sashiko Jeans Final
After filling the final line, we can enjoy the beautiful Asano-ha pattern.

 

Time-consuming but very rewarding

Since it is hand-stitched, the process of making Sashiko stitching is very time-consuming. Some may say that using the machine would speed up the process and avoid the troubles of spending so much time. In fact, there is a sewing machine to make “Sashiko look stitches” available for sale in the market. However, I believe, the imperfectness of hand stitching make the pattern more beautiful. Even speaking of the speed, when we make a stitched to the tailored jeans or jackets, hand-stitching may be faster and efficient.

 

Hand-Stitched Sashiko Jeans 2233

My goal is to keep this culture and share the technique

As I keep mentioning in this website, my goal is to keep this Sashiko culture to the next generation by sharing the technique. At the same time, for those who are interested in wearing Sashiko jeans, I will restart accepting the order to perform Sashiko stitching on the customer’s garment. It is a time-consuming process, so I cannot take many orders… so sharing the technique is also very important to achieve my goal.

Hand-Stitched Sashiko Jeans 12

 

Regardless. Look at this photo. It is so cool and beautiful.

The hand-stitching with “recycle, upcycle, repurpose” concept in sustainability with Slow Fashion may be your choice. Repair it instead of replacing it. The recycle and sustainable fashion can be fashionable and cool.

 

 

Hand-Stitched Sashiko Jeans Marina

Modern Denim Fashion 2

Modern Denim Fashion with Japanese Sashiko

The word of Sashiko is getting popular in many industries, even in a field of fashion. As the Sashiko artist, I am happy that people get inspired by the image of Sashiko. Although some seem to misunderstand what Sashiko is, the spreading the concept of Sashiko matters first. As a part of my Sashiko challenge in 2017, I restarted practicing Sashiko on the denim fabric. I hope my sample pieces would influence the modern denim fashion, and contribute to the actual Sashiko culture, “the repurpose, appreciation to the fabric, and sustainability.”

*Please refer to the previous article regarding my understanding to Sashiko and its definition. 

 

The fabric lasting longer by rich stitching

Sashiko is a form of stitching to repair, mend, and strengthening the fabric. The famous Japanese vintage fabric “Boro” is the result of repeated Sashiko stitching. Sashiko is well-known for patching and mending the hole in the fabric and torn fabric. In the modern society, Sashiko transformed its concept a bit and now well-known for decorative stitching from Japan.

 

In my Modern Denim Fashion projects, I perform both stitching to strengthening the fabric and mending the torn fabric. The fabric gets much stronger by having so many rich stitching. When the fabric is stronger, the denim garment can last longer. The longer we can use the garment, the more appreciation we can have to the fabric.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the garment with Sashiko is even more beautiful (fashionable) with stitching?

Hand-Stitched Sashiko Jeans 223

 

The possibility in Sashiko with Modern Denim Fashion

Every stitch is done by hands… Therefore, I cannot produce many samples in the short period of time. However, I hope, these samples with Sashiko stitching will influence the modern denim fashion field and spread the concept of Sashiko. It is very difficult to change the mass-production and mass-consumption society. I do not intend to criticize this beneficial industry. In fact, I get to benefit from mass-production. I just would like to spread the concept of appreciation to the fabric, mending and repairing, and ultimately, “repairing it instead of replacing it.”

 

Modern Denim Fashion 23

 

 

Please wait for my update with more samples. I believe we can surprise the world.

 

*You can purchase the swatches of sashiko fabric to patch (stitch-on) to your garment instead of stitching directly. 

 

 

Sashiko White Thread Comparison 1

A Subtle difference in Sashiko White Thread

Indigo Dyed – dark blue fabric and white thread; it is the most popular fabric-thread combination for a long time. Even in modern society, Sashiko with the dark blue fabric and white thread is unique and beautiful. We have two kinds of Sashiko white thread; Original White (Ecru White) and Bright White (Bleached White).

 

Sashiko White Thread Difference
Above: Original White #10/ Below: Bright White #12

 

Comparison in Sashiko White Thread

The thread #10 Original White has an ecru color. In comparison, it is more like the cream color. The thread #12 Bright White is the snow-white color, and it is the white we think of when we say, white. #12 is the brighter white than #10. I named #10 Original White because #12 is dyed (bleached) to make the pure white color.

