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A Beautiful Sashiko Stitched Sledge-Hauling Vest from Yamagata

Written on June 19, 2010

This stunning sleeveless, sashiko stitched work coat, or sodenashi, is from Yamagata Prefecture in the Tohoku Region of Japan.

The indigo dyed cotton vest is thick with layers which have been sashiko stitched together.  Likewise, the distinctive, diagonal applied band of stitching is added as protection for the wearer who is pulling a sledge, the strap of which is, of course, abrasive. This particular kind of sodenashi was used by men who pulled sledges in wintertime, to spread manure over their fields.  Wives would stitch intricate patterns to reinforce the jacket, as can be seen in photos above and below.Similar examples of this type of vest are shown on page 60 of the Kyoto Shoin book, Kogin and Sashiko Stitch, available from my web shop.

The entire body of the vest is pierced with minuscule stitches, adding a wonderful texture and visual interest to the garment.  The layers of cloth which are over-stitched onto the body of the vest are there for added durability.Shown below are a group of beautifully sashiko stitched drawstring bags which I will probably offer for sale in my web shop at some point in the near future.

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  1. Comment by Lambert:

    This is a beautiful piece, the faded colors, the patches, the stitching and its utilitarian past … I love it!

    June 20, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

  2. Comment by The Muse of The Day:

    Stunning … absolutely stunning. If it wasn’t for you producing this post my eyes would have never seen it. Stunning.

    June 21, 2010 @ 7:03 am

  3. Comment by Sumaya:

    have you ever lived in the middle east?
    I am asking becuase I used to live in Bahrian and I knew some one that dealt in the same type of textiles as you do, but I lost their contact details.
    The faded utilitrian blue material is similar to the material that the amish around here wear and use still to date, I know it is not the same but looks and has the same feel.
    Beautiful stuff.
    [email protected]

    June 24, 2010 @ 9:09 pm