If you have not heard of sashiko before it is a Japanese word describing embroidery frequently used to repair clothes with patches. It is simple running stitches made by hand. Sashiko is usually made with white thread on indigo fabric. I have been contemplating making a dress adorned with sashiko inspired stitching for some time.
I am frequently inspired to complete a project by the prospect of entering a competition, this time it is Dressmaker of the Year being run by the UK Sew magazine . One of the categories is upcycling, another everyday chic. Now is the time to make the dress and submit an entry.
My inspiration to make a dress out of an old curtain, dyed indigo and then hand stitched inspired by sashiko.
You can see lots of sashiko inspired projects on my Pinterest board.
Firstly to dye the rather impressive former curtain. If you have not used curtains before for dressmaking then give it a try, from a charity shop (thirft store) they are a very affordable purchase, perfect for a toile or the finished item.
I have removed the lining and prewashed the curtain before dying with a navy Dylon fabric dye – not knowing the composition of the fabric means the end colour is a little unpredictable but I love the resulting indigo colour
Next up choosing a pattern from my stash, I selected the Aisling Dress, a free pattern with August’s issue of Simply Sewing magazine.
The next stage to sew up enough of the bodice so I can hand stitch. If you are inspired to make a similar dress I suggest sewing up the areas you are going to hand stitch first so your running stitch seamlessly flows across any seams in the dress itself.
Mark rough stitch lines/design onto the dress and with tailors chalk and start stitching.
I was inspired by an image found on pinterest, using this as my inspiration for sketching out my design.
As I reached the shoulder I added in the sleeve of the dress.
This picture shows how I have been careful not to catch any of the seam allowance or the yoke lining with the hand stitching. When starting the running stitch thread I used a knot, but when finishing off the thread I threaded through the last few stitched in the back to provide a little give in the stitches.
Contemplate balance in the overall finished dress, without sashiko embroidery to the left sleeve (as you look at the picture) my design was unbalanced.
My everyday sashiko denim tote bag pairs beautifully with my new dress. Find the tutorial for the sashiko tote bag.