Sashiko (刺し子, lit., "little stabs")is a type of traditionalJapaneseembroideryorstitchingused for the decorative and/or functional reinforcement of cloth and clothing. Owing to the relatively cheap nature of white cotton thread and the abundant nature of cheap,sashikohas a distinctive appearance of white-on-blue embroidery, though some decorative pieces may also use red thread.
First coming into existence in theEdo period(1615-1868),sashikoembroidery was first applied to clothing out of a practical need, and would have been used to strengthen the homespun clothes of olden times. Worn out clothes were pieced together to make new garments by using simple running stitches. These clothes increased their strength with this durable embroidery. By the Meiji era (1868-1912)sashikohad been established enough that it had evolved into winter work in northern farming communities, when it was too cold to work outside.