Sashiko is a 17th-century Japanese sewing technique for repairing, quilting or reinforcing fabric. The technique is characterised by the application of white running stitches (sashiko means running stitch) the size of a grain of rice on indigo fabric. Originally, the running stitches were used to sew patches on worn areas. Later, the stitches were used to create geometric shapes or organic patterns. The motifs and patterns, many of which have a symbolic meaning, have become increasingly decorative over the years.