Made In Japan

I’m going to kill four birds with one stone today.

Which means…  I’m linking up this garment to four link parties.


1. “Roots Sewing Series sew along” hosted by Elegance and Elephants

2. “Sew All 26” hosted by nobigdill, “O” is for “Origin”

3. Kids Clothes Week

4. Project Run and Play Week 4 “Signature Style” (I will add on next Monday)

Oh, how convinience!

First, I had been thinking about joining “Roots Sewing” series. If you don’t know about that, it is ongoing sewing series hosted by Heidi of Elegance and Elephants to showcase several bloggers’ cultural inheritance called, Roots.

I thought to sew Haori, a jacket to wear on Kimono. But I changed my mind, cause both Kimono and Haori are not worn daily nowadays in Japan any more. It’s just for some special occasions though I love them.

I didn’t want to make too special garment for my daughter, I wanted to sew something she can wear daily and still represents our country, Japan…

I started from fabric, what is most common fabric from Japan? Yes, naniIro. Luckily, I had some leftover naniIro in my stash so I decided to use it. Next, the pattern. Of course I chose a pattern from my Japanese Sewing book collection. I used Dress G pattern from this book, Oshare Ga Suki Na Onnanoko No Fuku.

I wanted to add some touches to that dress. The original version used vintage ribbon for neck casing but I didn’t have any ribbons wide enough.

So. That’s how these “Sashiko” embroidered neck casings were born.

What the heck is “Sashiko”?

Sashiko  is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) from Japan. Traditionally used to reinforce points of wear, or to repair worn places or tears with patches, this running stitch technique is often used for purely decorative purposes in quilting and embroidery. The white cotton thread on the traditional indigo blue cloth gives sashiko its distinctive appearance, though decorative items sometimes use red thread. (Wikipedia)


Through googling “Sashiko”, I happened to find a tutorial (and a kit) on The Purl Bee. If you are interested in Sashiko, you can check this out.

Well, let’s get back to my sewing.


Original dress has 5cm (2 inches) wide ribbons aroung the neck opening. So I cut 5cm bias strips from Essex linen blend fabric because I knew they wouldn’t frey without neating. And I drew the sashiko pattern on them. I used a pattern from my Japanese book about hand-stitching and modified it to fit the widths of my bias strips. Since this pattern is composed with same size circles, I cut a circle in the size I wanted to be from a cardstock and used it to draw the pattern.

Yes. Since all Sashiko pattern is composed with simple geometric shapes, once you understand the pattern, you can draw the pattern by yourself!

I didn’t have any plan to do sashiko before then, so I didn’t have any notions to do that. I just used a regular hand emproibery needle and thread and it worked out.

So. I started hand stitch Sashiko almost for the first time in my life ( I have a vague memory I did it once when I was in junior high school in Japan, but not so sure). I don’t do hand stitch often, so it was not so good at first, then I got better and finally I had fun doing it.

I know this is not perfect at all, but yet I’m so satisfied with the result. Isn’t it still beautiful?


The dress is simple so it took longer to do Sashiko than sewing a dress. And attaching sashiko bias casings to the neck opening was tricky. The neck opening is sandwitched in between two neck casings. I only did sashiko for outer casings.

One thing I changed from original version was lengthening the sleeves. In the book, it has short sleeves, but since it is winter here now, I wanted to make them longer. I just lengthened the sleeve pattern.


I (almost) perfectly matched the pattern on the pockets.


Sewing this dress was so much fun. I searched about traditional Japanese clothes through the process and got so many inspirations. I couldn’t include this time, but I want to make some Haori inspired cardigan and modern style Monpe (I know these words don’t make sense for most of you guys!) in near future!

Living in the other country than your original country makes you rediscover your origin, I think. It was so true for me. In this four years which I have lived here in the US, I rediscovered Japan and Japanese in me.

I really appreciate Heidi that she gave me this opportunity to look back my roots and make a garment to represent it.

And a great thing is… A loves this dress!


And it perfectly looks great on her.


Thanks for reading this long post, again!

Happy Sewing!



One thought on “Made In Japan

  1. […] had made the dress which originally had the ribbon around neck but changed it to linen pieces and added Sashiko stitch […]

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