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An introduction to Sashiko and the tools you need to get started!

Sashiko is a mindful, beautiful craft that has seen renewed popularity in recent years as the practice of visible mending has taken off and the benefits of slow stitching have been recognised! Want to know more about Sashiko? Let's dive in!

What is Sashiko?

Sashiko is a traditional Japanese style of embroidery that dates back to the 1600s. It was originally developed by farmers and fishermen as a way to reinforce and repair their workwear when cloth was expensive. Over time, the practice evolved into the decorative geometric patterns you see today.

Sashiko Embroidery



Image by @janinavws

What is the difference between Sashiko and Boro?

Sashiko and Boro are both ancient traditional Japanese crafts. They use the same tools and similar techniques and are both used for visible mending. Sashiko is a style of needlework and Boro, which translates into 'rags and tatters,' is the art of using scraps of fabrics to repair clothing using a simple, repetitive running stitch.

Boro Stitching



Image by @katrinarodabaugh

Is Sashiko easy for beginners?

Yes! Sashiko is an excellent craft for beginners. The initial investment in materials is small and the technique is simple. There are many free tutorials on youtube to get you started!

What can I use Sashiko for?

Sashiko is popular for repair but it is also a beautiful way to embellish garments. You can also turn your Sashiko textiles into cushions or accessories or frame them for your walls. You can also incorporate Sashiko stitching into your quilts!

Sashiko Quilt


Image by @patternandcraft

What supplies do I need to start Sashiko?

The three supplies you absolutely need for Sashiko are cotton Sashiko fabric, medium-weight cotton or linen (or a garment), Sashiko needles and Sashiko thread. We have all of these items in the Sashiko supplies area of our shop.

You may also wish to use a Sashiko template along with a fabric marking tool in a colour that is visible on your fabric and a Sashiko thimble to protect your palm.

What are Sashiko needles?

Sashiko needles are long and sharp, designed to 'load' several stitches, with an eye large enough for thicker Sashiko threads. 


Sashiko Embroidery


Image by @sairakuzakka

Do I need an embroidery hoop for Sashiko?

You don't need an embroidery hoop for Sashiko! Sashiko is an extra portable craft because you can get away with just a needle, thread and fabric when you are on the go.  

What fabric is best for Sashiko?

Choose a non-stretch, cotton, linen or cotton/linen blend fabric. The stitches look beautiful on fabric that is not too tightly woven, because the thread is fairly thick, but it also works well for repairing and decorating fabrics such as denim.

Sashiko Embroidery


Image by @silentwave.indigo

What thread should I use for Sashiko?

Traditional Sashiko thread is a non-divisible 100% cotton thread. That means it can't be separated like the strands of embroidery thread and it also doesn't have a sheen or lustre. We sell Sashiko thread in traditional colours of white, ecru and navy. You can also use perle cotton if you are interested in trying a wider range of colours in your stitching.


Sashiko Embroidery


Image credit @_ironoha

Can I use Sashiko for visible mending?

Absolutely! Sashiko and Boro stitching are very popular for visible mending. These crafts were developed out of a need to repair and reinforce clothing and are perfect for mending rips in your jeans and holes in your elbows! 

Where can I find Sashiko inspiration?

We can't get enough of the Sashiko, Sashiko Embroidery and Visible Mending hashtags on instagram, where we've sourced many of the photos in this post. There is so much inspiration to soak up and ideas to try!

Sashiko Supplies

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