Sashiko Thread Thickness Comparison Cover

Sashiko Thread Thickness Comparison

Choosing the appropriate Sashiko thread for your Sashiko project is one of the most important factors to have beautiful & enjoyable Sashiko stitching. Although we use one specific thickness of Sashiko thread for 99% of our Sashiko projects, we carry some variety of thickness. Here is a comparison for the Sashiko thread that Upcycle Stitches offers online.

*The detail of each Sashiko thread can be found here. (In process)

All of the Sashiko Thread in the comparison is available for sale here.

Sashiko Thread Thickness Comparison First

There are many other Sashiko thread manufactures. Among many choices, we regulary use them and check the quality of the Sashiko thread we provide.

Also, you can fine the explanation why we strongly recommend in using Sashiko Thread. The thread has its unique twist to perform the Sashiko’s original purpose; which is different from the other hand-stitching. I upload the video of me talking about this topic. I hope you find it useful. 


Sashiko Thread Thickness Comparison 

Please find the photo for each threads we carry. Every kinds of thread is made in Japan with quality cotton 100%. 


  1. Coron & Sashi.Co Sashiko Thread including the one hand-dyed with natural dyes
  2. Upcycle & Maru Sashiko Thread including the unique pastel & variegated Colors
  3. Daruma Yokota Sashiko Thread both Thick and Thin.
Sashiko Thread Thickness Comparison Cover 1

Coron & Sashi.Co Sashiko Thread

It is our regular & first choice Sashiko thread. We have been using the thread from the Coron manufacture over many years. and we are proud to introduce their thread to the world. Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya hand-dyes the thread with natural dyes. The thread, Sashi.C0 and Coron, are almost identical. Satisfaction guaranteed. 

The thickness is about 1.0 mm with 4 floss twist. 

Upcycle & Maru Sashiko Thread

Upcycle and Maru Sashiko thread is the new thread we start carrying in 2018. I fell in love of their unique colors of Sashiko thread, including pastel and variegated colors we couldn’t make with the Natural Dyes.

It has the very similar quality for the Coron & Sashi.Co Thread. I haven’t had any problems enjoying Sashiko projects. The stitching results (shown below) also explain that they are very similar each other.

The thickness is about 1.0 mm with 4 floss twist. 

Daruma Sashiko Thread

Daruma Thread made by the well-know thread company, “Yokota”, is our newest thread. We started enjoying Sashiko with their thread in late 2018 so that we can accomodate the needs who wishes to have thinner thread. The quality is good (although I would probably need more time to fully experience it.) Please check the comparison photo with the stitching result so you will find the best thickness besides our regular Sashiko thread.



The thickness is a bit less than 1.0 mm like 0.9mm or so. You may feel it is almost 0.8 mm. Please refer to the photo.


This is the thinest Sashiko thread we carry. I would say it is about 0.75 mm or even 0.7 mm. The thickness changed depends on the tension. The thread on all the photo have no tension. 

No “Right Answer”. Just the preference.

As I mentioned above, I only recommend the Sashiko thread we used at least in several project and confirmed its quality. It is simply because I would like anyone to avoid the sad result (not expected results) by using the thread.

Sashiko thread from the other manufactures and any non-Sashiko threads are good when it fits your project. It is just about the preference, and I want you to try the best because it makes a lot of difference in Sashiko stitching.

*Some of the technique I introduce here as well as on Youtube may be only effective when you use the thread we recommend.

Throughout Sashiko Live Streaming on Instagram and Youtube, I encounter and become friends with many many Sashiko Thread Dyer in Japan. One day, I would love to introduce them on our website as the Sashiko thread artisans.

Sashiko Stitching Sample with threads above

Wearable Fine Art Sashiko Cover

Wearable Fine Art | Keiko’s Sashiko

They are stunning beautiful. I will site the client’s word: it is a pleasure to have Wearable Fine Art. All hand made, All Sashiko stitched, small vintage fabrics to good sized well-preserved Japanese vintage fabrics. The biggest, and most enjoyable, project in 2018. It took a year of searching the fabric, planning the patchwork, all Sashiko works, and then putting everything united as a whole piece. 

This is what Keiko Futatsuya is capable of: Another reason I, Atsushi Futatsuya, work on introducing Sashiko. 

Wearable Fine Art

I had an interesting discussion about whether Sashiko is the (Fine) Art or not. The conclusion was that Sashiko “can be” the fine art, but originally started the Folk Art. As a Sashiko artisan, I would like to respect Sashiko’s history, and would like to avoid considering what I make as the Fine Art (at least. not yet.)


So does Keiko.

She doesn’t consider her Sashiko and Boro Jackets as the Art. The definition in terminology isn’t that important for her. Only thing she cares is if she is enjoying as much as the client would be enjoying the process of repurposing the fabric. 


Well, however, I would call these Jackets as the Art. It may sounds contradicting what I wrote a few weeks ago, but I agree with the client’s words: they are the Wearable Fine Art. 


We will continue this journey. 

If you are interested in placing the back order (customized order), please refer the article about how we started working on these Jackets.

Sashiko Wearable Fine Art SJ

Sashiko Wearable Fine Art Photos


Enjoy the photo gallery of Wearable Fine Art by Keiko Futatsuya. Big thanks to Jeffrey for taking these beautiful photos.

I had to reduce the file size due to the website capacity. The photos with High Resolution are available on our Facebook Photo Album.


Photo Credit: (c) Jeffrey Bardzell, 2019


Sashiko Jacket 2018 SJ _MN

One of the preferred request from the client is to have the Vintage Katazome Fabric. These vintage fabrics has the width of 1-tan (1反 = about 36cm), which was regular width for Kimono.  

