Hello! Long time no read! I’ve had a very busy May and haven’t known whether I was coming or going! I am back from holidaying in France, weekends away and general Me Made May madness and feeling soo inspired to crack on with some fun makes!
I didn’t take my sewing machine with me all the way to France but I did take some knitting and this Sew Easy Sashiko Kit I’ve been sent to review. I have seen lots of interesting uses for Sashiko-style stitching in the slow fashion community. There are several makers using it to repair distressed garments and make their garments even more beautiful thanks to the visible mending and I would love to incorporate this into my sustainable sewing practise.
When I was sent this kit from Sew Easy, I hadn’t really done any sort of hand-stitching. I am not a cross-stitcher, embroiderer or any other sort of hand-stitching extraordinaire. I am a total beginner. The kit instructions are great and very helpful but I am very aware that Sashiko is an art form from another culture so I wanted to educate myself on this some more before I started my stitching journey.
I borrowed The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook from my local library in an attempt to learn more about the cultural heritage of this Japanese craft. I found the information about the origins of Sashiko very interesting and felt more connected to the craft while I was mindfully stitching as a result of taking the time to understand the significance of the stitches.
Sashiko was always a sustainable craft, born in an era when textiles were precious, when fabrics were hand spun, hand woven and hand dyed they were rare and important commodities. Sashiko stitching was used to repair worn garments and used to hold layers together, it made cloth stronger, improved it’s thermal qualities and recycled worn-out textiles; often the most worn out pieces of cloth were sandwiched between their best cloth. Once again Sashiko is being used to repair worn garments and I would love to respectfully incorporate this into my repairing skillset.
The kit that I was sent includes a piece of navy blue cotton, some templates, a chalk pen, hand-sewing needles and most importantly, some Japanese Sashiko thread. I chose to have a go at sewing one of the patterns onto some of the cotton that was included in the kit. The thread feels very different to the embroidery silks I have felt before so if you want to do some Sashiko I would definitely make sure you’re buying some of the proper stuff. It feels much more strong and hardwearing, more like a thick topstitching thread than an embroidery feel.
It was easy to use the chalk pen to trace off the design I wanted to do, the small plastic templates even have little finger holes for you to easily keep them in place while tracing. The templates can be used over and over again. I have also used this chalk pen for almost all my sewing projects since receiving it, it has several different colours which can show up on all different fabrics! Tracing was easy and quite a nice slow, mindful thing to do, I like that it makes it easy for my stitches to look good! If I didn’t have the template I am not sure how wonky and uneven my stitches would have looked!
As I am completely new to any sort of decorative handstitching it took a little while to get the tension of the stitches right although the packaging of the kit does come with some useful tips. One of the tips suggests to occasionally leave a slightly loose stitch at the back of the work in case the project shrinks in the wash or under the iron, I didn’t do this at first and I can definitely see my stitches improve as I went on.
I had cut out this shape from the cotton that was included in the kit intending it to be the front of an Ida Clutch but I think the cotton is a bit too thin to be a handbag and my stitches at the beginning aren’t even enough. I am leaving this as a fun sampler and great learning experience and plan on repeating the same stitching on some denim scraps to make the clutch bag. I also intend to practise some more of the stitches included in the kit (there are four templates of different stitches) and I plan on using them in my repair projects from now on.
If you have any great Sashiko artists you can recommend I follow, I am incredibly interested in learning more about the craft as I endeavour to extend my slow fashion intentions to visible mending and making repairs beautiful. Thanks for reading!
Disclaimer: ⭐️ Sew Easy Sashiko Starter Kit was provided free of charge in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own, and I wouldn’t recommend something I didn’t like!