Visible mending – darning and sashiko

Visible mending has been practised in Japan for centuries and is know as sashiko – literally translated as ‘little stabs’. It fits with the Japanese concept of wabi sabi, seeing beauty in imperfection, and much like Kintsugi (ceramic repair) the result can often be more special than the original.

Some pieces of clothing are hard to part with – be it a pair of jeans that have developed the perfect patina or a favourite jumper that has comforted you through uneasy times. If they were well made and cared for then instead of throwing them out on the first appearance of holes consider repairing them.

Sashiko and darning work done by @karinatjones

Sashiko is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) from Japan that started out of practical need in the early 16th century. Historically this technique was used to reinforce points of wear or tear with patches using white cotton thread on traditional indigo dyed clothes.

Darning is a stitching technique that can be applied to repair holes or to enforce worn areas in the woven or knitted items using a needle and thread alone. Both darning and Sashiko adopt the concept of visible mending and you can use the same type of needles and threads for both stitching techniques.

The darning mushroom by Hikaru Noguchi provides a stable surface and makes it easy to see the progress of your darning work. She innovated the first standing style darning mushroom which fits naturally in your hand and is just the right weight for hand stitching.  The darning stick also by Hikaru Noguchi is great for items with small areas like gloves. Both made of beech, hard-turned in Japan.

A Sashiko needle set by Daruma-ito contains four different needles that vary in length and thickness and a needle threader. Made of steel wire, in Japan.

High-quality Sashiko threads by Daruma-ito, come in two different thicknesses – one made of 4 threads and another made of 6 threads twisted together. 100% cotton, made in Japan.

High-quality sewing threads by Daruma-ito, come in two different thicknesses. 100% cotton, made in Japan. The sewing threads by Daruma-ito (translates to ‘Daruma-thread’ in English) used to be staple items that could be found in houselhold sewing boxes across Japan. Founded in 1901, Daruma-ito, with its iconic Daruma logo, remains popular amongst Japanese handicraft lovers and make a wide range of high quality threads and other sewing items today.

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