Both of them are the perfect thread for Sashiko stitching. The color you may choose is up to your preference. Here is a sample Sashiko fabric that I use both #10 and #12 on Indigo Dye Fabric. Interestingly, when you stitch the 2 Sashiko White Thread on the Indigo fabric, #10 looks also pure-white. We choose the thread color AFTER we find the fabric because the stitching on the fabric will decide which thread will result in the color we are imagining.

*This is the reason Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya dye the thread by hands: to create the color we would like to have on top of 22 color selection.

 

Sashiko White Thread Comparison
Left: #10 Original White / Right: #12 Bright White

Even we aren’t so sure how color of stitching come out

Keiko has almost 35 years of experience in Sashiko. She always says, “We can imagine how the color of stitching will come out. However, it isn’t certain and we cannot promise the color result when we try something new.”

When we start a new project, we often make a small stitching sample to make sure if the fabric and stitching match as we imagine. It is another reason of difficulty in accepting a custom order over the Internet. Although we want to achieve the result is as the customer imagined, the combination sometimes results in difference to the image based on the color chart. We accept an order from the people who understand this difficulty of finding the right thread.

 

Well, in fact, this difficulty is actually what makes Sashiko more interesting.

We never know what’s gonna happen until we actually start stitching. Isn’t it like a life?

Sashiko Dream

Sashiko Dream after sharing what we have

My goal, through Upcycle Stitches LLC, is to introduce what Sashiko is to the world. In other words, I would share the Sashiko techniques so everyone can enjoy Sashiko stitching and its culture behind it. “Make Sashiko as open-sourced information” is the key phrase I came up with. Not everyone has to be like me or Keiko. I want each craftsman/artist to use the technique and culture I use to expand their possibility in their own project/art. If I could meet a fashion designer who appreciates what I have been sharing through Sashiko, it would be a great return for me. Well, how about my dream? I suppose I should also mention about my Sashiko Dream, and why I am investing so much money and time into Sashiko.

 

A Sashiko Studio where people can gather

My immediate Sashiko Dream is to have a Sashiko Studio where people can gather for their Sashiko needs. I would host various kinds of Sashiko workshops regularly. People could come and ask questions about their Sashiko project. Good Sashiko materials and supplies such as threads, fabric, and tools would be available for sale after touching the actual samples. Visitors can share their projects and get/give inspiration to/from others. The studio can be a small place, but I would like to update my “virtual studio” in my house to the actual shop on the street.

Days we can fully focus on Sashiko and its operation

Most of the profits from our online stores, workshops, and advertisement on our media are accumulated for the dream above, to have the studio. It is a bit of my personal story, but my full-time job was (still is) to maintain my family. I am a home-maker father. Cleaning, Cooking, and other house chores come first to me in a daily basis. Thanks to my partner who provide the bread to the family, I can continue what I think I should, Sashiko.

Even Keiko, who is a great Sashiko artist, occasionally work part time as a cafe-waitress to get some extra cash for her expenses. It isn’t easy to maintain the life with engaging in “all-hand-made crafts” industry. Regardless of our personal situation, Keiko and I believe that someone would need to pass Sashiko to the next generation, to the future, and I believe that “someone” would be us and our friends in Japan, and all over the world.

 

One day, we would be able to just focus on Sashiko. Hosting many customers who are interested in Sashiko and provide the appropriate answers and solutions.

That is my, and our Sashiko Dream for coming a few years.

 

Sashiko as a form of culture

How about a mid-term dream? From now, my personal understanding kicks in a lot. So please read it as my opinion.

Sashiko is now a form of “hobby.” I am not saying the Sashiko artists are creating their products unprofessionally. I am saying it is difficult to make Sashiko as an industry in this society. I do not know a person who lives by doing only Sashiko. In other words, I don’t know anyone who lives without the additional income resources (or other financial support like me).

 

Although there were small Sashiko industries in some towns in Japan, Sashiko used to be merely a daily chore. In snowy towns surrounded by mountains, women stitched to repair or strengthen the fabric for men over the winter when they didn’t have farming jobs.

 

Chore, Hobby or Industry. I don’t know what is the right form of Sashiko to be passed down. However, I would like to keep the culture of Sashiko including its history and concepts behinds it.

 

Culture is something we intend to leave for

Some people say that things or concepts survived for a long time and remained its form is so called culture. Personally, I think culture is something we purposefully try to leave for the society. If everyone on the earth agreed that we no longer need the concept of Sashiko, then, what I am trying to do may be a waste of time. However, by meeting many people who are interested in the concepts of “sustainability, repurpose, and recycle,” Sashiko will remain in the future by receiving a lot of supports from many people. We would like to be the part of the movement, and moreover, we would like to protect what we have.