It is challanging process to obtain the beautiful vintage fabric in a good condition, then we work on patchworking and Sashiko stitching based on the client’s requests and Keiko’s creativity. It is one of the reason we ask clients to wait for about a year or so.

We do not waste a smallest piece of fabric, like a size of small swatch barely capable of wrapping a few beans. We strive to share all of our wisdom, technique and passion in Sashiko & making “”To-be-Boro” Sashiko Jacket. 

Sashiko Jacket 2018 SJ _FO


Asanoha (麻の葉), Shippou (七宝), Kakinohana (柿の花).

The Japanese traditional geometric pattern have their own beauty and Sashiko significannly enhance the beauty. It was our sincere goal to make client’s request happen, a collaboration of favotie vintage fabric as well as the favorite pattern.


The alternative Sashiko Jacket were filled with the traditions. 

Sashiko Workshop Schedule 2019

Sashiko Workshop Schedule 2019

Thanks to many participants who shared their great time with us in Sashiko workshops, the Sashiko workshop by Atsushi Futatsuya obtained good reviews. We intend to continue the Sashiko Workshops in NYC, and here is Sashiko Workshop Schedule 2019.

I have received many requests to come back to NYC to offer another workshop. As I mentioned in 2018, I plan to take it a bit slow in terms workshop so I can spend more time in creating Sashiko items. Although I will not be able to offer the Sashiko Workshops as much as I did in 2018, I hope you can find a spot for you.

A whole view of Sashiko Workshop Schedule 2019

You may register yourself on the Sashiko Workshop Store for your preferable workshop here.

As of now, we offer one workshop weekend in Spring, and one workshop weekend in Summer.

Please contact me if you are interested in taking the workshop in NYC, Manhattan Tribeca Area, yet your schedule doesn’t match for the available workshops in 2019. I will add you to the priority email list to let you know the availability before the regular newsletter sent out. The more people contact me, the more likely to offer them more.


Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Basic&Core)


The basic yet the core Sashiko Stitching Workshop. The well-organized, satisfying workshop is available anyone who can be in NYC for the workshop weekend. The only “fair” review is that it is a bit short (180 minutes and plus) workshop. However, you will get everything you need to enjoy Sashiko there & attentive follow-ups.

Open to Enrollment in 2019

I hope more to coming. 

Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Basic&Core and Plus)


The workshops below are specifically designed workshopes for the collaborators who support us to have the workshop. The participants will get everything from the Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Basic&Core), and in addition, the workshop participants will get more contents based on what I am collaborating to. The examples of extra contents are “How to transfer the pattern to the fabric” and/or “Sashiko Mending Basic”. 


@ Purl Soho NYC | with small practice of preparing the pattern.



Enjoy Sashiko in Happy Holidays

Hitomezashi Sashiko Workshop (Advanced)

*Prerequisite: Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Basic&Core)

(Previous in 2018)

  • July 22nd, Sunday, 9:45 pm to 12:45 pm for 3 hours | Great success! Thank you.

(Open to Enrollment)

Please wait for the update.


Online Sashiko Workshop (In Progress)

For those who cannot travel to NYC, Online Sashiko Workshop is a possibility. Please fulfill the form to inform us about the preferences. The more preference we have, the easier it is to offer the Online Workshop.

Sashiko Stitching and more.

As you know, Sashiko has been a big part of my life. I was born in a Sashiko family, and I grew up surrounded by Sashiko artisans and their Sashiko.

Once, I thought Sashiko wouldn’t be necessary in 20XX. In my youth, the technology and innovation attracted me and Sashiko was merely a burden to me. After several years of focusing on mindfulness, I realize that I would like to pass down Sashiko to the next generation, to the day in 20XX.


Sashiko is a form of stitching developed in Japan. There are many reasons why the Japanese had developed this stitching customs, and the reasons illustrate what the Japanese culture is like pretty well. Therefore, I would like to share not only the stitching techniques but also the “mindset” behind the Sashiko culture. 

I believe, our Sashiko workshop (especially Sashiko Stitching Workshop – Core & Basic) is the best place to do so. The participant will receive a whole package of what we would like to pass down.


No more Judging.

My goal is to stop judging myself throughout Sashiko. I hope, so is yours.

Being good at Sashiko isn’t that difficult. Sashiko is a form of stitching after all. However, we believe Sashiko is more than just mere stitching. It is the wisdom (pride and courage) from the Japanese who survived in the severe winter. There is no such a thing as “right” or “wrong” in Sashiko. However, there is techniques we developed over time to make it more beautiful, easy, and after all enjoyable.


Most importantly, our goal for you is to share how fun & enjoyable Sashiko can be. Sometimes, Sashiko can be too addictive.

In 2017 and 2018, I have taught Sashiko to over 100 participants to the Sashiko Workshop. Although I always get nervous before the workshop, I have a confident that everyone can have the eye-opening experience in our Sashiko Workshops.


Please consider our workshop as an opportunity to enjoy Sashiko more.

If you don’t know anything about Sashiko, it is the great way to start. If you already know about Sashiko, then it is a great way to add the technique and knowledge to your art-work.


Sashiko Workshop Schedule 2019 | Help us to have more workshops in NYC.

Since the instructor Atsushi is located in the central PA, about 4 hours of driving away from NYC,  we cannot offer the workshops as often as we would like to do. In addition, Atsushi’s main role, continuously in 2019, is to be a homemaker father (cooking, cleaning and such).

Realistically speaking, offering Sashiko Workshops 3 ~ 4 times a year is a reasonable amount to plan the schedule.

However, we are willing to offer as many workshops as possible. Even more than 4 times per year if there is a need.

In order to do so, we need a certain amount of participant in the workshops. We would like to know how many people in the East Coast are willing to join the Sashiko Workshops. Please share your passion by posting comments here and/or registering yourself to our mailing list (from the top page) with checking “Yes” to the workshop notification.

