How to Make a Sashiko Bath Mat

By Susan Fletcher
sashiko bath or shower mat

Here is a functional use for your sashiko stitching, plus a backing and quilting sashiko hack of sorts :-)

Before there was pre-quilted quilt batting, (or before I knew there was, is what I really mean) I made this sashiko stitched 24" x 36"  Lotus Blossoms Floating in Diamond Waves bathmat. 

There have been questions about it, so here is the story:

Sashiko Stitched Bath Mat

First I stitched, washed and pressed the sashiko top. 

Then I thought for awhile about what makes a good bathmat.

And I thought "Nothing wipes up water faster than a thick old towel :-D" so I cut a thick old towel to the same size as the sashiko stitched fabric.

Then I concluded the that I wouldn't need an inner layer, the towel would be enough thick enough, and that did away with the need to closely quilt the layers together. 

I put the sashiko cloth right side up over the towel, pinned them together and

a sashiko bathmat backed with old bath towel

machine stitched through both layers along the top of the diamond waves very close (but not on) the sashiko stitching. I did the same around the outer edges of the lotus 'pond' area. I used a thread that matched the blue top fabric, and that was fine as the towel was also blue, but if it had been a different colour I would have matched my bobbin thread to the towel colour.  Try using a zipper foot on your machine if you have one, it will be easier to get closer to the sashiko stitching, but the regular foot will work fine if its all you have. What doesn't work so well (tho I used it anyway) is the walking foot. It snags the sashiko stitching, but with care it can be done.

After that I cut a binding strip wide enough to cover the raw edges and turn under (likely 2 1/2 or 3") and used it to cover the raw edges.

This mat was made in 2007 and has been used, and put through the washer and dryer enough times that I am surprised it isn't showing more wear. True it is in 'the adults' bathroom :-)  Anyway, my point is sashiko is functional.

I used Olympus sashiko thread, 20 meter skeins, white for this. The fabric is just a good quality cotton. And I can't help thinking that this would be a nice way to use one of the pre-printed mixed design sashiko panels! They are a firm cotton fabric and pretty perfect size (24" x 44"). You could cut to 24" x 36" and have 10" left to make some matching small thing for your bathroom. You could cut strips of the leftover sashiko and stitch them as borders on some towels. 

Here is another sashiko bath or shower mat, this one my my talented niece Julie Burns.  She used the sashiko as a border area around her applique. I love this idea! You can see her whole sashiko decorated bathroom in this blog, click here.

Julie's sashiko shower mat

Last notes: old worn bath towels are apt to have good areas along the sides and at the top and bottom where you can cut pieces large enough to use for backing &/or lining potholders, table mat and even runner backings. It'll save you a trip to a store, and some money, and its good for the planet :-) 

Here is to staying creatively courageous and Covidly cautious :-D

Talk soon,


Another pre-printed fabric that would be nice for this are the Autumn Sky, Waterfall an Noshi panels.  They would make a longer mat, but that might be rather beautiful beside a tub.