Making Clothing New Again Through Sashiko Stitching

This is an upcycling project I was thinking about all summer and did not have a breakthrough on until two weeks ago, shortly after the French knot obsession began. The piece of clothing is a favourite red coat I bought secondhand over ten years ago, and it has been sitting unworn and in need of repair for the past few years. And then many years passed….

I love this coat too much to simply throw it out, so I’ve had it in mind to get it repaired (and will when the stitching is done). With the advent of sashiko stitching in my life I started thinking about adding a design to the surface, and bought different coloured embroidery threads earlier in the summer with the intention of starting the project. But then I was completely stuck on coming up with a design. I’ve been using a plastic template of concentric arches to draw the lines using a frixion ball point pen, and then adding tiny stitches in blue thread.

Sashiko stitching

I recently completed the first part of the work by adding six of these designs around the coat’s hem. The next phase will be to add more designs around the sleeves, and maybe the pockets. It looks so good!

Sashiko stitching

A video posted by Paper artist (@rachael_ashe) on

I shot a short timelapse video as I worked on the final series of arches around the hem. I wish I could stitch this quickly in real life (but I always think that when I watch a timelapse of my work).