You can also email me here to let me know you are very much interested. I have a separate email list to send out the workshop specific date before writing the main newsletter. 

We are looking forward to meeting you & hearing from you!

Sashiko Fukubukuro Cover

Sashiko Fukubukuro 2019 with fortune in it.

The Japanese have an interesting custom to celebrate the new year with purchasing “lucky-bag” so-called Fukubukuro (A bag filled with fortune). A Fukubukuro contains many merchandises to start the new year’s activity. According to the documents, a draper in Edo period started selling their items in a bag on the first day of their business. I thought it would be fun to follow this custom even in the US, to celebrate the new year of 2019 with Sashiko. Here is Sashiko Fukubukuro from Upcycle Stitches.

Detail of Sashiko Fukubukuro

Traditionally, a customer will not know what is inside of a bag. The core concept is the idea of “blind bag”. However, I would like to avoid any miscommunication and disappointment… so I will introduce what will be inside the bag below. The color of the thread and which items in the bag will be the idea of “Lucky Bag”. 

*All the photos are the sample contents. Colors and items insides are subject to change, but the photo explains what you can expect to get.

*Sales starts January 4th at 1 pm EST.

A. Keiko Bag – Sashiko Thread Fukubukuro

This “A Keiko Bag” will have 7 skeins of Sashiko thread that Keiko uses every day. It will include at least 3 Naturally Dyed Sashiko thread, hand-dyed by Keiko.

Atsushi will pick up the colors. The possible colors you will get are following:


*The total retail value will be no less than $112.20.

As you may know already, we rarely offer the sales deal. I hope you can enjoy this Fukubukuro to try out our beautiful & the highest quality Sashiko Thread.

I prepared 7 bags. The rule of  First come First serve will be applied. 


The price is $98.00 including the US Domestic Shipping by USPS. I can make an international shipment, but the extra shipping fee will be applied. 

Sashiko Fukubukuro
The sample of Natural Dye Sashiko Thread. Atsushi will pick 3 colors out of these beautifully hand-dyed Sashiko Thread, including Indigo, Kakishibu, and other botanical Dyes.

B. Azu Bag – Sashiko Related Items Fukubukuro

This “B. Azu Bag” will have Sashiko related items for anyone to maximize their Sashiko experience. 

The items are selected randomly, and here is a list of the possible items you may expect to receive (Please understand that it will NOT contain everything I mention here. I will choose items from this list). 

​Please contact me if you have any questions. I will make sure to meet your expectation and exceed the item’s value. My goal is to encourage people to start enjoying Sashiko.

A possible item list. The contents will be randomly selected by these. 

  • Sashiko Needles and thimble Set |
  • A few skeins of Sashiko thread | more than $35 in value
  • Fabric for Sashiko (Manufactured in Japan) | more than $20 in Value
  • Small Vintage Fabric swatch
  • A chalk pencil
  • A Pin Cushion
  • A grip scissors
  • Supplies to transfer the patterns to the fabric

The price for the “B. Azu Bag” is also $98.00 with USPS shipping fee included.

Terms and Conditions for Sashiko Fukubukuro

Please read the terms of “Sashiko Fukubukuro” service before you place the order. It is based on a concept of “blind bag” and “lucky bag”. Therefore, we will not accept any returns for the contents you receive. We will do our best to exceed your expectation in terms of values of contents. 


  • The Bags will be sold between January 4th (@1pm in EST) to January 18th in 2019. The sales continue while the supply last, and it may be ended before the final date.
  • The shipping will be made accordingly to the order. However, unlike the other regular order which usually is shipped in 1 business day, this order will take longer than that (Please expect a week to 2 weeks to be shipped). Regardless, all of the order will be shipped before the end of January.
  • We will not accept any return of cancel after the shipment. If you coule like to cancel the order, please let us know as soon as possible. 
  • The Sashiko Fukubukuro Bag may contain an item without original packaging. We will re-package and will send them in a nice condition.
  • The item may be an item which was “returned” as the sellable condition. No second hand item will be included (besides the vintage fabric).

Real “Fortune” reside in the stitches

I hope everyone enjoys Sashiko stitching in 2019 and encounter(make) the special Sashiko for yourself.

The photos above are the Sashiko bag Keiko made for our dear friend. The “fortune” is in our caring spirit and each stitches, and we offer “lucky bag” to make it happen.

Happy New Year of 2019!

*If you resides outside of USA and would like to check the special offer from Japan, please take a look at this article.

Is Sashiko Art Cover

Is Sashiko Art? | The origin of Sashiko as Folk Art

Well. This can be a bit surprising for some of you. When I question myself, “Is Sashiko Art?”, the answer I come up with is, “No, I do not think Sashiko is the (Fine) Art.

Sashiko isn’t the (Fine) Art for me. More precisely speaking, I would say, “Sashiko can be a form of Art, but Sashiko was not developed as the Art.” In other words, thanks to a friend of mine who gave me a good insight, “Sashiko is a form of Folk Art but not Fine Art.”

*After learning the difference between Fine Art, Folk Art, and general concept (big picture) of Art, I consider Sashiko can be the part of Art.

Some may disagree with me. I understand that the beauty of Sashiko item can be understood as the form of Fine Art. However, with considering the definition of Art and the origin of Sashiko, it is unnatural for me to say “Sashiko is the art”. 

Please bear with me here. I will try my best to explain the reasoning and logic behind it. This blog post is my challenge to explain why I say “No” to the question of “Is Sashiko Art?”

