Sashiko Video Log Story Vol 1

Sashiko Video Log Story Vol 1 | What is Sashiko

I am happy to start the Video Log with Sashiko Stories. I write many articles on this website, but it is much easier for Sashiko learners to watch the video regarding what I think. Here is Sashiko Video Log Story Vol 1 | What is Sashiko and What is NOT Sashiko.



Below, you may refer to the script I used in case my English has the too thick accent in Sashiko Video Log Story Vol 1.


Script of Sashiko Video Log Story Vol 1

Thank you for subscribing the Sashi.Co ChannelThis is my first “Story” which I plan to share my experience, opinion, and most importantly my passion.


Today’s Topic is What is Sashiko and What is not Sashiko

As you may have found this video (article) by searching with a keyword of Sashiko, Japanese Sashiko Stitching is getting popular.

As a Sashiko professional, I occasionally search for the keyword of Sashiko and learn what people are talking about it. Then, I came to realize, there are a lot of discussions out there in defining Sashiko; simply what is Sashiko & What is NOT Sashiko.

In order to be part of this discussion as a Japanese, as well as a Sashiko practitioner, I would need to explain the origin of Sashiko. Then, I will share my “opinion” of What is Sashiko and What is NOT Sashiko.

Well. Long Story Short.
There is no such a thing as Right and Wrong in Sashiko in my opinion.


Origin of Sashiko

Let’s talk about the origin.
Sashiko was developed in a poor, undeveloped community in Japan. Those Japanese, who mainly lived in the rural areas, didn’t have enough asset to purchase the new textile. Also, those Japanese didn’t have access to the fine cotton fabric to warm them up.

To overcome the situation like that, they used needle and thread. Sashiko was developed for the purpose of surviving through days, especially in winters, by repairing, mending, strengthening the fabric. It is the deep down origin of Sashiko.

Later on the history, in some regions of Japan, where they had a bit more mind economy, people enjoyed Sashiko for the decorative purpose. However, the Japanese with wealth mainly enjoyed the beautiful Kimonos, so Sashiko was for ordinary people, and there was a purpose of mending, repairing and strengthening the fabric.
Those who enjoyed Sashiko with patterns also didn’t have enough skill to dye out patterns. They used the plain Indigo Fabric, simply because it was the most common fabric available, then stitched the pattern out with the purpose to make fabric stronger with white thread. This is the combination as known as the traditional Sashiko: Indigo & White thread.

Regardless of when in the history, Sashiko existed for the purpose of their life.

Therefore, when I see a handstitched culture with purpose, which can be any purpose, I would be happy to call them Sashiko. In a different culture, in a different location in the world, it may be called differently.

Each community & each location had developed its own culture. Therefore it is a bit thoughtless to say that one type of Sashiko is “right” and the other is “wrong”.

If it is stitched by hand for the purpose, especially with appreciation to what we have, I would definitely call it Sashiko even if the stitches are not even.


About Slow Stitch


Let’s talk about the interesting word, slow-stitch.

I occasionally hear that the people understand there are some rules in Sashiko. Let’s say, the stitch size should be always equal, and the space in between the stitches have to be the certain percentage of the actual stitches. Well, I don’t follow much of these rules.

Because of these rules, the stitching tends to be slow. If I have to be careful with each stitch for the length and spaces in between, yes, I would need to make a stitch one by one. Is this the slow stitch?

Sashiko is SLOW stitch because of it is hand stitched. If I use a sewing machine, I can sew up the things much faster. However, I want to mention that the stitching speed was (and is) a great part of Sashiko.
If the stitching was too slow, the Japanese would have suffered more in the severely cold winter.

Therefore, I advocate that Unshin (運針)needlework is one of the core techniques of Sashiko stitching.

To be honest, for that matter, I would say, the speed was much more important than the actual size of each stitch. Yes, a size of rice grain looks perfect and they say it is the size we aim for, but it is a matter of “result” of running stitch, not measuring stitch by stitch.

So, what is Sashiko?

In my opinion, if you hand-stitch the fabric with a purpose, it is Sashiko. I do not believe that there is the universal rule or regulation for Sashiko. There are, of course, Sashiko techniques and wisdom to make the result more beautiful and attractive. It is your “choice and preference” to learn and choose on, not the rule by someone.

Sashiko is a form (and process) of stitching to appreciate the fabric, and what we have. The purpose of stitching can be anything. Upcycle, Repurpose, Recycle, decorate, and what you can think of your mind.

It was an ordinary needlework for the Japanese. I would like to keep it that way instead of regulating it strictly by implementing the rules.

To learn more about Sashiko, please visit our website, UpcycleStitches.Com. I write stories about Sashiko, introduce the technique and supplies, and much more. Our goal is to share this beautiful technique Sashiko as well as the Japanese mindset behind Sashiko.

Enjoy the Sashiko Video Log Story Vol 1.



Above Sashiko Video Log Story Vol 1. I will work on the following Video Logs.

Sashiko Alumni Interview Caroline Cover

Sashiko Alumni Interview Caroline | Sashiko on Ordinary Cloth

We are very happy to introduce Caroline, an amazing Sashiko (and more) artist working with ordinary fashion and creative Sashiko Stitching. Here is a beautiful Sashiko Alumni Interview Caroline.

Many participants in my Sashiko Workshop mention that it is impossible to get the stitching speed as I do. I always reply to them that if they practice properly for some time, they all will get the similar speed within 2 years or so, probably much sooner. She is a great example of learning the appropriate technique and keep “producing” many Sashiko arts. I am so proud of her.


