A Simple Project to make a Kuguri Sashiko Pouch

By Susan Fletcher
Kuguri sashiko using wash out dot graph fabric

I've been writing about Kuguri Sashiko recently, and if you have been feeling interested in trying it, here is a simple how to for a first project.

Links for materials are below this photo of the pouch I turned my fabric into after I finished the Kurguri.  Kuguri, you probably know already, is a two step process. First you stitch a simple sashiko pattern. Second you weave under the threads in that pattern. This is why it looks so complex but is surprisingly easy to do.

I'll break the steps down so you can see it happen in a minute. 

kuguri sashiko pouch

You will need a package of dot graph fabric, 1 skein of variegated sashiko thread, and a sashiko needle.

The dot graph fabric is 13" X 26". The graph printed area is 13" square. You are meant to fold the unprinted fabric behind the printed fabric and so your stitching through both layers. Some people like to stitch the the printed dashes around the dot graph area to hold the folded fabrics together. I find it is enough to lay the cloth on a table and smooth over them with my hands to make the edges even and push out any wrinkles. Don't iron them - it might set the printed markings.

And of course, don't get the fabric damp or you will be left with no markings! They wash out.

dot graph sashiko fabric

I decided to make a small pouch so I only stitched 1/4 of the fabric.  The rest of this fabric I'll use to experiment with different kurugi patterns.

To make this one, thread your needle with enough sashiko thread to stitch across the width of fabric 2 and 1/4 times.  Make a knot in the end of the thread, and stitch double rows of stitches so the fabric looks like this photograph.

sashiko using dot graph fabric

You can see I started with a knotted thread on the top edge of the fabric. (Ignore that > making at the corner, I was trying to think out something that doesn't matter here)

Kuguri sashiko patterns are made in two steps. This was step 1. When its finished you will weave behinds these double rows of stitches with a space between.

So now we weave.

This part is fun! Turn your needle backwards and use the eye end to weave under the stitched threads beginning at one edge of the fabric at the second dot down.

sashiko Kuguri stitching

Weave all the way across. Push your needle through the fabric at the dot at the end of the stitching, come back up at the next dot, turn and weave back across.

It is a good idea to make your thread long enough to cross the fabric each time so that the knots are always at an edge.

Stitching a Kuguri Sashiko Design 

Insert your needle back into the fabric at the dot next to the one you started at, then bring it back up to the front of the fabric in the next dot and continue to weave.

Kuguri Sashiko how to

Kuguri Sashiko Weaving

Here is the finished stitching. The next step is to give it a soak and rinse in warm water to remove the dots. I added a tiny bit of dish soap to speed up the process. Dry, press gently.kuguri-sashi

I backed mine with matching fabric to make a little pouch whichI filled the pouch with lavender and wrapped the neck tightly with sashiko thread.  I'll put it on a hanger in a clothes closet. 

hitomesashi and kuguri sashiko

And now you grasp the basics of how kuguri sashiko is done, why not experiment with the other half of the dot graph fabric to make up your own design? You can use a wash away marker to mark out your stitching plan before you start stitching if you like.

Have fun!


Here are a few ideas for using small pieces of stitching on the graph dot fabrics. (Yes, I do know that only one is kuguri (weaving) and the other two are hitomesashi (one stitch sashiko). I was just checking to see if you would notice! LOL

These are pin cushion bowls. Surprisingly functional.

Hitomesashi and kuguri Sashiko pin cushion bowls

Happy Stitching,