*Please understand that my intention to write about this topic is to figure out where I stand. I never intend to judge or criticize someone or someone’s art. In fact, I (Atsushi) am the one who would like to develop Sashiko as the art toward the future. However, most of the Sashiko artisans I respect including my mother Keiko, do not consider Sashiko as the Art (or Fine Art). In order to move forward, understanding Sashiko and its possibility is must-thing for me to do. I hope this article can give you another perspective of Sashiko. 

*English is my second language, and has been so long since I wrote an essay in English… forgive me any typo or grammatical error. I will do my best in correction when you point out some (but please be accepting, too. Being perfect in writing isn’t the goal here.)


Table of Content

  • Why do I care if Sashiko is Art or not? – my motivation
  • Art Terminology & Definition
  • Sashiko as a process of caring – not the result
  • Sashiko as the Folk Art – Mingei –
  • Categorization of Some Japanese Arts and Traditions
  • The whole discussion is for me (Atsushi)
  • The culture & Tradition alter over time. 
  • I respect not only the result but the concept behind it


Why do I care if Sashiko is Art?

First of all, I would like to explain why I care if Sashiko is Art or not. I understand that it is even ridiculous to define the words in Art. Understanding the Art itself is already abstract and subjective. If she/he thinks the item “A” is the art, the item “A” is the Art. 

Also, it is very true that we should simply enjoy the beauty of the result, and share the pleasure and joy of Sashiko art items. 

In 2018, throughout many Sashiko workshop opportunity, we have received numbers of compliments that we (Keiko and Atsushi) are the true Sashiko Artist. I enjoyed the positive feedbacks, and I called myself “Sashiko Artist” without even thinking deeply. I simply enjoyed what I do, and shared the pleasure of Sashiko.

Then, I just realize why I never considered myself as the artist before offering the workshop in the USA. I never thought of me an Artist in Japan. Keiko, who lives Japan, still don’t consider herself artist. 

When someone call me an artist, I have no problem with that. I don’t know what Art is yet someone find me an artist. It is absolutely fine.

However, when I title myself as the artist, I wanted to know what I meant by it. Without this, I cannot move forward to introduce the traditional Sashiko as well as possibly Sashiiko as the Fine Art (which I believe Sashiko is not).


Art Terminology & Definition

When we talk about the definition of an item, it is very important to make sure we all are on the same page of the other words’ definition and terminology. Here are several words I would like to define first.


The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

Fine Art

Creative art, especially visual art whose products are to be appreciated primarily or solely for their imaginative, aesthetic, or intellectual content.

Folk Art

Encompasses art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople. In contrast to fine art, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic


I realize the definition for the general “Art” is too broad to discuss my point. So, I would like to use these 2 words, Fine Art and Folk Art, to explain my ideas.

  • Fine Art has no functions to the necessity in life, there fore it is Fine Art.
  • Folk Art is developed for the necessity and we put the value as the art later on.

Therefore, I think, Sashiko is a form of Folk Art and not Fine Art. 

Sashiko as a process of caring – not the result.

I strongly believe Sashiko is the process of needle movement rather than the results of the mass of stitches. For the achievement of Sashiko, we appreciate the result of Sashiko stitching by the nameless Japanese who performed Sashiko stitching. Some of their achievements are called Boro, and we appreciate the beauty of it.

I wonder, if the Japanese thought of “Fine Art” when they practiced Sashiko stitching in the past. Probably not. It was merely a chore to survive through the severe winter in Japan. They would probably care about the family or their friends, and made stitches rather than worrying how beautiful and inspirational it would be as the art.

(*It is not a discussion of black and white. I also believe that the women who mended fabric with Sashiko cared the result as a beautiful pieces in their capacity with limited resources and time. However, it isn’t the Fine Art since they “could have” express more if they didn’t have to work for the purpose.)

In fact, “because of this caring stitches”, I believe Sashiko is so beautiful and inspirational. I feel unnatural by saying “Sashiko is the Fine Art” because I am probably scared of losing the taste of “Caring stitches.”



There is a machine which can make the even length (fairly long) stitches so called it Sashiko Sewing machine. People sometimes ask for my opinion about the Sashiko machine. I enjoyed watching what the machine can do. However, I know I wouldn’t use the Sashiko sewing machine because it doesn’t involve the core of Sashiko – enjoying a dialogue with fabric.

I have no problem with people using the sewing machine and calling it Sashiko. However, as the one who was born in Sashiko family and still practices Sashiko, I would like to be able to distinguish the beauty in preciseness and uneven (& caring) stitches.

  • The beauty of item is the secondary.
  • The process of stitching is the primary.

Then, the question kicks in.
In order to define Sashiko as the Folk Art, the item has to be made by nameless people. I use my name, Atsushi Futatsuya, and my mother’s name, Keiko Futatsuya, to stand out in the field. Would it be called Folk Art Sashiko?

I don’t know. This is the reason I started asking the question if Sashiko is the Art.

Strictly speaking, what we are doing may not be authentic Sashiko because we use our name. Furthermore, I am the one who wants to be the artist regardless of the original figure of Sashiko. Therefore, I wanted to make sure where I stand before I move forward in 2019.
(Keiko, my mother, never thought herself as the artist. She cares much using her name neither. What she cares is how to surprise the world by her enjoying Sashiko stitching. If you behold or possesses her Sashiko items, you should be able to understand this, but her stitches are full of caring and therefore it is so beautiful.)


Again, it seems I am the one who would like to call Sashiko the Fine Art. However, all of my experience and knowledge says it is not. So, this is merely a start of my long journey to re-define Sashiko. 

Sashiko as the Folk Art – Mingei – do they care how it looks? No.

Mingei Art Movement in Japan and Sashiko

The folk Art in Japan has its rich history. I introduce the Folk Art (Mingei Art) Movement in Japan in a separate blog article (Above). For more details, I recommend reading one of founder’s book, Yanagi Soetsu’s book. (


Generally speaking, Yanagi Soetsu defined Mingei by these 8 criteria.


