A Sashiko Bathroom - and several ways to make purchased patterns 'your own'

By Susan Fletcher
sashiko and applique

There is no better way to get beauty and individual character into your home than by designing your own projects, but if you don't feel able to do that from scratch, in this blog I'm going to use Julie Burn's really beautiful sashiko and applique bathroom project to show you some easy techniques to make purchased patterns 'your own'

Let's start our discussion with her shower curtain. I thought this was rather brilliant! You can see that the pattern used for this was Sylvia Pippen's pattern 'Koi Water & Waves' (available here :-)  It makes a 19" x 31" wall hanging but Julie enlarged it, then took the top Koi and repeated it on the bottom of the design. Having done that, she also mirrored the image, connecting the waves in the center.
The piece is sashiko stitched on linen/cotton and some applique is added into areas as the pattern directs. 

sashiko stitched shower curtain

sashiko and applique shower curatian cropped photo

The next piece is a window curtain.   Again you can see how Julie used a Sylvia Pippen sashiko and applique pattern for a wall hanging as a jumping off point, adding waves, turtles and sea gulls, reorganizing where the different elements were placed, and turning the whole thing into curtains.  That is another good trick for making a pattern your own. Simply tape together some sheets of  paper until they make a big enough piece for your project. Draw the outer project (sewing) lines on it, then trace elements of your purchased pattern where you want them to be.  Below this photo is a cropped one so that you can see better the sashiko stitching around the applique.

sashiko and applique window curtain

sashiko and applique window curtain

In this piece, the bath mat, Julie altered two things to make the mat a personal design. First she used Sylvia Pippen's pattern 'Sea Turtle and Waves" twice to make two of the block the pattern is intended to make. Then she used a different pattern altogether to make a wide sashiko boarder around the turtles.  To further personalize the mat, she added sea stars and some freehand sashiko stitching.

sashiko stitched and applique shower mat

The whole effect is a beautiful and personal set of sea, water and sky imagery.

Here is a list of the techniques mentioned for using purchased patterns as tools for helping you make your own designs:

  • change the size of a purchased pattern 
  • making a mirror image of a purchased pattern
  • make repeats of a section of the pattern design
  • combine a pattern's project into another pattern 
  • combine elements of more than one purchased pattern in the same project 

Happy Sewing,