First Attempt at Visible Mending Using Sashiko Embroidery

At some point my eldest daughter bought some denim shorts for cheap at the charity shop. She wanted to try something with them which apparently involved making a hole. It didn't work out how she'd hoped, perhaps because it was a stretch fabric, and she went to throw them away. Me being me, I hung onto them for future use of the fabric, because they weren't very worn and the fabric was still in good condition. Then recently, a friend sent me an article on sashiko for visible mending. I immediately got excited, went to hunt through my box of old jeans to give it a go and came across those shorts. I knew they wouldn't fit my eldest any more and even if they did, she probably wouldn't like the visible mending style, so I got my youngest to try them on for size and they fit. She was in need of some new shorts, so that was a bonus!


Sashiko is a simplistic embroidery technique which uses a running stitch. It's a much faster hand stitching method than some of the more complex embroidery, but can achieve some quite striking patterns. It was commonly used, years ago, by the poorer Japanese to mend clothes, often multiple times. Today it's also used for decorative purposes.

I didn't want to start with something too complex, but I wanted something a little more interesting than basic. I decided on a grid pattern with crosses in a different colour. Ideally I'd have liked a different shade of denim for the patch, but because the fabric was stretch I felt it better to use a stretch patch and the only stretch denim I had was a matching shade. I pinned the patch in place behind the main hole, making sure it would also include a smaller hole above it. No point in tacking it in place, because that's what the sashiko stitching would do anyway.

The instructions on sashiko say to mark a grid out, but I thought I'd be okay doing it by eye with such a simple pattern. I quickly realised that I'd at least need to mark some lines for spacing.


As the pattern progressed I ran into a couple of problems. The first was that the elasticated threads going across kept pulling the hole in tight and making it awkward to keep the patch in place. So I cut the bulk of the threads out. The second problem was my overconfidence that I could do this by rack of eye. As the pattern progressed, small misjudgments earlier on became larger problems and by the time I was approaching the bottom I realised that if I continued, then the grid was going to look completely off.


There was no way I was going to unpick the lot, so I decided to stop the grid there and add a different embellishment to finish it off. The great thing about this is that it's a fun look, so it doesn't have to be perfect.


IMG_20200411_212058.jpgStarting the crosses

IMG_20200411_212142.jpgAlmost there...

IMG_20200411_212217.jpg...and it's done!


You can also find The Miniature Smallholding on:



That looks cool. I wouldn't have the patience - How long does something like that take you?

I would do it while I was watching my daughter at gymnastics, so it probably took a good few hours. This was a simpler pattern, my recent ones have been a bit more time consuming.
I'm not great at just sitting watching without doing things, so this keto my hands busy in front of the tv too.

so this keto my hands busy in front of the tv too.

on a diet? :D

Darn swype! I really need to delete that from learned words. Happens every time I try to write "keep."

Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

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