  • Practical: made for practical usage, not for the display.
  • Nameless: made by unknown craftsman, and the craft is not made to be famous.
  • Mass-produced: In order to meet the demand from the people, the item were made in mass quantity.
  • Reasonable Price: Inexpensive price so the ordinal people could purchase and use.
  • Locality: The art item has a local characteristic such as color, shape, and patterns.
  • Division of Labor: For the mass production, the art item was made in the division of labors by skilled craftsman
  • Tradition: Following the tradition and wisdom the ancestors cultivated.
  • Collectability: The creation depend on the local tradition and climate rather than the individual skill

Sashiko was discovered as the part of Mingei movement (In Northern part of Japan). Sashiko followed all of the 8 criteria above at some point. However. after the industrial revolution, we (including my Sashiko family) needed to alter its character and lost the sense of Mingei. In other words, Sashiko became unnecessary at some point in Japanese history, and only a few people kept the tradition and customs with non-Mingei reasons.


The Sashiko I was grown up with is somewhat nameless (brand name with about 50 nameless artisans), somewhat Mass-produced in a capacity of hand-made craft, and relatively reasonable as the local souvenir.


Sashiko I practice now after the difficulty to continue the family Sashiko is not nameless (although we have nameless artisans as well), somewhat Mass-produced but mostly one-of-a-kind, and expensive (although some say super reasonable for the amount of the work required).


As you can tell, the Sashiko we practice is not already following the strict rule of Mingei. However, (therefore), I feel unnatural to say Sashiko is the Fine Art. I feel Keiko and I would lose the other characteristic of Mingei by defining Sashiko as the art, which I am horrified to face to the risk of losing the core beauty of Sashiko.


I hope I am explaining enough why I started this – this blog entry is not for judging someone. It is for encouraging myself to move forward. I could keep going without defining Sashiko if I didn’t know that so many people get interested in Sashiko. Now, thanks to SNS, because I know there are many people who enjoy Sashiko, I feel obligated to explain the origin of Sashiko – to respect and appreciate more.

Categorization of Japanese Art


Here is another interesting story.

If you are fascinated by the beauty of Sashiko, you may compare Sashiko to the other Japanese beautiful traditional art and culture. We can name numbers of them.

A – Family & Organization

  • Kabuki (Performing Art)
  • Ikebana – (Flower Arrangement)

B – Traditional Craft certified by Japan

  • Edo Kiriko (Glass Art)
  • Yuzen (Kimono)

C – Locally Traditional

  • Misoshiru – (Miso Soup)
  • Sashiko
  • Origami

Can you guess what the categorization I made for?

Category A is well known for the Japanese traditional Art (performing art). There are the “family” or “organization” to pass down the tradition. The one can be part of the family, but there is a very strict rule to follow.

Category B is known as the Japanese traditional Craft. Over the history, the Japanese developed so many traditional crafts with forming the artisans guild. The Japanese government certified those traditional crafts and trying to protect & pass them down to the next generation.

Category C is the other Japanese art, crafts, and culture which are not certified by Japan as the nation or don’t have the “Big (Celebrity) Family” to pass it down. The items I listed, Sashiko, Miso Soup, and Origamis are (were) so ordinary for the Japanese to form the organization to protect them, therefore they didn’t become the Japanese “traditional” art, crafts or culture, which leads to my saying, “There is no such a thing as right or wrong in Sashiko” because of this categorization.

It also explains why I feel unnatural to call sashiko the (Fine) art.



Let’s say, you are an American, and eat a slice of pizza regularly. Would you call a slice of Pizza as the art? Well, the artisan made a beautiful and skillful pizza for you. Would you feel a bit strange to call it the Art?


Anything can be the art. Yes.

If the artist uses Pizza to make the fine art, it can be a form of Fine Art (if the audience defines it as the art.) However, if a regular chef is merely creating the tasty and beautiful pizza, then the people started calling his work as the art, wouldn’t he feel a bit strange?


Sashiko isn’t Pizza. I understand. We cannot eat Sashiko, nor we cannot stitch pizza. However, this is the foundation of my question. I sometimes feel like people fantasize Sashiko. Sometimes, the saying sounds like the exaggerated phrase in comparison to what Sashiko is. It is perfectly fine that people understand anything from Sashiko. However, it is a different story if I, as the creator, start exaggerating what it is without realizing that I am exaggerating.


Again, I am also the one who would like to bring Sashiko to the Art. In order to do so, I need to share all of my knowledge and wisdom, then I can feel easy on moving forward.


The whole discussion is for me, Atsushi.

Thank you for reading this far. As you may have understood by now, the whole discussion of “Is Sashiko Art?” is for me. The more I read the comments I received on Instagram and Facebook, the more I understand that I am the one who would like to be the Artist.

You may say, “You can be the artist if you think so.”
Yes. It is very true.

However, the fabric I stitch on may not feel the same. The thread I am stitching with may disagree. The hand I am moving doesn’t appreciate the decision that I make. The 30+ years of experience in Sashiko is not all about stitching. It is the experience with Sashiko in my childhood. I believe I am the one who saw the Sashiko items the most in my generation.

I once cursed my fate. I now appreciate my privilege.
The artisans who I grow up with would not think of themselves as the artist. I asked Keiko if she would consider herself an artist. Her answer was as simple as “No” after questioning me why I ask her such a stupid question.
Following, she also explained a bit.

It is her pleasure that her clients (customers) think of her achievement as the (Fine) Art. However, I do not consider myself as the Artist. I simply enjoy the conversation with the fabric, bringing the “unused” fabric to the stage again where people would wear or use in their life. I am merely a Sashiko artisan.

