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Tutorial for Sashiko & Weaving: Zenigame

Tutorial for stitching sashiko and weaving design

This blog will show you how to stitch zenigame, a preprinted fabric kit by Olympus. 

This design looks a little complex, but broken down to a step at a time, it is easy enough to do.

zenigame sashiko and weaving 

There are a few things it helps to know before you start stitching. The first is that the printed marks on the fabric will wash away completely when you are finished stitching, so don't get the cloth damp before that! 
Also, please don't iron it before it is washed or the marks will be set and won't wash out :-(
Here is what you need: the Olympus pre printed ready to stitch fabric, at least 3 skeins of 20 meter sashiko thread, and a sashiko needle. 
I used a variegated sashiko thread to stitch this, but I can't help thinking I might have been happier with two solid colors.
Here is what you need:  Olympus pre printed ready to stitch fabric, the one called Zenigame,  at least 3 skeins of 20 meter sashiko thread, and a sashiko needle. 
sashiko and weaving Emma Creation Olympus
Next, you are meant to stitch through two layers of fabric, so start by folding the unprinted half of the fabric to the back of the printed half. You can baste the edges together to keep the layers from moving apart as you do the sashiko stitching.
One more thing. Prepare your sashiko thread by opening the skein into a long loop and cut through one end of the loop. This will give you 36" lengths, which are a good length for the sashiko and weaving designs. (I cut through both ends and stitch with 18" lengths for regular sashiko stitching - but longer is better for sashiko and weaving) I like to loosely braid the skein and pull the threads from it one at a time - no tangling!

sashiko threads

You are meant to begin by stitching the dashes around the edge of the design. I don't, instead I baste around the edges to hold the two layers of fabric together, and then start the design. This is because after my stitching is finished I plan to wash, dry, press, and then cut out and sew a project from it.  Of course you can stitch this outer line first to frame your stitching.


Start the design by stitching all the dashes in one direction. I use a small knot in the outer edge to begin each thread, then I end that thread and begin each new thread in the margin of the design. This avoids having to deal with threads ending in the middle of a stitching line.  However, if you want to use up all your thread length, you can stitch over three or four stitches, thereby overlapping the sashiko thread ends.

zenigame sashiko and weaving

When you have stitched all the dashed marks in one direction, stitch the remaining ones in the other direction.

sashiko and weaving tutorial

Here is a photo of the back of the cloth, just for interest sake :-)

back of zenigame sashiko weaving design

When all the stitching has been completed, start the weaving.  To do this, start with a small knot on the back of the fabric at the bottom, and using the needle eye end of the needle, pass under the sets of stitched threads, weave the thread under them as shown in the photo below. Continue from the bottom to the top. 

 begin sashiko weaving

When you reach the top, pass your needle through to the back of the fabric, then bring it back to the front of the fabric at the just below the next set of stitches you will weave through.


Continue weaving until you have covered the cloth.



Here is an alternative to finishing the design:  (Skip this if having options just makes things harder! :-) ) Instead of turning the cloth and weaving across it in the other direction, you could just stitch the remaining sets of paired lines into square boxes. 

sashiko and weaving


To finish it as you are meant to do for this design, turn the cloth 1/4 turn and weave in the same way through the remaining sets of dashes, crossing the weaving you have just completed.

sashiko and weaving

 In the photo above I started to stitch with the same blue thread- but I thought it would be easier to see if I changed to this bright orange.

Is it easier to see how this is done now? The orange thread is woven over the blue thread using the open ends of the remaining paired stitches to pass the orange thread under. In other words, it is the same weaving pattern with the cloth turned on its side.

finished zenigame sashiko 

When your stitching is completed, gently wash, dry and press it. Then you could hem and enjoy it as a useful hana fukin cloth, or cut and sew it into another project.

Enjoy your sashiko projects!


Susan Fletcher
Susan Fletcher


Owner A threaded Needle