Sashiko Bag

Our local quilt guild had a program in September with a workshop on making a Sashiko bag. I had not tried this before, so I signed up to take the class. It turned out to be a really fun way of doing handwork that finishes quickly. The needles and threads are large, making it easy to see and do. The stitches are worked by rocking the needle in and out over several stitches, then pulling the thread through. In general, the lines are geometric, but really, anything goes.

One challenge is to stitch the rows in such a way as to minimize tie-offs, starts and stops.

I stitched out the design in just a couple of Sunday stitching sessions while watching football games.

Next was to dig out the class instructions again, and finish the bag. The kit had the backing, lining and cording. I pressed the bag pieces flat first.

Then, the outside panels were put right sides together with an inside panel, and sewn across the top.

Then, after pressing those seams in opposite directions, the front and back are put right sides together and sewn leaving an opening for turning at the bottom, and about one inch at the top on both side seams for the draw cording. I marked those spots with pins.

Turn the bag right side out, press the top seam well, and mark two lines for sewing above and below the openings on the side seams. Stitch those lines to create a channel. I had to adjust the opening a bit by taking out a few stitches, as I didn’t measure precisely. Easy to fix after the channel is sewn so the side seams won’t open farther than I want them.

Next, the little bits were sewn into tubes, then folded in half to enclose the raw edges. These will become flower petal accents for the cording.

Using a bodkin, the cording is threaded in the channel, past the opening on the other side and back out through the same opening.

Then I do the same on the other side with the second piece of cording.

Put the flower petals on the cording with the raw edge towards the ends of the cords.

Tie knots in the cords. Thread a needle with quilting thread, and do a gathering running stitch around the raw edge of the petals.

Pull the gathers tight, wrap the petal a couple of times with thread, then stitch through the knot to hold it in place well.

Fold the petal over the knot to hide the raw edges. I really like this extra touch.

And there it is, all done! Now to decide what to use it for. The size is nice, about 8×10 inches. It could hold threads and supplies for portable projects, or small items for travel.

It is addicting as a hand work project, so more will be in my plans. I got an ebook of Sashiko + Color; 23 Bright & Stylish Accessories to Stitch so now I have more designs to play with. The book has lots of ideas, and I think my stash of perle cottons will work great for bringing some color to the projects. C&T Publishing has several great books with Sashiko Stencils and Ideas.

Have you tried Sashiko? Do you enjoy handwork? Share your handwork projects, either finished or in progress, in our Facebook Friends of From My Carolina Home group this week!

17 thoughts on “Sashiko Bag

  1. Joan Sheppard

    Beautiful. Like most Asian things, calligraphy, art, sewing, the point is to make it so perfect that it is unidentifiable from “perfect”. I tried once and made a pocket for a shirt. that was all I could manage. But it’s a nice “sit by the fire” project. Love the bell ends of the ties. Really lovely. Thanks

  2. this is truly adorable…. and fancy
    I love it, Carole
    I have never tried sashiko but years ago a quilt club friend made zip bags with swatches and all of the supplies to try it. So sweet. I do not know where that bag is, but I could try it one day. My hand sewing has never been stellar. I guess I just need more practice and patience too.
    This bag is really sweet

  3. sashiko is very like the way I do hand quilting except I use a smaller needle and the thread is not as thick. Once you get into the movement it is fun to do

  4. I love that touch on the handle! I have done sashiko and agree that it is fun and quick. I do have a few hand projects around here, but I am making a mental note of the finishing technique you used with this bag. Looking forward to seeing more from you soon.

  5. Mary

    I have done some sashiko needlework which once done was folded nicely and put back in its wrapping and right now I will have to find it!! I love doing hand embroidery and most hand stitching but I didn’t enjoy doing sashiko. Why? I don’t know. Because the results are good.
    I will have to find my stitched pieces and do something with them instead of leaving them lie unloved.
    I like the finishing touch on your handles to cover the knots, I will have to store that away for another day.
    Now to find the sashiko that’s carefully wrapped somewhere!!

  6. Yes, I have tried this. I made two place mats using sashiko at a class a few years ago. We traced around a coin to mark our design. As you say, a nice easy technique and so quick.

  7. Julie

    Very pretty. One of our club members brought in her collection of sashiko blocks & discussed the process with us. Each block was a different design. I wonder if she was planning a sampler quilt.

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