Sashiko is an ancient Japanese technique. It was originally used to join layers of fabric together for warmth. As with most things Japanese, a practical application developed into an art form of great beauty.
The Sashiko is one of Baby Lock’s newest sewing machine, very nonconventional. It forms a stitch that looks like a hand done running stitch, mimicking the ancient technique. Only one thread is used and that is in the bobbin. I saw the video of how the stitch is formed, but the explanation is beyond me. You can change the actual stitch length and the space length with levers, while the machine is in operation. It takes thread from 30-100 wt. The presser foot height can be adjusted for easy fabric manipulation. Each stitch is self locking. It also can use some of the Evolove attachments – bias binder, plain hemmer, and feller.
I really enjoyed sewing with this machine. It was so easy to make beautiful geometric patterns. You can sew loops, circles, echoes, pivots – whatever design or pattern you’d like. The only thing you can’t do is sew back over a line you just did. It is just a fun machine.
At Baby Lock Tech there were gorgeous samples of Sashiko designs on clothing, pillows, quilts, table runners, and wall hangings. The possibilities are limited only by our imaginations.
The only downside to the Sashiko maybe the cost — for only one stitch, it might be a little pricey. We’ll need to see what they actually list for. Just looking at it work, you can see a lot of engineering technology went into its production – hence the cost.
Bottom line – I really had a blast sewing with it. Have a question about Baby Lock’s Sashiko? Ask it in the comment section.
UPDATE (Oct. 21, 2009): Baby Lock created a video explaining the Sashiko: