Sashiko is a hand technique originating from Japan that uses a simple running stitch, however this machine replicates the look of a running stitch done by hand. This amazing machine can do all sorts of things with this one simple stitch, however they can be a little pricey to buy. We’ve compiled 8 techniques you can easily do yourself on the sashiko machine so you know how to use every advantage it brings.
The sashiko machine ensures stitches are uniform and consistent, making it easier and faster to accomplish your project. It only has one kind of stitch and threads differently from a regular sewing machine because it only uses the bobbin thread and no top thread.
Traditionally sashiko is done with white cotton thread on indigo dyed fabric, however you can choose any colour of thread and fabric you want. With a sashiko machine, you can even do more than just decorative stitching!
You’ll want to choose a medium weight thread as the sashiko machine will double up the stitches. So if you have too heavy a thread, you’ll end up with shredding and stitch consistency problems. I’ll be demoing with two threads. The first is a 35wt thread called Silco. This is a synthetic cotton thread that’s completely lint free. The second is Konfetti, a 50wt Egyptian cotton thread.
If you love the look of hand quilting but don’t have the time or patience to quilt an entire quilt by hand, you can do it with the sashiko machine instead. This is also a great solution for anyone with arthritis in their hands. The sashiko machine gives you the look of hand quilting, but at ten times the speed!
You can use the sashiko machine for raw edge appliqué. This is a simple but beautiful way to appliqué your pieces down with a simple running stitch and combines the traditional look of sashiko with your appliqué project.
The sashiko machine is perfect for quickly adding trims to clothing or home décor items, with the advantage of giving it the hand stitched look. I like to add it to sleeve cuffs, collars, bags, or pillows.
It’s really easy to do couching without the need for a couching foot like a regular sewing machine requires, however it will look a little different. Place the ribbon or yarn you want to couch down horizontally across the needle and take one or two stitches, then pull it over to the other side of the needle and take another stitch or two. Continue this process to finish couching it down!
Another method of couching with the sashiko machine that creates a different look is by braiding two threads back and forth in front of the needle. Take your yarn or ribbon and place the center of it in front of the needle so you’re holding both of the ends in your fingers. Take one or two stitches to secure it, then weave both ends opposite across the front of the needle and take another one or two stitches. Continue doing this and you’ll end up with a woven couched thread.
Using organza or another similar lightweight fabric, you can create a flower by scrunching up the fabric and stitching over it so that the edges flare up. Take a piece of fabric, about 5 inches wide and 25 inches long, depending on how large you want the flower to be. Position it along the centre of the fabric and push it up against the needle before taking a few stitches. Continue doing this while slowly turning the fabric clockwise. You’ll end up with a beautiful fabric flower that’s perfect for decorating a birthday party, or upcoming baby or wedding shower!
You can easily add a decorative pleat on a piece of clothing or home décor item using the sashiko machine. Position your fabric where you want the pleat to fall from and push the fabric up against the needle. Take a few stitches to secure it and continue to press and stitch as you sew straight down. The result is a beautiful gathered pleat.