Sashiko Sampler Pattern 4

Sashiko Sampler Pattern 4


Pattern 4: Kawari Kikkozashi (Tortoiseshell Stitch)

I love this traditional Japanese tortoiseshell motif which only takes on its final appearance when the single thread stitches are placed at the centre of each hexagon. We will be doing some needle threading to create some of this design as well.


I have used the long sashiko needle again for this design so that I can load the whole row of stitches at one go before pulling them through.

Mark out a ½” grid on one of your squares on the sampler. Thread your needle with double thread and a knot at one end.


Stitch rows back and forth across the square at ¼” intervals. Make each stitch ¼” long. Remember to leave loops at either end of a row on the wrong side just like before.


And now for the fun bit. Start in one corner with double thread and come out at ¼” up on a line.


Turn your needle around and thread under the first stitch.


Next thread your needle under the first stitch in the row above. Return to the first row and thread the needle under the next stitch and so on.

By turning your needle round you don’t risk splitting the thread of the sewn stitches. Don’t be tempted to thread more than one stitch at a time. You need to try and keep the threads lying flat and not twisted!


Here is the first row completed. I didn’t leave a loop on the back for these rows. Just try not pull the thread too tightly. It forms a single stitch on the back as you change rows.


Here’s the next row! Notice that I brought the needle out on the drawn line this time. The third row starts ¼” in between.


Keep going back and forth. I really like the way this stitch quickly builds into a textured pattern.

IMG_20160709_165510878 (2)

Here is the finished block with all the needle threading completed.

IMG_20160709_165718224 (2)

Now you need to use a single thread in your needle. Star with a knot and work a single stitch horizontally through the centre of each diamond across the row. I did leave a loop at the end of each row on this occasion.


And there you have it. A Tortoiseshell Sashiko pattern.



Post pictures of your finished pattern to my facebook page Brightonfashionandtextileschool and share on Instagram with #sashikosampler or email it to me if you prefer by the Monday 18th July 2016

I will choose my favourite and get in contact to send you your prize! The Prize winner will be revealed on 23rd July 2016.

I hope you enjoy this design as much as I do!


Enjoy your Sashiko stitching!


  1. Loved stitching this one!

  2. Lovely pattern. I would never have thought of turning the needle round. Thanks for the tutorial.

  3. This is beautiful and seems so easy. I’m new to Sashiko, but love the effect.

  4. Es precioso esta forma de bordar!

    • Gracias

  5. Very pretty… I will try…thanks

  6. Gracias por compartir el tutorial

  7. What do you use to draw the grid on your fabric? I’ve tried so many pens and pencils and none work!


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