I enjoy hearing from Sashiko Workshop participants after they finish their project at home. A Sashiko Workshop Graduate makes very beautiful Sashiko pieces. Today, let me introduce a beautiful Sashiko patched Jacket from a student who overcame the challenge of learning how to do Sashiko stitching.
Beautiful Patches by Sashiko Workshop Graduate makes
A workshop graduate patched a vintage Jacket with Japanese vintage fabric with Sashiko stitching. The patching and stitching make it “one-of-a-kind” jacket. It is so unique and exclusive. This jacket could be displayed on the shelf of fashion store, I believe. I am so proud of her continuing her stitching experience.
I do not teach how to make patches in the workshop, but the basic Sashiko stitching technique can be very useful in your stitching project.
Our Sashiko Workshop will give you more possibility
In 3 hours basic Sashiko workshop, I focus on sharing how to use the Sashiko Thimble and long Sashiko needles. By learning the method, you will experience the “speed” of Sashiko stitching. The faster your stitching goes, the more project you can make. It is the first step to makes “more” to have “better” result. Only practice makes it perfect.
Learning the new method can be challenging to many people, especially those who have previous stitching experience. However, I will not give up teaching you unless you decide not to follow the technique we use.
*Please be advised that the method we use it NOT the universally “right” method. We established the stitching techniques and follow it since we believe this is the most productive and efficient. There is no need to follow it. It is up to you. Our goal is to share the Sashiko stitching to the world.
I hope you can join our team to enjoy Sashiko more by stitching more!
Upcycle Stitches LLC is an official distributors of Coron Sashiko Thread in the United States. Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya has a good partnership with Coron manufacture and Keiko obtain the permission to distribute their thread in the United States for us.
We have in stock these colors.
15 Solid Colors
5 Variegated Colors
2 Original Colors (Dyed Synthetic but looks natural)
Store to purchase Coron Sashiko Thread
We have 3 online channel to sell Coron Sashiko Thread. Please choose the channel in your preference. We occasionally offer coupons and deals.
In our official store, the bulk discount and open-order are available.
When they are out of stock
Because of our business size, we do not have a large inventory. Therefore, from time to time, the threads get sold out. Especially these colors of #10 and #15 are very popular, and they may be sold out. In a case of unavailability due to inventory, please contact us for open-order. We will make sure that you would get as soon as possible without extra fees. Waiting time will not exceed 2 weeks after receiving the open order.
Coron Sashiko Thread is one of the best Sashiko thread.
We have been so many years of relationship with Coron Thread Manufacture Company. We sincerely believe their thread is one of the best thread available in the market. They are made in Japan and made from Egyptian Cotton 100%. They aren’t the cheapest option, but the price is reasonable considering the length of thread (145-meters) and the quality. In fact, it is the best option to get the better Sashiko result. I always use Coron Sashiko Thread and merely use the other brand thread.
I hope you find these thread appropriate (the best) to your Sashiko project.
Keiko Futatsuya is a founder of Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya and a Sashiko artist herself. What makes her so special is her Sashiko designing sense. She always surprises me with her new Sashiko design. I believe she is a type of genius in Sashiko designing.
30+ years of Sashiko experience
Keiko studied a dressmaking in vocational school after she had graduated high-school. When she was in early 20’s, she married to Yuichi Futatsuya, who was the second generation of Sashiko business. First, she wasn’t allowed to make Sashiko art pieces for sale since she was an outsider and didn’t share the traditions. However, regardless of strict restriction, she learned how to stitch from other Sashiko artisans and enjoyed the beauty of Sashiko. Even when her products didn’t line up on the store shelve, she kept making Sashiko art. It is simply because she liked Sashiko.
After so many years of Sashiko experience, Yuichi and I decided to shift the Sashiko business from “making many small products as craft” to “making one-of-a-kind art.” In the process of making one of a kind art, Keiko’s sense of Sashiko designing finally got a spotlight.
It isn’t easy to anticipate the result in Sashiko
In terms of Sashiko stitching, she doesn’t have the best skill. Although her Sashiko technique is sufficient to call her artist, her significance is to anticipate the result in Sashiko and Vintage Fabric combination. For example, a woman in her 70’s, who is also a part of Keiko’s Sashi.Co team, has the supreme Sashiko technique. Her hands move like a machine and Keiko strongly depends on her skill. However, the supreme Sashiko technique doesn’t connect to the ability to make a beautiful Jacket.
*Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya is a group of Sashiko artisans. Not all the Sashiko stitchings are done by Keiko, but everything is supervised by Keiko.
Keiko’s basic knowledge of dressmaking, her 30 years of observing and enjoying Sashiko, and her design sense make this completely exclusive collection possible.
It isn’t easy to anticipate the result of Sashiko product. It may look on a paper, on a computer screen, or even on a process of matching the fabric and thread. However, the result can be very different from what we imagined after stitching Sashiko on the actual fabric. It is the beauty of hand-making art.