I respect her as well as the other artisans I feel like the family to me. If I would follow their path, I would never consider Sashiko as the (Fine) Art. It is the end of the story, and I wouldn’t need to bring up the definition & terminology because the other’s perception wouldn’t change their attitude and understanding.

I, on the other hands, have both sides of understanding – Sashiko as the “merely” stitching and Sashiko as the “super cool” art.

In order to integrate these 2 extreme concepts, I needed to understand where I stand.

The culture & Tradition alter over time.

Over time, the culture and tradition alter its form. So does Sashiko.
Sashiko started as the wisdom in survival through the severe winter in Japan. The poor the Japanese were in the rural area, the more people needed to do the stitching. We call it Sashiko.

At the same time in the history, at other places where were a bit richer than the other places, the Sashiko formed its necessity as strengthening the fabric instead of mending or filling the gap. Also, over time, Sashiko changed its stance to decorative stitching for those who couldn’t dye patterns out.

Sashiko was developed as a form of stitching by the ordinary Japanese people. It is perfectly natural to observe some changes, and it is as perfectly natural to enjoy the transformation in this era by other people’s necessity and intention.

Again, we can call anything “Art” and they can define Sashiko as they want. I am not titled to accept or deny any interpretation of Sashiko. One can just grab the needle and make some stitches, then she/he can call it Sashiko.

Sashiko can be as simple as that. At the same time, however, for those who would like to enjoy Sashiko sincerely, I would like them to understand the primitive form of Sashiko. It is my fate to verbalize some of the shame the Japanese had been holding throughout Sashiko and Boro-Making process.

The Boro as the sign of Shame


Sushi started its path as the fast food for Samurai and civilians in the Edo period. The reason we use “Wasabi – the green spice” is for the bactericidal action in eating raw fish on the street. In this century, Sashiko became a synonym of Japanese food, with a hint of fancy and expensive yet healthy & popular food option available.


Sashiko can be like Sushi, too.
One day, people may call the process of “repurposing a garment” Sashiko. Or, simply, hand-stitching on a piece of fabric may be called “Sashiko”. I do not know how “we” transform Sashiko’s culture.

Regardless of the change, I believe, someone needs to keep mentioning the origin and the logical side of the traditional culture. Most of the traditional culture and craft, (which lead to the Folk Art) have a logic behind it. For example of Sushi, Wasabi is not only for the tasting. It has a role of protecting the customer from food poisoning. So is the same in Sashiko. The size of needles has the meaning. The thimble has its own role. The Sashiko thread has a completely different purpose in comparison to the other sewing thread.

When we know those “wisdom”, I believe we can enjoy the culture more and more.

Furthermore, as a sort of conclusion, this is the reason I do not categorize Sashiko in the Fine Art. Fine Art, the artist doesn’t need to explain anything (in my understanding.) It can be conceptual as well as inspirational. Sashiko… as long as I know, Sashiko still requires some explanation to be “stunningly beautiful”.

Again, please understand it is NOT about good or bad. Fine Art is fantastic, and so is Folk Art. I am here to explain the difference so that I may be, one day, start calling myself “Artist” instead of “craftsman or artisan”

*I have called myself “artist” before without knowing the definition at all… so, here I am now.


I respect not only the result but the concept behind it

I understand Sashiko is getting popular because of its simplicity, beauty, and idea of visible mending. I respect those who translated and introduced the idea of Sashiko to their own culture and developed it. One day, I would like to meet everyone who enjoys Sashiko and talk about Sashiko and its cultural meaning to us.

For me, Sashiko is a whole package of ordinary Japanese days for the ordinary Japanese people. Sashiko communicate the women’s pride in the severe condition. We can learn how Japanese people behaved throughout learning the mindset of Sashiko. Therefore, I respect not only the result of beautiful stitching but also the concept behind Sashiko.

Here is a list of mindsets I am determined to share throughout Sashiko, this website and our Sashiko Workshops. I have been saying it over the Instagram & Youtube live streaming, and I will do so in 2019 as well.

  • There is no such a thing as Right or Wrong in caring someone (and oneself).
  • The Caring is the best thing we can do. The emotion doesn’t have to be positive. It can be sometimes negative like jealous or hatred. I believe the opposite of Love is not “Hatred”, it is “Ignorance”
  • We would like to introduce a moment of “no more judging”, to someone, and especially to oneself throughout Sashiko. The Sashiko stitches are merely the result of needle movement. No one, including oneself, would judge it good or bad. Instead, we would like to think of someone who may be happy by looking at the stitches.

In summary (long story short)…

  • No right or Wrong.
  • Be mindful about what you feel.
  • No more Judgement (Observe what you do)

I believe you know an activity which satisfies the three criteria above. It is a “meditation”. I feel Sashiko is a very good meditative stitching. Probably, the Japanese people in the past used Sashiko for the meditative purpose (I don’t know if it is true). For more stories about Sashiko and meditation, please wait for my next writing.

I hope I have explained enough why and how I think Sashiko is not the (Fine) art, (yet). As I mentioned in the beginning, writing in English is always a big challenge to me. I will proofread over and over again, and probably change some of the writing. Regardless, what I wrote here is my sincere message & honest understanding about Sashiko.

Please leave a comment if you agree, disagree, got inspired, or even found a problem. I am open to correct (if I find it a problem) and discuss further more.

Thank you for reading this long blog entry.

Enjoy the rest of 2018, and Happy New Year of 2019.

