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Patchwork Sashiko Tips & Techniques: "Pulling" the needle through the fabric

Those of you that have read my Patchwork Sashiko Instruction Booklet may recall a tip that I included in the section describing how to perform the straight Sashiko stitching. The tip reads, "Focus on pulling the fabric away from the needle instead of pulling the needle out of the fabric." Is this some kind of magic trick?? Isn't the result the same? Well, the second, to the first question, it's not magic :)

In this post I'll describe what this means in more detail AND show you exactly what it looks like. It's a small difference that adds up to a big difference in alleviating stress on your hands while stitching. All the details about how to perform my Patchwork Sashiko Method can be found in my Patchwork Sashiko Instruction Manual PDF download or printed copy available in my Etsy store. Let's get started!

Bring on the folds!

One of the key elements of Sashiko stitching is loading up your needle with multiple folds of fabric before pulling the needle through to create the stitches. Below, I'm starting with a small patchwork sample for demonstration. The second photo below shows the folds of fabric on the needle just before the needle is "pulled" through. The word "pulled" is in quotes because although this is how the motion is typically described, this is not actually what I do as you'll see in the video!

It may seem intuitive to pull the needle through the fabric, but I've found that this can put a lot of strain on the fingers because of the pressure created trying to grip and pull on the needle. And the silicone thimbles I use often slip on the needle instead of gripping it. (I wear the thimbles to protect my fingers rather than gripping the needle) So, what do you do??

Instead of keeping the fabric stationary and pulling the needle away from the fabric, keep the needle stationary and pull the fabric away from the needle. If there's a lot of folds on the needle, try focusing on the initial folds first to get it started and loosen up the folds. This seems to put far less pressure on my hands and makes stitching easier! This is especially helpful if you have a large project. See photos below.

Still not sure how this works? Watch the video below and turn up the sound for commentary!

I hope you'll try this technique and see how it works for you! I truly believe that these small changes in process can help make our hobbies, crafts, passions more enjoyable.

Have a project of your own that you created with my Patchwork Sashiko Kits or Instruction Booklet? I'd love to see it! Post it on Instagram and tag me! @banjoflannel

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Want to get your own kit and follow along? Find all my Patchwork Sashiko Kits and downloadable Instruction Manual in my Etsy Shop.

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Do you fold your fabric edges under before you sew?


Sheila Faulkner
Sheila Faulkner
Aug 13, 2022

Would like to order a kits

Sheila Faulkner
Sheila Faulkner
Aug 13, 2022
Replying to

Yes. Now

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