It is much easier to preserve what we have than researching and discovering what we had.

 

Being famous is a process to make Sashiko Dream come true, not the goal.

Very nice people who met us and who saw our Sashiko arts tell us that they want Keiko and I be famous. We are very honored to recieve these compliment, and we would like to be famous if there is a chance. However, being famous is neither our goal nor dream. It is a process of acheving the Sashiko Dream I described above.

 

 

Places where we Upcycle what we have.

The more I meet people who appreciate the culture of sustainability, the more I feel I would need to learn about not only Sashiko but also the concept itself.

Even limited to Sashiko, I know only the one aspect of Sashiko technique and the history in one small region. Other than Sashiko, the learning materials is unlimited.

 

One day, I would like to have places where we share the culture, technique, and passion to upcycle what we have.

 

Gradation Color Sashiko Thread

Gradation Color Sashiko Thread with Sample Stitching

Recently, I enjoy making “Thread Bobbins – Itomaki” like the photo below. They are just so cute. Itomaki is a process of preparing to start Sashiko efficiently. However, I kind of enjoy the preparation process than actual stitching for now. Well, both Sashiko Stitching and winding the thread are the great meditation to calm me down. Here are the Itomaki Bobbins I made for gradation color Sashiko Thread.

*I sometimes refer Gradation Color Sashiko Thread to Variegated Color Sashiko Thread

 

gradation color Sashiko Thread 2

Enjoy the color variegation

Five selection of Gradation Color Sashiko Thread is one of our best selling products on our website. The color variegation adds great charm to the Sashiko project. For example, by using #203 Pink-to-White Color Sashiko thread, you will get the great Sakura (Cherry Blossom) color when you make a flower design pattern on the fabric.

 

Coron Sashiko Thread Available in USA | gradation color Sashiko Thread.

 

Sample Stitching with Gradation Color Sashiko Thread

I received some requests to untie the Variegated Color Sashiko thread, so I made the sample Sashiko stitching with it. From left to right, #205-#204-#203-#202-#201. I stitched about 3~4 lines for each color. The design of sample stitching is simply the parallel lines with changing the thread by a meter or so. It is beautiful as it is already colorful.

 

gradation color Sashiko Thread 4

 

In addition to 5 Gradation Color Selection, we have 15 Solid (Mono) Color Selection, 2 Sashi.Co Original Color Selection, and more than 25 of Natural Dyed (Botanical Dyed) Selection for the Sashiko thread. They are all great for the Sashiko Stitching. As I repeatedly say, I strongly recommend you to get the best Sashiko Thread available for your investment. Sashiko requires you to invest a lot of your time. I want everyone to have a great result, and good quality Sashiko thread will be a good reward.

 

I will make sample stitching fabric for the other colors I have.

Keep you updated with us. Enjoy Sashiko!

 

*All of the Sashiko Thread is available in our Etsy Store as well as Amazon Market Place.

 

No More New Cloth 2

No More New Cloth ~ Is it even possible?

One afternoon, I refurbished my 5 years old Sashiko Wallet by patching and Sashiko Stitching. I enjoyed the process, and the result was even more enjoyable. I felt that I followed the path of Boro: when Japanese kept mending their fabric with needle and thread. Then, I realize… why don’t I mend and repair everything I put on? Here is a statement of my silly challenges; I purchase No More New Cloth.

The article about Wallet Sashiko Boro Repair Project

 

Simply, I will purchase no more new cloth

The outline of the challenge is quite simple. I don’t purchase the new cloth such as Jackets and Jeans. I will keep wearing what I have now, and I will keep mending and repairing the garment when it get torn or hole. I have been enjoying the denim mending with Sashiko. On top of my interest, this challenge may investigate the possibility of recycling the cloth and fashion. The core concept is: Repair it instead of Replace it.

I will purchase the fabric to mend and repair. Every time I repaired my garment instead of replaced it, I will update the website to make the challenge progress report. This should be a fun challenge since I always tried to purchase the good quality cloth instead of cheap fast fashion cloth (of course, some of them are from fast fashion brand…) I hope this challenge can influence the society even a bit.

