Accidental Sashiko

Sashiko dress

Sashiko dress

Sashiko dress

Sashiko dress

Sashiko dress

There’s a funny story behind this dress. Several months ago I got one of those “Here are all the things your stash needs!” emails from and one of the fabrics pictured caught my eye. I forget the designer (I want to say Robert Kaufman but I might be lying) but it was this beautiful chambray with lines of thread running through it. I immediately thought of fun, simple, rustic-looking summer dresses. Except they were sold out of it in like five minutes because holy crap it was beautiful. The idea of those summer dresses stuck in my head though, so after I took Copying RTW and made the flower-picking dress pattern, I decided maybe I should make my own stitched fabric. By hand.

Meanwhile, I had also come across Japanese-style mending on Pinterest, which if you aren’t familiar with, you should check out immediately because it makes me want to “mend” all of my clothes, regardless of state of wear and tear.

Anyway, those two ideas squashed together and I grabbed some cotton crochet thread and the needle with the fattest eye I could find and started stitching away at the two yards of gorgeous cotton chambray I picked up at Stone Mountain and Daughter.

It took.. forever. At least two seasons of Arrow. (salmon ladder ftw)

When I was about 86% done, I showed it to a friend, who said “Oh! Are you doing sashiko?” My response was “No, I’m just stitching.” When I was about 92% done, I showed a photo of it to another friend, who said “I can’t believe you’re sashiko-ing your own fabric!” It was around then that I figured I should probably look up what sashiko was. Whoops. And then around 95% completion, a third friend recommended a sashiko needle, which I didn’t even know existed. And lastly, when I showed up in my pants drafting class (taught by Lynda Maynard, who had also taught the Copying RTW class), Lynda started telling me all about her sashiko machine.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that this took forever and I need to look into different needle types because I also didn’t know that beading needles exists. But that’s a whole other embarrassing story.


18 thoughts on “Accidental Sashiko”

  1. When first picture popped up in my feedly list, I just stared for a few moments and thought about how I could get that fabric–could I make my own?–and then I read that you made yours!

    I’ve seen Alabama Chanin pieces that I think are gorgeous, but too artsy for me (not that my style is set in stone, but if I’m going to take on a project, I want to feel passionate about it). I’ve run across some darning on knits (tomofholland’s visible mending program) and more recently the Japanese mending, that also strike me as lovely, but a bit maximalist for me. Your dress is perfection!

    1. Thank you! Yeah, I’ve definitely seen a lot of gorgeous embroidery that looks beautiful but not wearable so this was a nice compromise.

  2. ohhhh this dress is a super pretty thing and the way you have made your own fabric is genius! also, kudos for the commitment… This has just gone into my summer to-sew list 🙂

  3. Wow! This is gorgeous – thanks for sharing!
    Just wondering about your process … did you stitch the stripes into the fabric and then cut out your dress pattern? Or did you stitch the pieces – either before or after you sewed the dress?

    1. Thanks! I cut out the pattern pieces for the bodice and then stitched the stripes on. I stuck a piece of scotch tape across and stitched across one edge to keep it mostly straight. The skirt is just two rectangles so I just stitched the whole piece of fabric and then did the gathering and attached it.

      1. brilliant! Thanks for sharing your method … excited to see your next project. Enjoy your Thanksgiving 🙂

  4. While this dress may not suit my body type, I love everything about it and may need to make one for someone else who is sew worthy. My grown up kids and spouses and fiance’s and friends were at the house last night. After dinner, Cannon needed buttons replaced on his flannel, so I sat round the table with “the kids” and stitched away. Hand stitching just seems to relax me. The act of putting a thimble on and fixing or stitching things is a source of great comfort to me. Especially after a large meal with all the kids round the dinner table. You’re beautiful and thanks for more inspiration!

    1. Aww that sounds so nice! There’s something so peaceful about sitting down with some handstitching or knitting while things happen around you. 🙂

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