I have been adding sashiko stitching to many of my new pieces and I love the way it looks!
Sashiko is an elegant and simple stitch that dates back to the 1600's.
The simplest stitch in sewing — the running stitch — is also the most versatile. This was my first lesson in needle and thread, this practical technique can lend a stylish touch to almost any textile in your home. All it takes is a little imagination. I think the addition of this stitch really adds a "handmade" quality to my work.
Many have asked why do I spend so much time stitching the fabric, then dyeing the fabric, then removing the stitching only to go back and add more stitching when I am finished. By combining threads and fabrics in a variety of colors and textures, experimenting with the scale of the stitches, and playing with their spacing, you can create an array of effects and add an entire layer of new design to the fabric. It is just another little signature item that I hope people will appreciate.
Currently I have only been using sashiko to outline my table runners, but now that I have discovered that by drawing my designs onto a lightweight fusible interfacing before ironing onto my fabric, I can stitch anything I want. I can design my own contemporary patterns or use traditional Japanese patterns.
I am also loving the way my fabrics look after stitching and before the dye process- I love the textured effects I am seeing. I just purchased a great book called The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff. I am visioning new tucks and pleats and shirring and gathering in my new work to add the textural detail I love. many of my old seamstress techniques coming back as an art form. I can't wait to experiment!