Sashiko Definition and Terminology

Let’s see if I can share the clarification of Sashiko Definition. In this page, I try to navigate you to understand what Sashiko is.

As a foreword of this serious of articles, I shared my conception and understanding of Sashiko first. It would be great to spare your time to read it through in order to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding. My goal is always simple. It is to share the joy of Sashiko. Therefore, our mission is pretty simple as well. It is to provide the good quality information to make Sashiko more public (open-source).  I hope this page will provide some clarification.

 

Here is a serious of articles about a question of “What is Sashiko?”

 

 

Sashiko Definition

“What is the difference between Sashiko Stitching and regular stitching?”

I often receive the question. It is difficult to exclusively distinguish what is Sashiko and what is Not sashiko, so let’s start the serious with my challenge of explaining the terminology and definition of Sashiko.

 

According to the Wikipedia

Sashiko is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (functional embroidery) from Japan. Traditionally Sashiko was used to reinforce points of wear or to repair worn places or tears with patches. This running stitch technique is often used for purely decorative purposes in quilting and embroidery. The white cotton thread on the traditional indigo blue cloth gives sashiko its distinctive appearance, though decorative items sometimes use red thread. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sashiko_stitching)

 

Sashiko Definition

 

This description is quite accurate.

A few key phrases are;

  • It is a functional embroidery to strengthen the fabric.
  • It is a technique to repair, reinforce, and mend the worn places and tears on fabric.
  • Recently, it is used in quilting and embroidery for decorative purpose.

Technically speaking, as long as the products use the fabric based on this concept, we may call anything Sashiko. One thing I would add is that all stitching in Sashiko is hand-stitching. Although there is an option to use “Sashiko machine”, I personally do not want to call it Sashiko if it is done by machine. The beauty in perfection is another key in Sashiko culture.

In fact, if we follow the primitive concept of Sashiko to mend the damaged fabric, probably using sewing machine will destroy the fabric more by using strong needles and bobbins. It is a side note.

 

Sashiko as a process

Until 2014, I explained the Sashiko definition like I did above paragraph. Sashiko is a form of stitching, and I thought of the result: the result in form of fabric with Sashiko on.

Recently, however, I start realizing Sashiko is not only the result, stitched fabric, or stitching techniques, it is but also a process of mending the fabric.

 

A few hundred years ago, women repaired men’s jackets. When they stitch, they thought of men who work hard outside. They patched the fabric with hand-stitching. They tried to make it more beautiful with limited resources such as just indigo dyed fabric and white thread.

 

I believe this process is called Sashiko, not only the result with stitching.

In order to explain the deeper side of definition and process of Sashiko, I would need to share the history of Sashiko. Let’s do it next time.

A list of Article about Sashiko History

(Coming Soon)

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