Sashiko Frequently Asked Questions Cover

Sashiko Frequently Asked Questions

Since I started introducing Sashiko online (here and Youtube)in 2017, I have been receiving many questions. As a group of Sashiko artists, we would like to provide all the answers and solutions regarding Sashiko. To achieve the goal, please take a look at this list of Sashiko Frequently Asked Questions. I have been receiving similar questions, and your question is probably someone’s question. I will keep updating this list of Sashiko Frequently Asked Questions

[last updated in 2019]

Sashiko Frequently Asked Questions

Please find your question and the answer to that below. If you do not find the answer, please contact Atsushi for more information. I will add your question to the list to make an answer.

Sashiko in General

Q: I am a complete beginner in Sashiko. Where should I start learning?

You found the best place. I strongly recommend learning the Unishin (the form of running stitch) at your earliest convenience. The skill & understanding of the Unshin will give you the freedom to find your own stitching. As a result, your stitching will be faster, and in the good speed of stitching, you can have good even stitches results.

You can learn the Sashiko we practice in our Sashiko Class (Online Sasiko Class & In-person Wroskhop) with our personal attention to you. If you are unable to take the class for any reasons, please check the Youtube videos so you can watch & learn. However, since everyone’s hands are unique & different, I strongly recommend you learning from the specific class and get our personal feedback to adjust your learning. (After learning the Unshin, you won’t need more “workshop” to be like one of us. You can tell so by checking what I offer as the workshop. I barely offer the “advanced” one because not many people need it. However, it would be ideal to understand the core, essence and basic of Sashiko.

*In-person workshop is only available with collaborating with other organization & studios due to Covid-19

About Sashiko Supply and Tools

Q: What kind of thread can I use for Sashiko Stitching?

Frankly speaking, you can use ANY KIND of thread for Sashiko stitching. However, in order to fully enjoy the Sashiko experience we would like to introduce, please consider getting the Sashiko thread from us. Some of the technique and wisdom do not function when you use non-Sashiko thread or even the Sashiko thread from the other manufacturers.

This is one of the most frequent questions. Please find the article explaining about the Sashiko Thread.

I also explain “Why” Sashiko thread is so important on Youtube. It is because of the purpose of the thread, not only the quality but the thread itself have a different purpose in stitching.

Q: What kind of fabric should I use?

To be honest, any kinds of fabric would be fine for Sashiko stitching. I prefer the good quality cotton 100% fabric, preferably woven in the Japanese traditional style. However, any kinds of fabric, silk, canvas, and anything else you have in your house may work as a good Sashiko fabric.

For some tips, if I had the same budget, I would spend it toward the thread. The appropriate Sashiko thread makes a lot of difference in the result.

Please find the video of me enjoying the “cheapest fabric” that I can get from the retailer.

Q: What are the recommendation for books?

Unfortunately, I don’t have any recommendation for books about Sashiko & Boro in English. The contents described in the books are not wrong, but insufficient. Some books describe the specific technique as if it explain the whole picture. It can lead you to bigger confusion. I do not recommend it.

In Zen principal, they teach “No words can describe fully about its practice (不立文字)”. It goes to similar to Sashiko & Boro. It requires a series of sharing stories instead of definitions. So, I do not know any book which covers the principal, philosophy, history, culture and techniques that I would like pass down in Sashiko comprehensively.

Therefore, I keep writing our principal, philosophy, and techniques here to share the Sashiko we practice.

This is a list of links you can learn.

  • 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.

If you read Japanese language, then the recommendation would be books written by Ms. Eiko Yoshida.

Q: Sashiko Stories

What is the difference between Boro and Sashiko?

Sashiko is a form of hand-stitching (=process), and the Boro is an ultimate result of repeating Sashiko. The definition of each word, Sashiko and Boro, can be wide-interpreted, but Sashiko and Boro are not equal. In the Japanese language, Sashiko can be a verb, but Boro doesn’t work as the verb.

More information can be found on Youtube Video.

Sashiko Wisdom

Q: What is Sashiko? Your Sashiko looks different from mine.

It is a whole purpose of this website to introduce the Sashiko we enjoy. For the quick start, please watch the Youtube video here.

Q: Which side of the fabric should I draw/transfer pattern on?

Traditionally, we draw/transfer the pattern on the “hiding” side. The “hiding” side can be called “wrong side” or “bad side”. In short, we transfer the fabric on the side people will not look at much. The finished side will be on the other side of stitching. However, there is no rule for that. You can stitch from either side. I simply follow the tradition, and the Japanese traditionally performed Sashiko from the “hiding” side because they wanted to both side beautiful (presentable) in a poor economic situation.

Q: Why do you make loops during the stitching?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions from our Youtube Channel. I understand it because I often make loops when I make stitching in Live Streaming. I wrote a blog post about it to share the reasons for loops.

Q: What do you do with the thread tale & loops after Sashiko.

We stitch from the back side (wrong side = hiding side with lining) fabric. All of the thread tales from the Kasane (Overlay stitching) and loops are going to be on the back side you are looking at.

We clip all of the thread tales and loops after the stitching & putting the fabric into the water. By doing Kasane, when you use the appropriate thread, the stitches will be secured in a process of putting the fabric through the water and drying it.

When we plan to use both side as the finished side, we clip all the Sashiko thread tales and loops (In fact, when we use both side as the finish side, I do not leave the loops). However, it is more common to put lining on the back side, so we leave some amount of thread tales and loops.

Q: How do you stop the stitches without a knot?

There is no problem of making a knot when you end the stitching with Sashiko. However, traditionally, we do not make a knot to secure the stitching. Please find a video of “how to NOT to make a knot.”

Q: My fingers and wrist hurt after making the stitch. Is it normal?

Umm… the pain isn’t normal. I can keep on stitching for hours of times and will not have any pains on my finger or wrist. Please check my actual stitching, and see what is the difference. If you can take my workshop (In NYC or Online), I should be able to give you more specific solution.

In order to grasp the quick overview of Sashiko, Youtube videos are the best way. I have been creating some videos explaining what Sashiko can do, so please take a moment to watch the Sashiko “Stories”.

Q: Your stitches are so even. How can I make them even?

The key is “to try not to make them even.” When one focuses on the result (the evenness), the stitches tends to be less even. We as human cannot keep the concentration for so long time. Instead, learn the Unshin (needle movement – rhythmical stitching) so you can stitch with relaxation.

Do you measure the thickness of onion slice when you cut it for salad? If you are good at cooking, then the answer should be “what? no!!”. The same goes to Sashiko.

Video about Unshin & Rhythmical Stitching

9 thoughts to “Sashiko Frequently Asked Questions”

  1. Looking for tips on how to unwind a skein of indigo Sashiko thread I ordered and hope will arrive soon. I’m thinking I should wind on card or in a ball like yarn ?

    1. Hi Mary,

      Thank you for your order.
      For the tips to keep the Sashiko thread, please refer the videos I upload on the Youtube. This is a playlist for some tutorials.


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