Embroidery Library

Sashiko Embroidery

Free project instructions for creating a cutie kitty doll, in-the-hoop.

Free project instructions for creating Sashiko Embroidery

Sashiko embroidery is rooted in Japanese culture and tradition. Embroidery was used to bind layers of fabric together to add extra warmth. It was also a functional and pragmatic way to repair worn areas of garments.

In machine embroidery, sashiko brings graceful symmetry and geometry to projects, while paying tribute to the Japanese tradition. This tutorial demonstrates how to use simple sashiko designs as a method of quilting.


Project Needs & Notes:

- Quilter's cotton
- Lightweight batting (we used Warm and Natural)
- 30 weight cotton thread (we used Medeira Cotona)
- Air-erase pen or other marking tool

Designs featured in this tutorial include:
- V1115, Tsuru Sashiko Square
- Or use any simple sashiko design

Free project instructions for creating a Pagoda Lantern in 3D (Lace)

First, draw a square on the fabric to the size you would like the blocks to be. Our blocks will be 8 inches by 8 inches. Leave enough excess fabric around the square so that it can be hooped.

Free project instructions for creating a Pagoda Lantern in 3D (Lace)

Mark the placement of the embroidery design. Find the center of the square by measuring and marking each side and dividing by two.

Then, draw lines connecting the marks. Where the lines meet is the center of the square. These lines will also be used for hooping.

Free project instructions for creating a Pagoda Lantern in 3D (Lace)

If you have embroidery software, print a template to use for placement. If you don't have embroidery software, you can cut a piece of paper the shape and dimensions of the design to help with placement and centering.

Poke a hole in the center of the template and align it with the center mark on the square. Make sure there is at least one inch of space between the edges of the design and the edges of the shape.


Free project instructions for creating a Pagoda Lantern in 3D (Lace)

Cut two pieces of lightweight batting and another piece of quilter's cotton. These pieces should be the same size as the piece of quilter's cotton that you marked in previous steps.

Use thicker batting to give the areas between the embroidery a raised effect. We are using two pieces of batting for this purpose.

Lay the unmarked cotton fabric down first with the batting on top. Then, place the marked cotton on top of the batting, right side up.

Free project instructions for creating a Pagoda Lantern in 3D (Lace)

Hoop all the layers together by aligning the marks on the hoop with the lines on the fabric. No stabilizer is necessary. The layered fabric and batting will provide sufficient support for the simple running stitch sashiko designs.

Free project instructions for creating a Pagoda Lantern in 3D (Lace)

Attach the hoop and load the embroidery design. Move the hoop so that the needle is directly over the center point on the fabric, and embroider the design.

We used a 75/11 needle with the 30 weight cotton thread. The 30 weight thread is thicker than 40 weight rayon or polyester, but we did not find that any changes to the thread tension settings were necessary.

Free project instructions for creating a Pagoda Lantern in 3D (Lace)

After the design has finished, cut out the shape.

Free project instructions for creating a Pagoda Lantern in 3D (Lace)

You now have a beautiful sashiko square to use for a pot holder, trivet, tote bag, or purse. Use the same technique to stitch through all the layers of a quilt!

Free project instructions for creating a Pagoda Lantern in 3D (Lace)

You'll find several different types of sashiko designs on Embroidery Library:

Simple sashiko designs are single running stitch designs. These designs can be stitched as decoration, or to quilt layers of fabric and batting together.

Free project instructions for creating a cutie kitty doll, in-the-hoop.

Complex sashiko designs retain the traditional look, but also have colorful, complex details. It is not advised that these designs be used to quilt through layers of fabric, as complex areas tamp the batting down flat.

Free project instructions for creating a Pagoda Lantern in 3D (Lace)

Applique sashiko designs combine the simple stitching of the traditional use with a raw-edge applique method. It is not advised that these designs be used to quilt through layers of fabric.

Sashiko Embroidery



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Products used in this Project: