Sashiko is a form of Japanese folk embroidery using basic running stitch to create geometric patterns, and it’s something that I’ve been meaning to try for ages. I found a useful resource of links and tutorials at Radiant Home Studio but mainly followed the advice at Sashiko Stitchers in my efforts to learn about the technique. Whilst I don’t actually know whether I did it ‘right’ or not I did really enjoy the method I used and the excuse to have a couple of quiet evenings in front of the TV.
First I came up with a couple of sketches for dresses with embroidered bodices. For H’s dress I took inspiration from The Florence Blog Tour that I recently took part in and used the shirt pattern as a starting point for drafting the dress. When it came to cutting out the dress, much of it’s shape was actually dictated by trying to squeeze both dresses out of 2 metres of fabric. For S’s dress I used a version of the autumn smock pattern I’d cut for her last year. The fabric I used was a very soft woven navy wool bought from Simply Fabrics in Brixton.
I decided it would be easier to embroider the bodice sections before construction, so printed off some designs, traced them on to white fusible interfacing and applied to the back of the fabric. From this point it seemed fairly simple and quick to follow the lines with running stitch, taking care not to apply too much tension to the thread. As I didn’t have any embroidery thread and was curious about Sashiko thread I found some online at The Quilt Museum Shop.
After the bodice sections were finished I used a navy cotton to face the necklines and line the bodice sections, covering up the rather beautiful but not very neat undersides. To frame the bodice sections I used continuous piping in matching colours. Both dresses are fastened using invisible zips, S’s dress has elasticated cuffs and H’s uses the cuffs from the Florence with contrasting red buttons. The dresses turned out pretty much the same as my sketches and the wool makes them lovely and warm. They go through the washing machine fine, which is just as well because the wool has a tendency to pick up fluff. Still they’re much more practical than the summer versions in off-white cotton/linen that I’m imagining…