Last year I started running some Sashiko Embroidery workshops which have gone down an absolute storm with the locals of East Lothian and beyond. I first fell in love with sashiko in 2016 when I came across it after watching the documentary The True Cost and coming across the organisation Fashion Revolution. Sashiko embroidery is an ancient Japanese embroidery technique used to repair, restore and reinforce cloth. It is a beautiful technique that creates visible mends which make a feature out of the repair. I love the simplicity of the technique and that all you need is a needle, thread and a bit of time. The technique itself is actually really simple, just a running stitch repeated to create patterns which can be quite intricate or left minimal.
The above 2 photos are one of my younger workshop participants who was proudly wearing their mended jeans to the Makers Market run by Village Green Home last Christmas. I am so delighted so many people have been wanting to come to this workshop to repair their clothes. There is something about sitting in a circle with people you don’t know, sitting sewing and repairing your clothes. In our current culture we have lost so many of these skills which in days gone by, would have been passed down through the family. Gone are the days when your granny teaches you how to knit, bake or sew. Well the slow fashion community is here to bring it all back!
The benefits of repairing our clothes –
Repairing our clothes has so many benefits, it keeps our clothes in circulation longer which is great for the planet. WRAP Research shows it’s estimated that by extending the life of garment by just 9 months, you reduce its water, waste and carbon footprints by 20-30%. Mending garments reduces the need for new clothes to be purchased, another win for Mother Earth, it connects us to our minds and hands as we shut off everything else going on around us whilst we sew. We all know how crafting like sewing has many benefits for our mental wellbeing, not to mention the feeling of satisfaction once you have completed your mend and you can wear your repaired garment! Another bonus is it’s a great way to stick it to capitalism and connect with the circular economy. Spending some time repairing your garments will also bring out the creative in you, even those who think they haven’t got a single creative bone in their body will feel inspired after spending some time with a needle and thread.
A lot of people who come to my workshops find sashiko embroidery extremely meditative, which is why it is so good for our mental wellbeing. (It will also keep you off your phone as your hands and mind are concentrated on sewing and we all know less screen time works wonders for our brains!) One of my favourite parts of my Sashiko Embroidery Workshops is when the room falls silent as everyone becomes immersed in their sewing. Our world is so noisy these days, with phones pinging non stop it can be really hard to shut out the noise, so when the room goes silent I take it all in. My second favourite part is at the end when everyone lays their mends on the table and we see how different everyone’s work has turned out. It’s so inspiring!
Fancy joining us for the next Sashiko workshop? My next Sashiko workshop is at Steampunk on Wednesday 19th April, book your spot here. Below are details of a gorgeous retreat afternoon I am doing in collaboration with one of my favourite yoga teachers, Laura from Interoception Yoga.
Join me for an afternoon of Yoga + Sashiko
I am co-hosting a mini retreat with Laura from Interoception Yoga on June 3rd 2023 in the enchanting Dirleton Kirk Hall. We are hosting an afternoon of yoga and sashiko called “Move, Make, Meditate”. The day will consist of gentle movement, slow stitching and guided meditation. Ikigai refers to a state of wellbeing that arises from devotion to activities one enjoys, that also bring a sense of fulfilment. If you would like to find out more about this session and book a spot on this gorgeous afternoon retreat, click here.
To learn more about the art of sashiko embroidery I highly recommend checking out a website called Upcycled Stitches which has a plethora of information and videos about the history and art of sashiko – https://upcyclestitches.com/.