In 2012 I embarked on a mission to make a Sashiko Quilt and this was the result:

Sashiko Quilt

Sashiko detail

Why did I decide to make a Sashiko quilt? There were three reasons:
1. I saw the lovely shiny Japanese fabrics stacked up my local quilt shop and thought, "aren't those lovely!".
2. We were about to have a Japanese exchange come and stay with us for three weeks, and later in the year my son would be going to Japan for three weeks.
3. I thought it would be fun to experiment with the hand stitching on the dark panels.

Sashiko Quilt

I didn't realise how mathematically challenging it would be, but I am an accountant, so I just pulled out my calculator and graph paper and managed just fine.

Here's how I went about making my sashiko quilt:

- I chose a simple pattern with quite big squares for the shiny Japanese fabrics, so I could still see them easily in the finished quilt. I chose a range of the dark indigo fabrics.
- I started to piece the quilt into sections of about 12 blocks. Each of the individual blocks measures 8.75" x 8.75" when finished. I knew I wanted to do the sashiko before the whole quilt was pieced together, but I also knew that the dark indigo blocks needed to be pieced before I did the sashiko so I could stitch to the very edges of them.
- I used library books and the internet to research sashiko patterns. I found lots of designs that I liked, but I had to scale them to fit my blocks.

Some of the sashiko patterns I used in my quilt

Navy blocks are 8.75" x 8.75" finished

- I used tailor's chalk to draw grids on the dark indigo squares to map out where the designs would sit.
- I went over the chalk marks with the sewing machine because they were rubbing off too easily.
- I hand stitched the Sashiko patterns between the grid lines with Ecru DMC Perle 8. (Sashiko thread is expensive in New Zealand and I knew I would need alot.)
- I pulled out all of the grid lines I'd made with machine stitching.

- Once all of the hand stitching was done, I joined all the sections together and formed the quilt.
- I had quilted simple grid lines and diagonal lines through the shiny blocks and left the sashiko blocks as they were. I didn't want to distract from the sashiko stitching.

The quilt on our bed

The backing, and label of course!

I'm really pleased with how this quilt turned out. It has wool batting in it so is my warmest quilt and we use it in the winter.

The facts:
Each of the navy blocks measures 8.75" x 8.75" finished.
I used ecru Perle 8 for the sashiko stitching.
I did all of the sashiko before I made the quilt sandwich.
The quilt has wool batting.
The finished quilt measures 62" x 80".


ES said...

amazing quilt! so beautiful!

myBearpaw said...

Love this quilt Wendy! Fabulous idea to mix the Sashiko with the Japanese fabrics. It's really beautiful, well done!

belarmina said...


Carla A Few Of My Favorite Things said...

Wendy, This is spectacular! I love that you explained how you attacked this project. I like the idea of making the grid lines with your sewing machine! This is definitely a great way to show off your stitching which looks fabulous!

HistorianMom said...

Thanks for the lovely pictures (I am Lois from "Celebrate Hand Quilting," the one who asked about sourcing the Japanese prints).

Unknown said...

Wow! Beautiful work Wendy! I've always wanted to try Sashiko...& I have lots of Asian prints, hmmm...

HiggiSue said...

Beautiful work Wendy. Very inspiring.

Wendy @ Wendysquiltsandmore said...

Thank you very much Virginia and Sue.

Unknown said...

This is so beautiful! I especially love the clam shells!

COLLEEN said...

Thank you very much. I have been looking for directions like these. How perfect!

Kat said...

Wendy, Have you used simple sashiko to actually quilt the layers? I love the way you handled this project. I cannot tell but it looks like the actual quilted layers are put together with machine stitching? I do small sashiko work but am working on a lap quilt and would like to use sashiko to quilt it.

Wendy @ Wendysquiltsandmore said...

Hello. The sashiko blocks were stitched before I joined the top up. The sashiko does NOT go through to the back. I did simple hand quilting once the top was joined up. The quilting is with dark thread so doesn't show up in photos. In fact I didn't quilt in the sashiko blocks because I didn't want to distract from the decorative sashiko. But just experiment and do what works for you.

Shanthi said...

Hi Wendy, I love your sashiko quilt and was inspired to do the same. Did you make a border or just binding? What s the width of your binding? Thanks

Wendy @ Wendysquiltsandmore said...

Hi Shanthi. I didn't add a border on this quilt because it was already big enough. I cut my binding at 2.25" and folded it double before applying it. I hope that helps.