Sashiko is simple form of hand-stitching developed in Japan. I believe anyone can learn it and practice it with great joy. Your Sashiko teacher/books may say that you can use any kind of needles, threads and fabric for Sashiko because it was developed as a practice to strengthen & repair the fabric. It is a true statement that the Japanese had to use whatever they had in the beginning of Sashiko history. However, we have choices in today’s society. There are many Japanese artisans/craftmen who devoted their life to make better materials, equipment, and supplies.
We spend a lot of time in stitching when we enjoy Sashiko. One project can take hundreds hours of stitching. I would like you to be rewarded to the time you spent. I would like to have the best possible result to the time I have spent.
Therefore, I have a strong recommendation in what we use & introduce. For the Online Sashiko Class, I make them as the necessary tools and supplies so that I can smoothly pass down the techniques & wisdom we carry. This blog explain what is the list of Sashiko Supply Recommendation for the Japanese Sashiko artisans.
*I understand that not everyone is accessible to the supplies & tools I introduce here. Please do not get me wrong. I am NOT saying that what you use will define it if you are doing Sashiko or not. As I said above, as a Sashiko’s principal, you may use whatever you have. However, I want you to know that there are “the best” items for the Sashiko we practice.
Sashiko Supply Recommendation (Must Have)
These supplies and tools are must to have to enjoy our Sashiko. Some teachers/books may say that they are optional to have. However, since you are trying to enjoy the Sashiko, I strongly recommend you to get these items. They make a significant difference in both stitching experience & results.
- Sashiko Thread (specifically designed for the Sashiko purpose)
- Sashiko Needle (51.5 mm with specific needle eyes)
- Sashiko Palm Thimble (Brass materials with specific shape)
- Good fabric to stitch on (Japanese cotton fabric woven in Japan is strongly recommended.)
- A pencil/marker to draw/add the pattern.
*Please be advised that all of the necessary supply & tools here is included in the Online Sashiko Class (and In-person workshop) fees.
I strongly recommend taking our Sashiko Workshop/Class (either In-person or Online) to learn how to use the supplies and tools appropriately. Alternatively, I offer a lot of materials for anyone to learn by watching on our Youtube Channel.
Optional Sashiko Supply Recommendation
Here is a list of other Sashiko supply recommendation. You wouldn’t need them for the first steps. However, the more you get into the Sashiko practice, these tools may be very beneficial for you to keep enjoying.
Sashiko Thread (for Future Projects)
Sashiko Thread is consumable articles. The more you stitch, the more you would like to have. It is alway good to have plenty of Sashiko threads. We have a variety of colors in Mono/Variegated synthetic and Natural Dye. As I always say, the thread matters. The good Sashiko thread makes a significant difference.
*As of now, we recommend the Sashiko thread from 2 brands/manufactures mainly. I would like to introduce the thread I use. It is not ethical for us to introduce something we do not prefer / we do not use. Please check our store for the availability of our thread.
Fabric for Sashiko
To be honest, the fabric can be anything you would like to stitch on. My favorite is the cotton fabric woven in Japan. Because of the several factors, I feel a difference when I stitch on the cotton fabric woven in other countries. I want you to learn how to talk to the fabric by learning the Sashiko/Unshin from us so that you can find what is the best fabric for you.
Other Sashiko Supply Recommendation
- Grip Scissors / Thread Clipper
- Materials to draw/transfer the pattern on to the fabric
- Rulers and pattern template
- Some Sashiko Patterns (Some Youtube Tutorials are available as well).
- Different thinkness of Sashiko Thread
- I want you to try the Sashiko thread we use (Coron, Sashi.Co & Upcycle-Stitches Brand). At the same time, other thickness of Sashiko thread are good to have for the other projects. After several years of test stitching, we decided to add Yokota Sashiko thread to our inventory. Their threads are as good as ours (Kasane works very well for thick thread. For thin one, it depends on the fabric. Please test before doing Kasane – if it doesn’t work, making knots is perfectly fine).
- Please check the Sashiko thread comparison here.
Any Recommendation for books?
Unfortunately, I do NOT have any recommendation for book published in English. I have several recommendation for book written in Japanese. Some of them are out of print, but we are happy to look for one for you (with Fee). The books Ms. Eiko Yoshida wrote our recommendation (All in Japanese). For the pattern, I have a book that I like in English. It is easier for us to find this book.[Update in 2023]
Finally, I have a course that I sincerely recommend to start learning Sashiko as introduction – without asking you the big commitment (I understand my [Core & Essence] class require some commitment. I get so many good reviews, but I understand it isn’t for everyone).
Please find the course: Introduction to Japanese Sashiko on Domestika. This is the answer to you for asking my recommendation.
If you aren’t sure, please check the trailer to see what you can learn in the Course! This is well filmed by professionals! It will be a great start, and I hope you can consider taking my official course, Core & Essnece. Thank you!
For the cultural perspective of Sashiko, I keep writing and speaking because there are no good books for you to understand Sashiko with the details. It is key to understand that we cannot understand fully because Sashiko existed in the ordinary (therefore, I do not recommend any books marketing them with saying “No Look Further” or “Ultimate”).
For the Technique of Sashiko, most of the books written in English teach the “filtered” answers. They are not wrong, but insufficient. The “easy-answer” may discourage you to keep learning by “feeling” that you learned the whole picture (by reading filtered information by non-Japanese teachers). It will twist the culture from the technical perspective as well. Please try to learn from the Japanese teachers, or the teachers who are very well educated in Japanese culture (fluent in Japanese).
For the pattern references, the book that I like in English is a good source to come back and learn. It is easier for us to find this book.
To learn the Sashiko we practice by reading/listening the stories, this is a list of links you can learn (Your Support on Patreon would be appreciated).
- Patreon – I share my honest & sincere stories here.
- Instagram – I update everyday. I behave in what I write after experiencing some sad “argument”.
- Youtube – Not my comfort zone, but I try my best.
- This website – Many random articles, but this is the origin of everything.
- Facebook Group – Open to anyone who would like to respect the Japanese Sashiko.
*You can find the similar information on Sashiko Q&A
Not only for the industry, but for you to enjoy Sashiko.
In Japan, we have a proverb saying, “A true master isn’t picky about the tools they use.” In other words, in English, you may say “A bad craftsman blames his tools”. It is also a true statement that a “master” will be able to stitch naturally with any tools. However, we aren’t the “master” yet.
In order to have a comfortable learning process, I strongly recommend getting the right tools. It makes a big difference, and therefore I require every students who learn via my class/workshop to use the specific tools. It is very important to advocate those small industry to pass the culture down to the next generation. However, on top of that, I want you to enjoy the Sashiko as much as you can possibly do. Therefore, we introduce what we use every day to enjoy Sashiko.
So… if you find your Sashiko stitching is somewhat difference from the one we stitch, it may be because of the tools/supplies you use. To expedite the learning, please consider taking the Online Sashiko Class.
Sample of Sashiko stitching
Here are the samples of Sashiko stitching done by Atsushi, Keiko, and our students & friends. If you find your stitching different from these, and wish to make your stitching like these, please consider trusting the Sashiko Supply Recommendation.