Paul Smith on The way to Sew Patches in a Conventional Japanese Sew

Paul Smith on How to Sew Patches in a Traditional Japanese Stitch

Within the newest installment of our Designer D.I.Y. sequence, discover ways to breathe new life into previous garments with a traditional sashiko sew.

What to do with a beloved jacket during which the elbows have gone or a shirt with frayed cuffs? The British designer Sir Paul Smith, identified for his sharp fits and signature rainbow stripes and who’s celebrating 50 years in style, thinks it is best to look to a sartorial resolution handed down by means of a number of generations of Japanese laborers.

“These days of extra and extra, extra, extra, I’m typically reminded of my pricey mother who at all times used to darn socks or elbow tears,” Mr. Smith mentioned. “Once I first began touring to Japan within the 1980s, I discovered a few conventional, useful sort of embroidery — the sashiko sew. As we speak it strikes me as a beautiful methodology that can be utilized for darning decoratively within the fashionable world.”

In his early journeys to Japan, Mr. Smith purchased many samples of indigo blue-dyed work put on with distinctive white stitching that had been worn by rice area laborers.

“The employees would restore their garments utilizing sashiko stitching over and over to make garments each stronger and hotter,” he mentioned, including that there have been myriad totally different geometric sashiko embroidery types.

Sashiko, which interprets from Japanese into English as “little stabs,” emerged in Japan within the 17th century. Generally it entails placing two or extra layers of material collectively and stitching with a operating sew to create small pockets of air, which lure heat. Or you may merely create a weave that repairs a tear by doing stitches that sit very shut collectively.


Lay the garment flat in your working house. Place your patch of fabric on prime of the tear. With scissors, lower the fabric to measurement if vital, leaving a margin of at the very least 1.5 inches across the circumference of the tear, after which pin the patch into place.


Thread and knot your sashiko needle. Begin to sew alongside the primary seam of your patch. Guarantee that the knot is on the within of the patch for the primary sew and that it goes by means of each the garment and transplant patch. In accordance with Mr. Smith, the sashiko sew itself could be a easy operating sew and may run horizontal or vertically.

Depart a slight hole (say, 1 / 4 inch ) between the stitches to create a warp and a weft. Put as many stitches in your needle as you discover snug, then gently pull the needle by means of the material, ensuring it doesn’t pucker. Cease when you could have completed the primary row of stitches.


The precise sample of the sashiko stitches is as much as you. Many ornamental stitching types and geometric samples will be discovered on-line. In a single easy risk, the stitching runs in symmetrical woven rows throughout your entire patch.

Leaving a spot of about half an inch between every row, repeat Step 2 till the transplant patch is absolutely affixed onto the garment. Use a ruler, if useful, to chart straight strains.


Attempt to work as exactly and as evenly as you may, however bear in mind, there isn’t any particular rule as to how sashiko ought to look. Modify the size of your stitching relying on the thickness of your supplies. Denim, for instance, requires larger stitches. Cotton is a neater patch cloth for rookies.

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