Sashiko meets Jacket

Right at the beginning of this year, my friend Kate Ward of ZenStitching said I’d like to make myself a jacket and put some stitching on it. Would you like to do a collaboration?

Would I! Kate is a textile artist who is passionate about recycling and mending, and is also the person who really got me started with Sashiko stitching – a type of traditional Japanese embroidery that decorates or reinforces clothes.

So we did – the collaboration is called Zero and Zen. It’s a pre-recorded course that takes you through the process of sewing a jacket and then adding stitching. As well, because doing things in a community is more fun and keeps you focused, there are three Zoom sessions to go with it – one for any jacket questions you might have, one for asking Kate about any stitching questions, and one at the end for show & tell. There’s also a dedicated Facebook page for support and feedback.

The jacket pattern is the zero/minimal waste modular jacket from the March zine, and I’ve filmed a sew-a-long with lots of extra tips and ideas, particularly for working with very thick fabrics. If you’ve been wanting to make this jacket but needed a hand to hold, or want to sew together in a community, here’s the opportunity.

We both made ourselves a jacket and got stitching.

I made mine from an old army blanket – I bought it at a thrift shop years ago when we were midway through a camping trip and the weather turned cold.

Here it is before adding stitching, with the hems tacked up.
I decided on a garden theme and stitched a medley of flowers on it.
I’m not quite finished yet – I’ll extend them around the back.
A pdf of these floral templates comes with the course.

I’ve worn it a few times already, mid-stitching, because there are only a few weeks of cold weather left here. The coat has no pockets yet, and it made me realise how important pockets are on a coat! I’m adding zero waste inseam pockets – there are instructions for this with the course.

At the same time, I added some stitching to a jacket I made earlier in the year. This jacket is in chambray with the collar in a special Japanese fabric.

I began by adding stitching to the patch pockets, not really sure how it would look.
Then I stitched a large panel on the back, asanoha – hemp leaf, which I mistakenly thought was a star.
A pity the jacket isn’t made from hemp fabric, just to tie it all in together.
If you can do running stitch, you can do this!

Kate made her jacket from 2 pairs of old jeans and added stitching on the front panels.

I really love the look of it! You can read her full jacket story on her blog.

The jeans had holes so she mended them at the same time.
She covers the mending process in the course, in case you’re working with upcycled garments like these.

About Zero and Zen

The course will be released on September 19th, which is this Monday! Head over to here to join and stitch along together.

The cost of the course is $97Canadian and covers:

  • Lifetime access to pre-recorded videos that take you step-by-step through the process of sewing your jacket, mending and adding four different sashiko stitches and their variations (shippo tsunagi, ganzegashi, asanoha, kiku asanoha), accessible via Desktop or Mobile App.
  • 3 x 1 hour Q&A sessions with Liz and Kate via Zoom. The Zoom meeting times are on Fridays – late afternoon/evenings for North Americans on the 30th Sept (jacket), 14th Oct (stitching) and 4th Nov (show and tell). For UK residents it’s later that night, and for Aussies it’s in the morning on the next day. See here for exact times.
  • Downloadable pdf sheets to refer to whilst creating.
  • Private community for feedback and peer support via Facebook page.
  • Draft your own pattern using your own body dimensions.
  • Additional inspiration for your stitching projects.

Maybe I’ll see you there!



  1. Michelle Shaffer on September 18, 2022 at 12:17 am

    I LOVE this idea! Especially the repurposing of old jeans to create the jacket. I have been working sashiko into my projects for a couple of years, and am always looking for new ideas. Sashiko was originated by the wives of Japanese fishermen to mend their clothing and increase the warmth of the garment. It seems fitting to use old jeans and fix the tears with sashiko to create a jacket. Thanks for the ideas.

    • lizhaywood on September 18, 2022 at 7:40 pm

      Thanks Michelle – yes, denim and sashiko is a great combination and I’m very inspired by Kate’s jacket.

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