Happy Sashiko New Year
Sashiko Live Steaming Cover

Sashiko Live Streaming | As is work of Atsushi

One of the significant change for Atsushi in 2018 is the Sashiko Live Streaming on Instagram and Youtube. In 2017, we started broadcasting our Sashiko stitching throughout the web cam. With seeing the increase in demand, we kept going and going. In 2018, we hosted more than 100 Sashiko Live Streaming in a year. We intend to continue this Sashiko Live Streaming with introducing who we are, the “as is work” of Atsushi with no editing and no hiding.  


Sashiko Live Streaming may be boring

It is just a view of me hand-stitching after all. In comparison to the other Live Streaming such as Game Playing Broadcasting, the Sashiko Live Streaming can be very boring. As of today, I am okay with the fact it is boring. 
I want this Sashiko streaming to be the opportunity to anyone to watch someone’s Sashiko stitching, relax, be mindful, and learn a bit by watching someone doing it. Therefore, the Live Streaming is not designed for teaching some of the Sashiko technique we practice. I am happy to answer any questions regarding Sashiko, but I wouldn’t stop moving my hands to demonstrate the technique of skill. 

Learn by observing | No teaching 

In Japanese craftsmanship, “teaching” is something very unnatural. A disciple is supposed to learn by just observing the master. They didn’t value (or build) the structured curriculum to teach the technique and culture.


For example, in Sushi chef industry, a disciple’s job for the first few years would be just cleaning the restaurant. He/she will get the opportunity to sneak into the kitchen and observe the master’s work when he/she isn’t that busy. Then, they can move up by mastering the skill (without any structured lessons), then become a Sushi chef after 10 years of training. 

*There is a discussion of how inefficient it is to pass down one culture to the next generation without actually teaching the skill. I somewhat agree with it. If one culture decides to make a structured teaching opportunity to pass down its tradition, the more people may join to get the skill. It probably won’t take more than 10 years to get the “skill” of making good Sushi. However, in a process of “observing”, we get something else rather than the technique or skill. It is not good or bad, I would say. As a Sashiko craftman who wishes to pass down Sashiko to the next generation, I try to do everything I can to “teach” Sashiko, but I sincerely respect the culture of “learning by observing”.


I am also one of this case. I barely remember the lessons I got from my family. I was raised in the environment where everyone was doing Sashiko. I learne a lot from them, but not much the structured technique or skills. All of the materials for the Sashiko stitching workshop is our original based on our 30+ years of experience. 

So, it may be boring to watch someone’s hand-stitching for a hour or so. However, I hope I can communicate some of the technique, skill, and mindset of Sashiko by showing them to you, and you learning them by observing it.


Language As my Challenge


I am a Japanese who was born and raised in Japan. I came to the United States after my high school to attend the university, but I could’t even order a glass of milk when I landed to the US for the first time.

(*I knew how to order by saying, “Can I have a glass of milk” grammatically but the pronunciation of milk was something completely different from the English we speak now.)


For the live streaming, I intend to talk in both language, Japanese and English. I would like to introduce Sashiko in Japan as well. My intention is to be balancing the language out, but I tend to speak more Japanese in the live streaming because of 2 reasons below.

  • The numbers of Japanese viewers who gave me comments to talk about.
  • English my second language after all.

In order for me to keep trying to talk in English in Sashiko Live Streaming, your contribution to the Live streaming by leaving the comment and small questions are very much appreciated. In order to be fair to those who visit the live-streaming often, I may not repeat the same explanation over and over again, but I will provide the link to the website page where you can find the answer. 

For exaple, the most frequent question is “why does Atsushi make a loop at the end of Sashiko stitching.” The answer can be found on this blog post I wrote.

Why loops in Sashiko Running Stitching

Join us and make it more comfortable for you

Your contribution to the live streaming would be so helpful to make the Sashiko live streaming more English friendly. Again, I do not intend to exclude any non-Japanese. Because of the opportunity that I can speak in English, I end up with talking a lot in Japanese.

Of course, there may be a time that I would like to talk just in Japanese. I would mentioned that in advance, and will never exclude the comments in English without any reasonable explanations. (Please understand that the live streaming isn’t the “teaching & learning” opportunity. If you are interested in learning Sashiko systematically, please consider taking the Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core and Basic) by Atsushi.


We look forward talking to you over the screen.

Sashiko Packaging Philosophy Cover

Sashiko Packaging Philosophy and Gift Wrapping

Sashiko’s core concept is Japanese philosophy of “Mottainai – too good to waste.” Since I am in the culture of Sashiko deeply, some people may misunderstand me that I am an extreme ecologist. Probably, interested in our Sashiko Packaging Philosophy ?

Well. Yes. I care about the environment as a normal person do. I try to recycle as much as I can. However, it doesn’t mean that I banned using all of the plastic bags and necessary packaging. In fact, I believe that the nice & neat packaging is a form of art.

At the same time, I respect and follow the core of Sashiko, which is “re-purpose.” Therefore, some of the packing materials may be from the previous order I received from other online store. It is my mission to “repurpose” things by adding a human touch. 

Caring as Sashiko Packaging Philosophy

We call Sashiko “Stitches with Caring”. The same concept applies to the Sashiko Packaging Philosophy.

I always make a package with brown shipping paper with proper bubbling if necessary. Then, covered with the plastic bag and then send the item in a durable plastic shipping bag. 

As I mentioned above, I care about the environment. At the same time, I also care how the customer feels when she/he receive it. The items shouldn’t be wet or damaged. It should be in the best condition available.

Gift Wrapping for Sashiko order

I learned that there is a need for the gift wrapping service.

The basic, yet nice and tidy packaging like the photo attached, is for free. You may use ribbons to make the official gift.

I can use the fancier wrapping paper with colorful ribbon with the extra fee. We do not use the box because of the shipping fee we set. If you are interested, please contact Atsushi first so I can give you the estimate. 

Also, please let us know if you would like to have the package slip in the items wrapping or outside of wrapping yet inside of shipping package.  

