Day three of Shibori Week is a marriage between two Japanese craft traditions—shibori and sashiko. Sashiko (or boro) is a form of decorative and functional stitching. The practice began back in the Edo period as a way to extend the lifespan of garments. If your pants were wearing thin or had a tear, it was expensive to replace them. Instead, you would use a swatch of fabric to patch or reinforce the pants and would attach it using the sashiko technique. If you search online for images of vintage pieces, you’ll see they’re practically pieces of art—showing decades of mending and stitching—and are quite beautiful.
I did my first sashiko project as part of another workshop with The Field Trip Society. Honestly, these jeans are probably the first project I ever actually finished from a workshop. I wear them all the time now too. Ever since I finished them, I’ve been searching for another worn piece of denim to mend. It’s kind of a hard thing to force.
The second time I did sashiko was as a contributor to an art project. Artist, Megumi Shauna Arai created a large scale textile that included contributions from many community members including me. I spent an couple hours with her and two other participants in the library of The Wing Luke museum, adding our unique stitches while discussing what drew us to the practice and craft in general. It was a special time and I can’t wait to see her final installation as part of the Lore Re-Imagined: Shadows of Our Ancestors exhibit that just opened.
If you’re interested in learning how to do sashiko, Purl Soho has a good article on a more refined, pattern-based method. Alternatively, if you’d like a more of a beginner’s crash course, Honestly WTF, has an easy-to-follow DIY for sashiko jeans.