Flat style – sashiko inspiration

sashiko10When I knew that I was going to have a double mastectomy and no reconstruction, I went looking for style ideas. I anticipated that my body was going to change pretty dramatically, and I was wondering if my style might need to change a bit, too. My “go to” outfit had been a solid color fit and flare dress, usually with a jacket or cardigan (on an 8-shaped body). I wondered if I would look more of an H-shape after surgery, and in fact I do. (Note – I strongly advocate that you wear whatever you want to! These are just my thoughts. : )

I searched the web (as one does these days!) for style inspiration. One of the common suggestions is to “look for gentle draping, soft ruffles, asymmetrical designs or patterns” on tops or dresses.  I was hooked by the idea of pattern on a dress bodice.



I’m a long-time sashiko fan. In part, I am drawn to Japanese design with it’s balance of simplicity and complexity. One of the ideas that has intrigued me for a long time is the pattern that morphs or is incomplete, such as the images above. What has stopped me until now? The books typically have a small sample of the pattern and you have to use graph paper and enlarge the image. However, I found a site that is offering free printable patterns! (Thespruce.com sheet one and sheet two.) That made my plan seem attainable.

Additionally, I pinned this page with a variety of tutorials at some point; it was also niggling the back of my mind.

There are many methods for transferring the sashiko design on to fabric, and I used washaway stabilizer for my project. I’m outlining the steps here:

Gather supplies

  • washaway stabilizer such as what is used in machine embroidery
  • sashiko thread and needles (mine were from Stonemountain and Daughter)
  • fabric
  • pattern to trace
  • pencil or Stabilo aquarellable “pencil”

Create a pattern


Download a pattern from thespruce.com (link above) and paste the image into MS Word. Size the image so that the circle is about 2″ across.

Determine the shape of my bodice front and back to understand where the stitching would be on the dress.







sashiko8Put tracing paper over the pattern and drew intended design, using the inspiration of incomplete patterns as a guide. (I also eliminated the straight lines in my design.)

Transferred the pattern onto the stabilizer, using the Stabilo pencil. (A regular pencil didn’t work so well.)


Stitching onto my dress

sashiko13.jpgCut out my dress and basted the sashiko pattern onto the bodice.

Used directions from Sarah as best I could to follow the rules for sashiko stitching. It was a challenge since I was stitching onto knit fabric and I chose a curved design for my first one!







Sneak peek at my back bodice


The design is tilted, but I decided to go for it. The front will be more like the traditional horizontal/vertical axis.

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