Sashiko Holiday Deal 2018 Cover

Sashiko Holiday Deal 2018 | Ichigo Ichie

One of the most significant paradigm shift that Sashi.C0 & Keiko Futatsuya had was the redefinition of the value of gradient (or uneven) colors we once define a mistake. As a few holiday deals from us, we decided to use this unique gradient colored thread as the Sashiko Holiday Deal 2018.

Sashiko Holiday Deal 2018 4
Beautiful Gradient Green from Natural Indigo

We have been pleasantly introducing this gradient colored Sashiko thread as “Murazome” Sashiko thread.  In the process of making this one-of-a-kind Murazome (gradient) natural Dye Sashiko thread, we realize how it is similar to a Japanese mindset of “Ichigo-Ichie (一期一会)”

Ichigo Ichie in Japanese & Sashiko

Ichigo Ichie (一期一会) means “one time, one meeting” in direct translation from the Japanese language to English. In other words, people translate Ichigo Ichie as the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I do not want to put this Sashiko Holiday Deal 2018 as that significant. Rather, I would like to focus on the beauty of encountering something one of a kind.

We, the Japanese, consider an encounter a “treasure”. Sometimes, people call it fate, miracle, or things that were supposed to happen as if the opportunity found you rather than you found the opportunity. 

For this Sashiko Holiday Deal 2018, I will choose the skein for you out of very small inventory of the Murazome Gradient Natural Dye Sashiko thread, which couldn’t be in the same drawer as the numbered-labeled thread with 10% discounted price. 

We rarely offer the discount, and you will get the one of a kind Natural Indigo Dye Sashiko Thread. 

Sashiko Holiday Deal 2018 2

The Detail of Sashiko Holiday Deal 2018

We will cover the shipping (Only US Domestic Shipping with USPS First Class mail). What you need to do is to make an order below with telling me your preference, either green or blue and light color or dark color. 

If you have the specific gradient color you would like to get, please check ourMurazome Natural Dye Sashiko thread page.  

The first Sashiko Pop Up cover

The first Sashiko Pop Up | 75 Collective

It was such a blast to be part of the Holiday Pop-Up event, 75 Collective, in TriBeca. We sincerely appreciate to your visit & we would love to attend the 75 Collective again in future. The 75 Collective was the first Sashiko Pop Up for us.

The First Sashiko Pop Up and continue

The first sashiko pop up 1
Japanese Boro, Sashiko Jackets, and much more.
The first sashiko pop up 2
Of course, Sashiko thread and other Sashiko supplies.

Since Atsushi operate Upcycle Stitches by himself as of 2018, it was a bit challenging to join the regular Pop-Up event. With trustworthy partners in the 75 Collective, I felt easy to have a pop-up table even while I was teaching Sashiko in the workshop.

The first Sashiko Pop-up to share what Sashiko is like to the broader audience, and I hope this continues in 2019.

Simply beautiful. Deeply Caring.

The 75 Murray building was simply beautiful to have this deeply caring pop-up event with conscious brand partners. 

The first sashiko pop up 4
The stage for the workshop. The workshop was filled with kids’ smile & laughter.
The first sashiko pop up 5
In the morning before the event opens. I am so happy to be part of this great team.

Natural Dye. Repurpose Fashion. Fair Trades.

The conscious fashion can provide us a lot of things to consider about what we wear. The fashion is part of who we are & what the human is like. Meeting those fashion brands’ founders and their friends helped me to learn how Sashiko can contribute to this trend. 

Sashiko Workshop & it continues.

The first Sashiko Pop Up 6

We also enjoyed our Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic) | Sashiko Workshop x 75 Collective. We hope to continue the Sashiko workshop in NYC. We may be able to come back to 75 collective next year. Keep following us for more update.

It is our pleasure to be part of 75 Collective. We sincerely hope that you can be part of this event next year (again), and keep enjoying these beautiful & concious fashion. 

Sashiko SlideShow Cover

Sashiko Slideshow | Preview of what we do.

Thanks to my friends, I may be able to have a booth at the pop-up event, 75 COLLECTIVE, for December 8th and 9th. If so, this is our first pop-up booth to display what we create. Since it was more than what I was imagining, I do not have many items and PR media prepared, pretty much only the name card. So I decided to make a Sashiko Slideshow to share the preview of what we do.

Sashiko Slideshow

Sashiko is a form of stitching, with appreciating what we have & caring someone we love. The Boro is the ultimate result of these caring stitching, Sashiko.

Sashiko isn’t for everyone. The form of hand-stitching with Sashiko will not change the world by innovation. However, for some people, it could be a great benefit for their ordinary lives. We sincerely hope that we can communicate the importance of “accepting” & ‘judging” place.’

75 Collective & Sashiko workshop

The founders of 75 Collective brands share the similar concepts: consciousness.

By me sharing Sashiko & its upcycling and repurpose culture, I am not advocating that we should go back to the primitive age, living in a cave with wearing the piece of rug. The core message I would like to share throughout Sashiko is that we can be satisfied without competing to be “nicer”. Focusing within and repurposing the items we used to love can give you a caring & loving time and result. I believe, the beautiful building at 75 Murray St in Manhattan, will be filled with beautiful items with the caring concepts. 

Sashiko Workshop is developed to share the same concept with actual technique to enjoy Sashiko Stitching. We have still a few spot left, so please consider to embrace your holiday with caring & warm Sashiko stitching.

Available Sashiko Workshop

  1. Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic) – It is the full-length Sashiko Workshop to experience the whole picture of Sashiko, including the core technique I want you to master
  2. Hint of Sashiko Denim Mending – This is a short version workshop with enjoying the actual process to mend denim with Sashiko stitching, 
Sashiko Slideshow End