Workshop: Sashiko stitching

How to sew sashiko stitch

Our social media feeds are filling up with the cutest of first day of school snaps, and it’s put us in the mood for a new term of embroidery classes! Autumn always feels like the start of new adventures for us, so we’re sharing this new blog series with you all to celebrate. Over the coming weeks we’ll be posting some of our favourite embroidery workshops from our early issues here for you to enjoy and try some new sewing skills. To start us off, let’s try Sashiko stitching. Read on to find out how it’s done and download a free embroidery pattern to get you started…

How to sew Sashiko stitch

This quick & easy Sashiko tutorial is a fun way to customise plain garments and gifts!

We’re all about personalising the things we wear, and sashiko is the perfect way to give a plain garment a bit of wow-factor. This ancient Japanese embroidery technique offers the opportunity to show off your sewing skills and subtly customise a simple item of clothing. Using a clean contrasting thread, Sashiko is effortlessly elegant, and, with Christmas on the way, it’s a clever (and quick) way to add a personal touch to shop-brought garments and gifts. Oh, and did we mention, it’s really easy to get to grips with too?


  • Have you seen our new Stitch Library series? Learn to stitch cable chain stitch in issue 33 of Simply Sewing
  • Browse the rest of our free sewing tutorials in our How to sew section
  • Top up your sewing machine skills with our Skills Boost series.

Sashiko stitching: step-by-step

Step one: Download our free embroidery template and trace the cloud design onto a sheet of tissue paper, using a dressmakers pencil or a pale blue pencil, as we have here. Blue is always a good colour to use as it doesn’t have the dirty appearance that a graphite pencil tends to have if any residue is picked up through stitching.

How to sew sashiko stitch step 1

Step two: Next, position the traced design on your fabric and tack it in place. Keep the stitches small and neat as this will help to prevent the tissue paper from moving. For larger designs, you’ll find it helpful to tack across the middle of the paper as well. Trim any excess tissue paper as necessary.

How to sew sashiko stitch step 2

Step three: Sashiko needles and threads are available but we used white stranded cotton and a sharp crewel needle. Starting at the base of the design, follow the outline by weaving the needle in and out of the fabric along the pencil lines, taking care not to pucker the fabric.

How to sew sashiko stitch step 3

Step four: Continue working across the design in a logical order. When turning corners, don’t pull the thread through completely – leave a loop on the back to prevent puckering. Finish threads by weaving them through the back of your stitches. Once complete, carefully tear away the tissue paper – hold the stitches as you do this to prevent them being pulled by the tissue paper.

How to sew sashiko stitch step 4

Once you get hooked, you’ll be wanting to stitch Sashiko clouds on everything!