UNSHIN – Basic Sewing Techniques

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“ UNSHIN (運針)” is the most basic technique in kimono sewing.
It is essential to practice every day in order to sew faster and more beautifully.
Here, we will show you how to practice “UNSHIN”.

Unshin – Basic Hand Sewing Method Part 1

Points to be aware of and goals

Points to be aware of

  • Sew straight.
  • The stitches should be aligned.


  • 13 stitches in 1寸(3.8cm).
  • Sew 4尺(151.5cm) in less than 10 minutes.

Things to prepare

  • Cloth : Cotton cloth, 36cm width x 4尺(151.5cm) (I use shin-moss.)
  • Needle : Shi-no-san(四ノ三), Hand sewing needle for silk.
  • Thread : Cotton thread
  • Small scissors

How to practice UNSHIN (運針)

Preparing the cloth

Fold it so that it is half lengthwise.
Next, mark the area where you are going to sew. (You may also draw a line.)

Unshin practice
Unshin practice

How to hold the needle

Here is how to hold the needle.
Place the head of the needle against the thimble on your middle finger.

Unshin practice

Hold the needle tip with your thumb and forefinger, keeping the head of the needle against your middle finger.
This is quite difficult to do when you are not used to it, but you will be able to do it.

Unshin practice

Let’s sew it up!

Once you know how to hold it, you can start practicing.
The first couple of stitches look like this.

Unshin practice

When you have sewn a couple of stitches, hold the needle the way you just did.

Unshin practice

Use your thumb to direct the needle forward.
Then press the head of the needle with your middle finger.

Unshin practice

Next, use your index finger to guide the needle forward.
Then, use your middle finger to press the head of the needle.

Unshin practice

This sequence is UNSHIN (運針).
Sew together to some extent.

Unshin practice
Unshin practice

Pull the thread out halfway and continue sewing.

Unshin practice
Unshin practice
Unshin practice

This is how I practice.

Unshin practice


The cloth for practice is called “Unshin Fu”.
It is sewn and unstitched, and practiced many times on the same cloth.

(1) Sew straight.
(2) The stitches should be aligned.

1) 13 stitches in 1 inch
2) To sew 4 shaku within 10 minutes.

In the beginning, it is more important to sew straight than to match the size of the stitches.
Make sure that there are no large or small seams on the front or back of the fabric.

Once you’ve mastered UNSHIN (運針), you’ll love sewing, and not just kimono sewing!
For those who are thinking of giving it a try.
It’s a technique I recommend, well worth the effort!

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