Extend the use of your valued clothes with Sashiko repair inspired by the traditional Japanese practice of reworking and repairing textiles through piecing, patching and stitching to give them new life.
Instead of contributing to the huge environmental impact of the fast fashion industry, we can extend the lifespans of the clothes we already own by repairing them. The beauty of Sashiko is that it is a decorative form of reinforcement stitching and gives clothing a distinct new look. It is a practice that originated in 17th century Japan as a way to render clothing stronger and warmer.
The stitch used is a simple running stitch, traditionally using white cotton thread. The visual effect of white thread on indigo blue cloth (a common textile worn by Japanese farmers/labourers) is particularly striking and is said to recall snow falling. Not only was Sashiko stitching used to reinforce and repair items of clothing; it could also be used to create new items of clothing out of scraps of fabric. Frugalism was a part of everyday life in pre-industrial Japan out of pure necessity.
Now that we live in a world where cheap clothing is plentiful, the art of repair and restoration no longer seems necessary. However, buying more than we need and throwing out what can still be used is highly polluting and a tremendous waste of resources. Techniques like Sashiko show us that taking care of our clothing can be beautiful, and follows a tradition of respecting the things we have instead of always wanting more.
TOAST has introduced Sashiko classes for its customers, who can bring in purchased garments to the shop to learn the art of repair with Molly Martin. These classes are free and all dates and times can be found here.
Blog post by Jessica Edney