 

 

No More New Cloth

A few exception

Please understand these categories are the exception of this challenge. Only because I don’t want to make the others uncomfortable more than necessary. Original Boro is pretty dirty and stinky, but my challenge should focus on clean recycling and repurposing.

  • New underwear, pairs of socks and towels
  • Formal cloth such as the business suit and tuxedo
  • Gifts and Presents from others

 

The biggest obstacle for this silly challenge

Well… on big obstacle for this challenge is my body shape. Since I became the father, I gained more than 20 pounds… Some pairs of jeans is too tight to wear. So I will watch my weight and keep repairing what I love.

 

Speed of Sashiko 1

Speed of Sashiko ~ How fast can we stitch

People may have an image of Sashiko as the careful slow hand-stitching work; carefully making one stitch by one stitch. It is very important to concentrate on every stitch. However, I believe the Speed of Sashiko stitching is also very important when you enjoy Sashiko. The faster the person can stitch, the more project he/she can work on. The more projects he/she can finish, the better the Sashiko technique will be.

 

Take a look at the video I took for Japanese Running Stitch. No tutorials or descriptions are available on the video, but it will show you the concept of “running” stitch. It isn’t as fast as the machine stitching, but stitching the pattern one stitch by one stitch will take too long to “enjoy” Sashiko.

(Other videos are available on Sashi.Co Youtube Channel)

 

Enjoy the rhythm with Speed of Sashiko stitching

Another reason I occasionally mention about the speed of Sashiko is the rhythm of running stitch. As you can see on the video, I make about 3~5 stitches in one pushing and make the total of 20~30 stitches before pulling the needle through. This rhythm is very calming. I feel like it has the similar efficacy to meditation. When I am in the rhythm, I lost the sense of time.

I would like to introduce the other side of Sashiko efficacies besides making the beautiful patterns and it makes fabric stronger/repair the fabric. In order to share the aspect of Sashiko I am enjoying, the speed of Sashiko stitching is quite important to explain first.

The Speed of Sashiko I can perform now

It took about 90 minutes to do Sashiko from the photo_1 to photo_2. Once you learn how to use thimble and needle appropriately, achieving the speed on the video is the matter of practice, absolutely NOT impossible. The faster people can stitch, the more they can enjoy Sashiko. The more they enjoy Sashiko, the better up-cycle and re-purpose culture would be. I hope you would have a chance to learn how to use thimble and needles to achieve the Speed of Sashiko.

 

The Speed of Sashiko 2
Photo_1 The Speed of Sashiko

 

The Speed of Sashiko 2
Photo_2 The Speed of Sashiko
Wallet Sashiko Boro Repair 1

Wallet Sashiko Boro Repair Project

Since 2012, I have been using a Sashiko card-holder as a wallet to carry my debit/credit cards. After repeating putting my jeans pocket so many times, even the Sashiko fabric start getting torn. When I share the photo on Instagram, many people reacted to the photo how interested they were to see the process of repairing. It became like a Boro mending, so here is my Wallet Sashiko Boro Repair Project.

Repair it instead of Replace it

My wallet looks like the photo. There are some holes. The edge of wallet started fraying. Soon or later, the wallet will be completely torn and it will not function as the card-holder. Replace it, or repair it to reuse it.

Wallet Sashiko Boro Repair 0

 

First, the most important step. Preparing the Sashiko fabric to patch. I prepared several kinds of Sashiko fabric to see which one is the most appropriate fabric.s

Wallet Sashiko Boro Repair 2

 

Choosing the “right” fabric for the project is very fun part. I spend good amount of time to decide the one would be great on Wallet Sashiko Boro Repair Project.

 

Wallet Sashiko Boro Repair 3

 

After selecting the fabric, the repairing stitch start. Unlike the Sashiko running stitch, repairing takes more time, one stitch by one stitch. Since the needle go through several layers of fabric, it is so hard to push through the needle. The pain of my finger is the by-product of this beautiful Wallet Sashiko Boro Repair.

Here is the photo of before and after.

Wallet Sashiko Boro Repair 0 Wallet Sashiko Boro Repair 1

 

The repair for inside wasn’t necessary much. I made a few stitches to reinforce the patch I made outside. The few stitches look pretty unique as well.

 

Wallet Sashiko Boro Repair

 

The Concept of Wallet Sashiko Boro Repair Project

“Upcycle” and “Repurpose” are the keywords on our projects. When I realize my personal belonging (besides pairs of jeans) requires the Sashiko and Boro mending project, I was excited to repair that. The more I repair the fabric, the more I feel the attachment to the item. Using one item with care instead of replacing them every time you see the damage is the key concept of our activities.

