A Needle Pulling Thread!



I hardly remember a time in my life that I didn’t enjoy having a needle and thread in my hand.  And in the slower winter months I always find it so soothing to sit and hand sew.



Photo: Katrina Rodabaugh


I’ve recently loved learning a little bit about Sashiko hand sewing.  Sashiko is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching founded in Japan.  If you search “Sashiko” you will see some of the most amazing and intricate mending stitches.  Above is an excellent example from one of my favorite people that I follow on IG.  She does such beautiful work and teaches classes on Sashiko mending in New York.




I decided to try my hand at some mending on an old pair of ripped blue jeans.  I wanted to to add some color to the jeans so instead of using old denim on the back of the hole, I used a happy piece of cotton fabric.


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Super easy, super fun and oh so cute!  The funnest thing about Sashiko is that you don’t have to worry about the length of your stitches or whether they are perfect or not.  It really makes it very relaxing.




In Sashiko stitching you use a thicker thread.  My preference is the DMC Perl Cotton #8 or #12 thread.  It is such a lovely thread to work with.  But because of it being a thicker thread then it does require a needle with a large eye.  Clover makes Sashico needles that are perfect.  They have a large eye and are also very long so you can really get numerous stitches on one needle length.




I drew a design on an old denim scrap and made a quick coaster with fun Sashiko stitching.  This project took less than an hour and was so satisfying.  I intend to make more for stocking stuffers!




My favorite project that I’ve made in a very long time is called a Rice Bag or a komebukuro. They were traditionally made from scrap fabric with a draw string closure.  They were filled with temple offerings, such as rice or other items.   In my research about Sashiko I saw Rice Bags referred to numerous times and so I decided to make one.


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I just dug in my scraps and began piecing together some of my favorites.  I also cut some tiny scraps to appliqué on as patches.  After that, I drew some hand sewing lines with my fabric marking pen.  I don’t think there is any right or wrong in Sashiko stitching.  I drew some cross stitch lines as well as some circles.




And then I had so much fun hand sewing along those lines.  This is a great opportunity to really get creative and have fun with hand sewing.




I used all different colors of threads and just went for it!  I think the key here is not to overthink it.






I absolutely adore how this Rice Bag came out.  I have no idea what I’m going to use it for but I might just sit and look at it for awhile!




I made tabs out of scrap fabric and threaded some nice white cord through the tabs to make the drawstring closure.  Isn’t it just the funnest?


If you are interested in making this bag, you will find the pattern here!


What would you use a Rice Bag for?  Do  you think it would be a gift that you would love to receive?


Wishing you the Merriest Christmas and the Happiest New Year! .


Until our gravel roads cross again… so long.



  1. Cyndie Gray says:

    This is all new to me but I may have to do a little looking into it!! I love your rice bag!! And absolutely it would make a delightful gift for any occasion ( my birthday is next month j.k. ) if I search “rice bag” will I find a pattern? Also off this subject have you ever made a quilted tea cozy? I have never quilted & am quite intimidated by it but I think I would like to try a very small project. When my sis was visiting we had lunch at a tea room & they brought my tea in a small teapot covered with a cute cozy to keep it warm. I thought hm, I bet I could do that.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Cyndie!

      YES! There is a pattern. I’ve gone back and edited my blog post to include the link to the pattern. It’s toward the end of the blog post.

      Years ago I made a tea cozy. But I haven’t made one for years. They are really darling. And yes, I bet you could make one!!!

      ~ Dori ~

      • Cyndie Gray says:

        Dori: where would you recommend looking for a pattern for a tea cozy? Pinterest? Etsy? Or elsewhere? Thanks for the link to the rice bag pattern also!!
        Happy Sewing!!

    • Love seeing this idea again. It’s a wonderful way to patch things besides starting a new project! Thank you

    • Dori
      Making a tea cozy would be a great first quilt project for you. 1 made 2 several years ago. If you need help go to a local fabric store and talk to the clerks and owner. They can usually hook you up with a class or group to get started. Have fun, you’ll never regret this pursuit as it brings much pleasure and great friends into your life!

  2. Emily says:

    I think I would use it to carry some of my other quilting projects in when I am not at home.
    Thank you for showing us how to it is used. I really like how you used tabs to thread your cord through for the handle!

    Take care.

  3. Carol says:

    That is adorable! I have never heard of this type of sewing, but I will check it out soon. I might need a rice bag to carry some of my business supplies in.

    • Dori Troutman says:


      I went back and edited my blog post to include the pattern that I purchased for making the bag. In case you’re interested!

