Sashiko Thread Braids Tutorial

Sashiko Thread Braids Tutorial

Keeping your Sashiko thread collection organized and ready to use is easy with Sashiko thread braids. Once assembled, the braids give you easy access to pre-cut strands of thread that are the perfect length for stitching. 

Sashiko thread is a soft cotton thread commonly used in traditional Japanese Sashiko embroidery. Olympus brand Sashiko thread is color-safe and will not bleed when washed, so it can also be used for big stitch quilting or hand embroidery projects. Unlike standard 6-strand embroidery floss, Sashiko thread is a single, non-divisible strand. It has a thickness similar to size 5 perle cotton, but does not have the sheen commonly found other embroidery threads.  My favorite way to organize my Sashiko thread collection is with thread braids. They are easy to make and will keep your thread tangle-free and ready to use.

sashiko supplies


sashiko thread skein

Open up the skein and gently shake it out to find the small piece of thread that ties the skein into a loop.

sashiko thread top

This will be the top of your braid. Grab your washi tape and place a piece of tape over the top of this loop to secure the skein onto a flat surface.

sashiko thread braid step 1

Now find the opposite end of the loop and snip through all the strands.  This creates a bundle of equal length strands held together by the small piece of thread that is beneath your washi tape.

Snipping the Thread Loop

sashiko braid step 2

Divide the strands into 3 groups and begin braiding the strands together.

Braiding the thread

Work your way all the way to the bottom of the strands. Because of the matte finish of the cotton thread, the braid will hold its shape without needing to tie off the end of the braid. So, just let the finished braid tail hang freely.

sashiko thread braid

To use your thread braid, pull a single strand out from the top of the braid with one hand, while holding the braid in your other hand.

Pulling a strand of thread

Gently tug on the single strand to pull it loose from the rest of the braid.

needle and thread

You are now ready to thread your needle and start stitching!

sashiko Bee sampler

I keep my braids on a large O-ring that is easy to store in a project bag or hang on a hook in my sewing room.

sashiko thread ring

Sashiko embroidery is one of my favorite “on the go” projects. You do not need an embroidery hoop to do it, so your supplies are easy to carry in almost any bag. The repetitive and rhythmic nature of the stitches is rather  meditative and relaxing too. If you are ready to give it a try, visit the Sashiko section of the shop to pick from a wide range of pre-printed samplers and kits.



1 comment

  • Matthews Carol

    I had put off watching this but finally did! Thanks so much for making this so simple…..I was expecting confusing!!!! But should have known you would make it simple. Can this technique be used on the crewel wool that comes like the Sashiko? Just wondered since I am using this wool from your store for some embroidery couching.
    Thanks again for everything you bring to my crafting and my life!!!! Carol M.

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