Developing Non-Stitched Backgrounds and Solving Stitch Dilemmas for a Fisherman’s Coat From Awaji Island, Japan

Class Description-This two-day class project was inspired by an exhibit catalogue Japanese Fisherman’s Coats from Awaji Island published by the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History.  The original Coats were sashiko quilting on indigo cloth.  These coats were status symbols both inside and around the fishing villages. 

The first part of the first day we will work on small samples to help choose the background technique or techniques we want to use to prepare the canvas for stitching we will choose from several different techniques (Painted fusible web, heat transfer paint, painted on fabric dyes and combinations of these techniques. We will be working to develop a background color and texture.  Sample canvases will be provided for experimentation. 

After the samples are created we will use the remainder of this morning to face the second challenge of the project, to simulate the sashiko quilting on a much smaller scale.  A set of blue ground stitches will be developed for the indigo cloth.  Then white over stitching patterns will be explored in class by the students help develop more stitching patterns of their own to simulate the quilting.  The designer’s doodle canvas will be utilized to explain the process. 

The background for the coat is a regional fish swirling in the water.   A variety of straight, diagonal, compound, complex, decorative and layered stitches will be worked into this project on a white canvas.

Kit cost- $86.00  The kit includes threads, needles, art supplies, canvases, instructions, and color pictures.

Student responsibility for materials-


Proficiency level-Intermediate Level

Canvas size-13”W X 17”H

Finished size- 10”W X 14”H

Audio-visual requirements-Flipchart and colored markers

Special Requirements- Electrical hook ups and irons and ironing board

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