How do you feel about Christmas in July? I’m usually not into it, being a last-minute girl. However, sometimes, I am presented with things that change my mind. The GO! Mini Stocking Die did the trick for me. I decided it was the perfect project to show off some sashiko stitching. I love combining hand stitching projects with my AccuQuilt system. It helps me get to the fun part faster.
What is Sashiko Stitching?
Have you tried sashiko stitching? Sashiko is a traditional Japanese style of stitching. It elevates the running stitch into beautiful patterns. The simplest way to get started with Sashiko is to pick up a pre-marked panel and just start stitching. I like to get mine at Rochester Textiles because they have a great assortment and their customer service is top-notch. I prefer the pre-marked fabrics since they are so easy to just pick up and start stitching.
PRO TIP: If you want to make something that is more uniquely your own, you can choose a sashiko design and mark your fabric yourself. Indigo Niche has a great assortment of patterns you can print and mark onto your fabric. You can also find stencils to help make marking of sashiko patterns easier. I’ve used chalk and wash-away markers successfully. Just be sure to test your marking method on a small section of your fabric before you start stitching to make sure the marks can be removed.
Making the Reusable Sashiko Mini Stocking Gift Tags with Hand Embroidery
My mom is the sashiko master in my house. She started several years ago and now, she can whiz through a large panel in a single day. The sashiko panels I’m using in this project are ones she stitched up for me. I tried to get photos of her stitching them, but she is too fast. By the time I got my gear together, she was done. Both started as pre-printed panels using the Asanoha (Hemp Leaf) pattern. It is much easier to do sashiko stitching on a larger piece of fabric and cut it down to the mini stocking than it is to try to stitch on the tiny stocking.
I’m going to give you instructions for one sashiko stocking gift tag here. You will see that I made several - once you start, they are too cute to stop. They finish about 5 1/2" tall by 4" wide.
NOTE: You might notice that the names on the stocking tutorial change. I get carried away when stitching and forget to take in-progress photos.
- GO! Mini Stocking Die
- Sashiko or embroidery needle
- Wonder Clips (optional)
- Sashiko thread or perle cotton
- One 4 1/2” x 5” rectangle for the stocking front
- One 4 1/2” x 5” rectangle for stocking back
- Two 2” x 3 1/2” rectangles for the cuff
- One 4 1/2” x 5” rectangle of fusible fleece
- Two 2” x 3 1/2” rectangles of fusible fleece
1. Embellish your 4 1/2” x 5” rectangle with the sashiko stitching pattern of your choice. Stitches are typically larger on the front of the fabric than they are on the back, unlike quilting stitches where we try to keep the spacing even. Don’t worry too much about that - just try to keep the size of the stitches on the front fairly consistent.
2. Fuse the fusible fleece to the back of the piece. This will help fasten the stitches in place and prevent the stitches from unraveling when you cut it out. Be sure to follow the die's package instructions to make sure your piece is secured.
3. Place the sashiko panel on the die with the stitched side up and cut out the stocking.
4. Cut out the back of the stocking, making sure it is face down on the die (if using a print).
5. Fuse the fleece to the back of the cuff pieces and cut them out - one right side up, one right side down.
PRO TIP: I like to embroider names onto the cuff at this point. I can make the thread travel behind the letters without worrying about shadows since the fleece is there, and the fleece acts as a stabilizer. Keep your lines simple - don’t try to imitate handwriting if you are new to embroidery. Simple capital letters, squared off as needed, are easiest.
6. Layer a stocking front and back together, wrong sides together. Use Wonder Clips or pins to hold them together.
7. Blanket stitch around the outer edge of the stocking, starting at the top edge.
8. Layer the cuff pieces with the stocking, overlapping the cuff with the stocking by 1/4". The stocking should be sandwiched between the two cuff pieces. Use Wonder Clips and a pin to fasten the pieces together.
9. Blanket stitch along the outer edge of the cuff as well as along the front and back of the cuff to fasten the whole thing together.
10. Stitch along the back.
11. Stitch along the front.
12. Stitch around the cuff.
13. Take a 6” length of your perle cotton and fold it in half. Knot the loose ends together. Thread the loop into your needle, and feed it into the top of the cuff, hiding the knot between the two layers. Take a stitch to fasten the thread in place.
15. Admire your reusable gift tags!
Creating Is All About Trial & Error
Just for fun, here is my first version. I tried to do it on my sewing machine using a satin stitch. It’s always a little disappointing when my first attempt is so unsatisfactory. It just served to reinforce my plan to hand stitch the whole thing. I'm sure there is someone on the AccuQuilt team who will teach us how to do the whole thing by machine, too. I work with a great group of creators.
This is what my reusable gift tags have looked like for the past several years. The cute ones are so much better!
Here is a full sized sashiko stocking using the GO! Santa Stocking Die. Want to guess what theme I’ll be decorating with this year?
If you want to learn more about sashiko, Atsushi Futatsuya has a wealth of information.