How to do Sashiko Embroidery

To start us off our new series of Embroidery workshops for beginners, let's try Sashiko embroidery. Read on to find out how it's done and download a free Sashiko pattern to get you started.

Free sashiko patterns pdf cloudes

We’re posting some of our favourite embroidery workshops from our early issues here for you to enjoy and try some new sewing skills.

We’re all about personalising the things we wear, and Sashiko Embroidery is the perfect way to give a plain garment a bit of wow-factor. This ancient Japanese embroidery technique offers the opportunity to show off your sewing skills and subtly customise a simple item of clothing. Using a clean contrasting thread, Sashiko is effortlessly elegant, and, with Christmas on the way, it’s a clever (and quick) way to add a personal touch to shop-brought garments and gifts. Oh, and did we mention, it’s really easy to get to grips with too?

Sashiko patterns and projects for beginners

Download our Free Sashiko Embroidery pattern pdf to get started.


Sashiko Embroidery for Beginners: step-by-step

Step 1

Download our free embroidery template and trace the cloud design onto a sheet of tissue paper, using a dressmakers pencil or a pale blue pencil, as we have here. Blue is always a good colour to use as it doesn’t have the dirty appearance that a graphite pencil tends to have if any residue is picked up through stitching.

Free sashiko patterns pdf step 1

Step 2

Next, position the traced design on your fabric and tack it in place. Keep the stitches small and neat as this will help to prevent the tissue paper from moving. For larger designs, you’ll find it helpful to tack across the middle of the paper as well. Trim any excess tissue paper as necessary.

Free sashiko patterns pdf step 2

Step 3

Sashiko needles and threads are available but we used white stranded cotton and a sharp crewel needle. Starting at the base of the design, follow the outline by weaving the needle in and out of the fabric along the pencil lines, taking care not to pucker the fabric.

Free sashiko patterns pdf step 3

Step 4

Continue working across the design in a logical order. When turning corners, don’t pull the thread through completely – leave a loop on the back to prevent puckering. Finish threads by weaving them through the back of your stitches. Once complete, carefully tear away the tissue paper – hold the stitches as you do this to prevent them being pulled by the tissue paper.

Free sashiko patterns pdf step 4

Now you get hooked, you’ll be wanting to stitch Sashiko clouds on everything!


Looking to ty more embroidery stitches? Click to discover our How to do Stem stitch guide.