 

The Wallet looks a bit like a Boro piece. By repeating the repairing, it will be more beautiful like the other famous boros. We, whoever interested in Sashiko and I, are creating the future Boros.

Sashiko Patchwork 1

Sashiko Patchwork and its Concept

The Japanese used to say; “When you have a piece of fabric as large as the size you can wrap three soy beans, you should keep it so the piece of fabric may be useful in repairing.” We respect this concept in appreciating the fabric. We repair Boro with the small fabric, and we make a larger fabric as the Sashiko Patchwork.

 

A way to appreciate fabric: Sashiko Patchwork

The Japanese have an interesting word, which became quite famous outside of Japan, “Mottainai(もったいない).” This term conveys a sense of regret concerning waste. Personally, I would like to translate this term to “appreciation to the resource” instead of “regretting the waste.” When a person throws away the food, we say “Mottainai.” Although it indeed describes the regretfulness of the waste, I prefer respecting the concept behind the regretfulness of the word, the appreciation for the food as the limited resource.

The same concept applies to the fabric. We try to keep as many small pieces of fabrics as possible. By using them in Sashiko Patchwork or Mending Projects, we intend to give the fabric another purpose. Our main activity is to repurpose something which could be just a piece of garbage. Turning waste to the beautiful & useful things are the basic concept we follow.

 

Sashiko Patchwork 2

 

 

Needless to say, it is easier to use a sheet of fabric to make a bag.

Patchworking with small fabrics is a troublesome and time-consuming process. However, we believe the beauty of Sashiko patch working can influence many people who love arts, and contribute to the sustainable society by up-cycling and repurposing the limited resource.

 

The bag is made by Keiko (Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya).

One of Keiko’s specialty is to find the best small patch from a pile of “To be waste fabric” and create the beautiful piece. Keiko and I share the same goal of bringing the old fabric which people no longer need (use) back to the main stage of fabric. The main stage as the items being used by us.

 

 

Another way to appreciate: Repairing and Boro

A process of repairing the fabric with Sashiko and the resulting in Boro is another way to appreciate the fabric. We also repair Boro. Please spare some of your time to read another section of this website. We share many stories and projects of Boros.

 

 

Japanese Dressmaker Tracing Paper 3

Japanese Dressmaker Tracing Paper for Sashiko

I have been introducing the same carbon paper, so-called “Chakopee”, the Japanese Dressmaker Tracing Paper. There is a note written in Japanese on the back of product package. Here is the translation of note on using the Japanese dressmaker tracing paper appropriately. For more information how to use the tracing paper, please refers the video tutorial (listed on the bottom of this article) of “how to transfer the Sashiko pattern”. The package of 5 sheets is available on this website.

 

 

The product is available with the Selection of 4 colors is available now. Pick the color which matches to your project.

  • – White
  • – Blue
  • – Yellow
  • – Pink
Japanese Dressmaker Tracing Paper 3 Japanese Dressmaker Tracing Paper 1
Japanese Dressmaker Tracing Paper 2 Japanese Dressmaker Tracing Paper 4

 

Notes on using Japanese Dressmaker Tracing Paper

The Pattern will be erased by washing the fabric with water.
Read it before you use it.
  • – Please try to use a small piece of fabric (which you plan to use) and the corner of this paper to test if the pattern washed off as you wish, wait until the pattern gets dried thoroughly, and test it.
  • – When you erase the pattern, please avoid using the Oil-based solvent such as Benzine.
  • – If you iron the fabric before erasing the pattern, the pattern may stay stronger and get more difficult to be washed away. Please be careful with that.
  • – If the pattern does not get washed away by just water washing, please try to wash with neutral detergent by hand. Please AVOID DRY CLEANING.
  • – You may experience the difficulty of transferring the pattern onto the thick and bouncy fabric such as felt. (The thick and bouncy fabric isn’t ideal for Sashiko.)
  • – After usage, please keep the paper in the bag, and avoid the high-temperature &high-humid condition and direct sunlight. Please reach out from children’s reach.

 

Personal notes from experience.

  • – Using a ballpoint pen with good pressure will result in a good transferring
  • – If you press your hand when you hold the fabric and pattern, the shape of the hand may be transferred as well.