Japanese Handicraft “Sashiko”

Japanese traditional culture

Hello, this is Yuko!

Do you like traditional Japanese things? There are many traditional performing arts and techniques that have been handed down from ancient times in Japan.

Today, I would like to talk about one of them, “Sashiko,” which is a traditional Japanese handicraft.

What is Sashiko?

Sashiko is one of the traditional handicrafts in Japan. It is said that it started with sewn layers of cloth for the purpose of reinforcing clothes and keeping warm.

Sashiko is an embroidery created as a wisdom for ordinary people to live. It is said that it was born about 500 years ago.

In modern times, the meaning of heat retention by sashiko has disappeared, but the simplicity of the design has been highly evaluated and it has been incorporated into a part of Japanese life.

Also, sashiko is sewn by “the handling of the needles”. “The handling of the needles” is parallel sewing, which is the most basic sewing method for Japanese dressmaking. In my junior high school home economics class, I remember having practiced the handling of the needles every hour. It is a basic sewing method, so anyone can sew it easily.

What you need for sashiko

Needles

All you need for embroidery is a needle. Since the embroidery thread of the sashiko is thick, it is recommended that the needle also has a thick hole. The needle is also long so that it can be easily stabbed. There is a needle dedicated to sashiko.

Threads

Cotton material is often used for the thread. The embroidery thread for sashiko is thicker than normal thread because it is made by twisting several threads into one thread.

Clothe

The cloth used for sashiko varies depending on the purpose of the cloth, but cotton and linen are often used.

Typical pattern of sashiko

The pattern of sashiko incorporates many traditional patterns that have been handed down from ancient times. Today, I would like to introduce three of the most famous patterns.

Asa no ha (Hemp leaf)

Plant hemp is very durable. It was used for the birth of babies, with the idea that it would grow straight and strong like hemp, and that it would be possible to connect with many people and live.

Yabane (Arrow feather)

The arrow feather pattern is derived from the hamaya that you get to protect yourself from evil at the shrine. The meaning of the arrow feather pattern also means that it flies in search of amulets and happiness.

Shippou gara (Cloisonne pattern)

From the infinite series of patterns, it seems to mean peace. It is used as a congratulatory pattern to represent “treasure around the world” and “infinite prosperity of descendants”.

What you can make with sashiko

In modern times, sashiko is often used as a point of life. What kind of things are they used? Here are two typical ones.

Coaster

Fine sashiko embroidery will catch your eye. Maybe you hesitate to put a glass on this coaster. But the sashiko cloth is very durable!

Hana fukin (Clothe with sashiko)

Hana fukin is a cloth with sashiko. A flower cloth will brighten your kitchen!
Hana fukin can be used not only for wiping hands, but also for laying it under tableware, covering things that you want to blindfold when a sudden visitor arrives, or as a place mat.

Also, because it is a very thin fabric, it is an excellent product that dries quickly.

Sashiko is a good challenge

How was it?
Being able to have Japanese handmade items at home and make them handmade will greatly enrich your life.
It will be a fine needlework, but it is not difficult, so please give it a try.

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