To get a feel for the technique on a small scale before starting my larger project, I tried a sashiko coaster kit found at Bella Quiltworks here in Tucson.
Here are the five coasters I made—I love the white against the indigo fabric. It was problematic getting that rich indigo color to show up well and it looks black in the photos.
The instructions called for simply folding over the edges and stitching them to finish the coasters, but I added a layer of flannel as interfacing and backed the coasters with leftover Japanese-print fabric from my stash.
I bought The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook to learn more about sashiko. It provides lots of great information, a pattern library, and a number of projects with instructions.
Kake-Jiku: Images of Japan in Applique, Fabric Origami, and Sashiko is already in my little craft library. It has an appliqué project incorporating sashiko I’d like to try, too.
Lots of information is available about sashiko, but here are a few links to get you started.