      ~ Dori ~

  4. Jutta says:

    Your lovely bag is the perfect project bag for knitting etc. I would love to receive a gift like this!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours Dori, thank you for sharing!

  5. Jill McFaul says:

    Dori, this bag could be used for all sorts of things, ie., groceries, yarn/fabric storage, a quick overnight bag, the possibilities are endless. I am thinking I would like to try my hand at Sashiko. it really jazzes up mending projects and other things one might sew such as regular quilting items. Think I will search for more info thank you so much.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Jill, yes! I am using mine for my ball of crochet right now and its great! I think the next one I make I will put a little pocket for scissors and crochet hook on the inside.

      ~ Dori `

      • Jill McFaul says:

        Well I am in the grove to do some exploring here. Have a Christmas tree ornament I am going to experiment on with Sashiko. My head is trying to think of all sorts of applications… oooo what fun!

  6. Marlene Capelle says:

    What a fabulous idea. Happy holidays to you and yours.

  7. Irene says:

    I love your work Dori, you are so creative. Merry Christmas.

  8. Hi Dori! Really enjoyed your post on sashiko embroidery. Isn’t Katrina great? Slow fashion movement, mending, natural dyes. Thanks for sharing these ideas. I have 4 little grand daughters (the oldest is 8) who hang out with me a lot. They want to sew — I was thinking of aprons & you inspired me to use sashiko as part of it. Even though I sew (and MY grandma taught me to mend) I’m much happier playing with clay. :). I like that the stitches can be so casual.

  9. Bonnie Ellis says:

    What fun! Thanks for showing us this technique. I learned from a Japanese woman how to do this and included the how-to in the quilting classes I taught. Happy Holiday to you and your family. I’ll bet you don’t have 22 inches of snow. lol

  10. Debbie Fischer says:

    Beautiful Bag Dori!
    I love to do hand sewing and this would be great for traveling!
    Love all your ideas.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

  11. Sue says:

    Hey Dori,
    Good morning to you from a snowy Alabama. I love sashiko, I use it a lot on my denim quilts. Wanted to share this with you since you have granddaughters. Several years back my God daughters came in dressed in The latest fashion. Jeans with rips in some rather inappropriate spots. I told them no, just no. I gave them an alternative though. We would raid my fancy scrap box and put cool scraps behind the rips. Silk, satin, lace, velvet and much more went into those jeans. When they got to school their friends loved them and wanted to know where to get some. My eldest goddaughter told them she got the jeans at an exclusive designer. You patching your jeans brought back the memories. Good times.

  12. Ramona Puckett says:

    How fun! Thank you for sharing this!

  13. Laurie says:

    Simply lovely Dori. I am going to try this. It looks so easy and relaxing. Making the coasters would make a wonderful gift. And the bag could be used for almost anything. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  14. Cindi J says:

    I love this bag! How funny it is that just a couple of months ago I came across a book on mending that I couldn’t resist. It introduced me to this type of stitching and sent me on a journey to find out more. I now use it for hand quilting! Boy, does that take the pressure off! I have severe arthritis in my hands and tiny, well-spaced stitches are impossible. This is a fun and beautiful style – and now I’m going to snag that rice bag pattern of yours.

  15. Drucilla Weiland says:

    Thank you for introducing me to a new thing. I can see all kinds of uses for this type of sewing. I’m excited to get started on a project. I have a jacket that the dog ate a hole in it. I just purchased a decorative patch but it has not really been an improvement. Now I know what will be.

  16. Marilyn says:

    The rice bag is lovely. It could be used to hold knitting,crocheting or some small little objects. A pack of tissues,a pen,pencil or even a small note book or address book. Thank you for this interesting post. God bless. Wishing you and yours a blessed and merry Christmas. Have a healthy and Happy 2020.

  17. Sandi King says:

    Dori, I think your rice bag is so cute and I know I would probably use it for many different things including a beach bag or even a craft bag for scraps of material or threads or yarns or to carry things from one home to another during holidays when you give gifts for stockings or under the tree. i know it is not very big but the other day I picked up about 3 little dolls and 3 packs of toy cars to donate for the children who don’t have any presents at Christmas and this bag would have been ideal for carrying them to the donation site. They were not to be wrapped so were visible to see what they were on bringing them in. I think the ‘no wrap’ thing was due to all the bad things going on today and unwrapped gifts are ‘safer’. But the rice bag is like a gift in itself also. Thanks for sharing this with all of us. Have a wonderful and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for all of us.

  18. Anita Johnson n says:

    Inspiring! Cannot wait to try this. Thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas!

  19. Nancy f Wilson says:

    love reading about your project even if was last year

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