We sincerely thank Caroline to be the first alumni to answer the interviews. Please enjoy “Sashiko Alumni Interview Caroline”. (This is a part of Sashiko Alumni Interview Series.)


Sashiko Alumni Interview Caroline

Sashiko Alumni Interview Caroline



When did you start being interested in Sashiko?

I don’t remember exactly! At some point in the last few years, I started seeing various classes being offered in sashiko, and it looks so beautiful that I decided I wanted to learn.


What is your passion for Sashiko?

I find the stitching to be meditative – I am a knitter, and doing sashiko puts me in a similar mind space, one I find to be very beneficial for my state of mind. I also like the planning of a sashiko project, which can be quite mathematical and precise (depending on what pattern I am stitching). I don’t think it’s an accident that I’m drawn to sashiko because of both the precision and the meditation aspects, as I find both are important to all the craft work I do.


In addition, I love vintage fabrics and vintage clothing, and I love indigo, and I love natural fibers, so those things combine to bring new life to old garments and fabrics.


The recycling of old fabrics and clothing is especially important to me; lately, I’ve been buying old shirts at the thrift store and doing sashiko stitching on them, thus making a generic item of clothing into a one-of-a-kind piece. Falling in love with our clothing and customizing our clothing and realizing the importance of handwork is the way to get beyond fast, cheap fashion.


I also like the traditions inherent in sashiko, stitching patterns that have been in use for centuries, creating “boro” as the Japanese have been doing for centuries.


What did you think of Atsushi’s Workshop?

Atsushi is a great teacher, not only in how to do sashiko but also in the excitement he has for ideas and projects. He’s so open-minded about what sashiko can be and how it can be used. He knows the tradition and teaches the tradition, and yet he gets inspired by how sashiko can be pushed to go beyond the tradition.


Plus it’s amazing to say that I learned sashiko from a member of a family that has been doing it for generations!


What inspires you when you work on your Sashiko Project?

I get inspired by seeing my project develop slowly, learning little things along the way, improving my technique. Stitching gives me time to ruminate on the next part of the project, or maybe on my next project, or on other creative ideas.


What is Sashiko for you?

My simple definition of sashiko is making running stitches with cotton thread – and what I like about this definition is its openness, its ability to encompass traditional stitching patterns, the making of boro, and lots of things beyond. My goal is to incorporate sashiko into other projects, figuring out how to mix sashiko with sewing, quilting, embroidery, knitting, and other crafts in a way that is new and beautiful.



[ End of Sashiko Alumni Interview Caroline ]


Photo Gallery of Caroline’s Achievement

Sashiko Alumni Interviews

Sashiko Alumni Interviews | Great Sashiko from our Alumni

It has been almost 2 years since I had offered the first Sashiko Workshop in NYC. It is my pleasure to meet all of the participants with a great passion for Sashiko. I always wanted to make a community where we can get together and share the on-going Sashiko Project. The community I dreamed of is getting formed a little by little. In 2018, I had chances to see some Sashiko Alumni and get so impressed by their achievement. Sashiko Alumni Interviews. This is one of my biggest project & achievements in 2018.


Outside of my “Traditional” Box

I keep mentioning there is no such a thing as “Right” or “Wrong” Sashiko. Sashiko was too ordinary needlework for the ordinary Japanese before the industrial revolution. I try to be as creative as I can when I enjoy the Sashiko Stitching. Sashiko & Denim is one of my conclusion for the non-traditional Sashiko Stitching.


Regardless of my willingness to be open-minded, the tradition I was “forced” to follow restrict my imagination and creativity. Our Sashiko Alumni do not have the limitation of what I have subconsciously. They learn the basic & core & traditional Sashiko from me and collaborate to what they are passionate about. Their achievements always inspire me. Ever since I enjoyed the Sashiko Alumni Sashiko work, I sincerely wanted to share their work on this website.


There we go as Sashiko Alumni Interviews. I plan to introduce their views with many photos.


Sashiko Alumni Interview Sharon

Contents of Sashiko Alumni Interviews


We send a list of brief questions regarding Sashiko and Sashiko Workshop experience with us. It is our biggest happiness to see the Alumni’s Sashiko achievement. In the advanced workshop (Hitomezashi Workshop) or Sashiko Gathering after the initial Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic), some alumni bring their own Sashiko achievements. They are all unique and beautifully done.


I encourage the students to be open-minded. In the workshop, I teach the traditional technique with many stories based on the tradition. It is welcomed to practice the traditional stitching as you progress your project. At the same time, I am very interested in a “Sashiko’s possibility” by the Sashiko Alumni integrating their own culture and what they learned from me.


In Sashiko Alumni Interviews, I ask 5 questions below:

  1. When did you start being interested in Sashiko?
  2. What is your passion for Sashiko?
  3. What did you think of Atsushi’s Workshop?
  4. What inspires you when you work on your Sashiko project?
  5. What is Sashiko for you?


With our Sashiko Alumni interviews on these questions, I believe we can introduce what Sashiko really is. I am very excited about sharing these.


The Sashiko Alumni who interviewed


Please find a link to the individual interview. You may find your own favorite style. They are all different, and they are all fantastic.

  • Caroline Green  (Coming Soon)


Sashiko Almuni Interview




I am asking the Sashiko Alumni to spare their precious time to answer the interviews. Please wait for the updates. The articles will be a good benchmark for you to understand what you potentially can do after taking our Sashiko Workshops. I will teach you the basic & tradition. After the workshop, it is up to you to create completely “one-of-a-kind” Sashiko work.


Amazing! Enjoy Sashiko!!