Things Only Keiko Futatsuya can do
In addition to her Sashiko designing sense, she has a great technique to repair the BORO.
The 2 photos below is the Boro of before and after. In order to complete this challenging repair project, the artist has to have an understanding of the vintage fabric, good Sashiko techniques, and the sense of matching all the vintage fabrics. By looking at these results, I cannot change my mind that she is the genius in Sashiko stitching and Boro repairing.
Keiko Futatsuya is a supervisor of Upcycle Stitches LLC operation regarding Sashiko such as workshops, tutorials, and articles. If you have any questions about her, please contact us. She doesn’t speak English, but I am happy to translate your question and ask her on behalf of you. Please be advised that the question and answer may be shared on this website after getting the permision.
Atsushi Futatsuya offers Sashiko Workshop mainly in East Coast of the USA, NYC and Brooklyn Area. (Atsushi lives in PA, 4 hours driving from NYC.) In order to learn Sashiko from him, attending the in-person workshop is the best way. Alternatively, the Online Sashiko Class is available for those who wish to learn without traveling.
Here, let me please introduce myself to share why I am running this website.
I was born in Sashiko Family
Did you have a “planned future” that your family kept mentioning?
I was born in a surviving Sashiko Family in Gifu prefecture, Japan. In my childhood, my friends were Sashiko artisans who worked in our family business. There was a pile of fabric, scary numbers of needles and thimbles, and so many colored threads. I strongly remember many people told me that I will take over the business when I get older. It was the Japanese tradition for the first-born child to take over the family business, especially in the traditional crafting family.
And, of course, I hated my fate.
Regardless of my Sashiko techniques I naturally learned, I purely didn’t want to be in the Sashiko business in my adolescence. It wasn’t easy to get out of the rails many people prepared, so I decided to get out from the country. I decided to go to the university in the States.
Sashiko Business to Sashiko life-style
After I had graduated from the university, I started working in Tokyo. I still didn’t want to take over Sashiko business. My parents were still 50’s, and I thought I could avoid a serious conversation about who would be responsible to the family business later on.
However, in 2008, my father called me if I could help him to run the business. The business went into a bad debt, and they could use some help from financial aspects. After deep consideration, I decided to go back to the family business mentioning that I am only doing so to “help,” not “take over.”
Sashiko as Business is very difficult to operate
After I spend some weeks checking the financial sheets, I realize that the Sashiko as a business could be very difficult to operate. In Sashiko, almost everything is hand-made. The keywords for business models of ordinary manufacture industry such as productivity, cost reduction planning, just-in-time system, and a lot more didn’t apply. I tried to understand the reason of debt. After all, recalculating all the possible cost, even if they are all done by hand and unique by one, helped to figure the “right” price. After two years of looking Sashiko with numbers, the company could avoid the bankruptcy. However, I couldn’t see the future. I didn’t find the possibility of growth.
Share what we are proud of
In 2010, I changed my mindset. Instead of focusing on growth, I started planning on “soft landing” of the business. It is almost impossible to make a fortune of money. However, I thought, it may be possible to “soft-land” the business so everyone can avoid the miserable bankruptcy. At that point, my mind shifted from numbers to what Sashiko actually is. I realize the beauty of Sashiko. It is the time I start trying to repair my denim jeans.
Around this time, I started introducing Sashiko in English. Then, I had opportunities to perform workshops in the Netherlands.
Why am I doing this?
As much as I enjoyed introducing Sashiko, the beautiful culture we were proud of, I started to wonder if why I was doing this besides the fact I was born in the family. I couldn’t find the purpose of sharing Sashiko, especially after I realize that Sashiko as a business may discontinue after elderly artisans stopped working for us. I coulnd’t reason myself to continue Sashiko business with sacrifice my days in 20’s.
Then, the Tohoku Earthquake occurred in 2011.
By supporting Tohoku throughout Sashiko, I realize the meaning of continuing Sashiko culture, to pass down the culture to the next generation.
After my father had passed away
In 2013, on October, my father had passed away unexpectedly.
Although my mind wasn’t ready to take over the business without my father, I had a determination that I was the one to take over his will to the company. I didn’t hate the fate I had as Sashiko Business Manager.
Long story short, life is full of dramas, my mother and I were fired by the new stakeholders who found out that the company had some cash. We knew the reason for this inhuman action. My mother and I were troublesome to deal with. We didn’t care about the short-term profit. We focused on how to continue the culture in form of a business entity. In 2013, I lost the identity as Atsushi Futatsuya as Sashiko business manager.
Upcycle & Sashiko Culture as Atsushi Futatsuya
After the unbelievable moment that our life changed, I decided to move to the United States. It was just too painful to stay in Japan. I told my mother that she could come with me, but she decided to stay in Japan. She had many friends, her precious dog, and my brother who just jumped into the society. She couldn’t just leave things behind. As much as I worried about her, we decided to start our new life without Sashiko.
Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya started in 2015
About June in 2014, my mother called me with a serious voice, saying “I would like to do Sashiko…”
She loves Sashiko. She couldn’t live without it. She could enjoy just stitching, but she also wanted to make big pieces and entertain people who love Sashiko. She asked me if I could help her to make her Sashiko as a business again. Although I was expecting to be a stay at home dad in the coming year, I agreed to help her to be Sashiko business owner. Then, she started the project called, Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya ~ Designing a life with Sashiko ~ with many helps around her.
What can I do as Atsushi Futatsuya?
Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya is getting bigger and bigger, and my mother enjoys her projects more and more. She provides beautiful Sashiko fabric to a fashion brand, she repairs the most beautiful Boros for a fashion designer, and she makes great Sashiko arts with her friends. Her income itself isn’t enough to support her days yet, but her enjoyment is what I value the most.
In 2017, I established a company called Upcycle Stitches LLC. This website is the company’s website.
I host Sashiko workshops. I provide Sashiko supplies and materials with sharing Sashiko techniques and skills. Based on my experience, it is my time to think what I can do as Atsushi Futatsuya, not as the 3rd generation of Sashiko business family.
It is our new journey to embrace Sashiko. My mission is to share what Sashiko is, to the world. Again, Hello world. This is Atsushi Futatsuya. I am a Sashiko Artisan and Curator of Sashiko Art.
We have been practicing Sashiko stitching for more than 30 years. The founder of Sashi.Co, Keiko Futatsuya, has 33 years of Sashiko experience and some of her friends (Sashi.Co member) have even more years of experience. I have about 8 years of experience. Well, I was born in Sashiko family, so I started holding a needle when I was a child to “practice” Sashiko. In these years, we accomplished many Sashiko projects and created many Sashiko Stitched Fabric.
A size of big enough to keep Sashiko stitched fabric
Let’s say, in order to make a jacket, we first trim the fabric and stitch Sashiko. Then, we cut the fabric based on the dress pattern (jacket pattern) to tailor them. In the process of tailoring, we have some leftovers. Leftovers are as valuable as the fabric we used for the project, so we do not throw them away. We keep it for the next project. The Japanese in past used to say, “if we have a size of fabric, large enough to wrap three soybeans, we would keep it.” In current society, the small fabric (or fragment) may not be as useful as before. Well, however, we kind of keep them anyway. We are proud of following the tradition and respecting the concept of ancestors although we may be just a type of hoarders.
We kept a pile of good Sashiko stitched fabric. Most of them are the type of vintage fabrics.
When we started to share the Sashiko technique, culture and mindset, we decided to provide this valuable fabric to someone who can share and appreciate the same concepts. Finally, I got enough time to introduce one by one, arranging a small pile of Sashiko stitched fabric.
Here is a list of articles about Sashiko stitched fabric available online.
Since most of the items is one of a kind product, we listed them on Etsy store. You can view them on our Etsy store, too.
Upcycle Stitches / Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya are a group of Sashiko artisans and craftspersons. Usually, we have a plan ... Read More
Ideas of enjoying the piece of Sashiko fabric
I love these Sashiko stitched fabrics since they are the best material for mending project. The vintage fabric with strengthing by Sashiko is always a good idea to repair my garment beautifully. I hope you would be able to find your favorite fabric for your favorite fashion item.
Also, our customer shared a nice idea of its usage.
After trimming the edge of the fabric, then put it in a frame. It would be a nice wall decoration. It could be a part of quilting or/and patchworking project.
If you have done any Sashiko project by using our Sashiko Stitched fabric, please share your idea with us. I would love to introduce it on this website. People would love your work and ideas!
Upcycle Stitches / Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya are a group of Sashiko artisans and craftspersons. Usually, we have a plan in our mind when we start a Sashiko project. The purpose of Sashiko stitching can be making a Sashiko Jacket from Japanese vintage fabric. Or, it could be preparing a piece of fabric with Sashiko for the Jeans mending project. Meanwhile, we just enjoy the Sashiko stitching itself without having a purpose. From time to time, we pile these Sashiko Swatches which we enjoyed and the piece of fabric which we didn’t use in the big project. We decided to sort our inventory (pile) and sell them as the “one-of-the-kind” Sashiko Swatches.
We enjoyed. Please use them for your Sashiko project.
Every Sashiko swatches are, of course, hand-stitched by a member in either Upcycle Stitches or Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya. Most of the fabric is Japanese vintage fabric, and Indigo dyed. Otherwise, I will specify the materials and dye methods. Please be advised that sometime we forget how we obtained the fabric. When you see the comment of “no proof,” it means “our best guess.”
It would be very wonderful materials/supply for your Sashiko project, especially for mending or repairing project.
As of now, the Sashiko swatches are available on our Etsy website. They are one of the kind products. Once it is sold, we won’t be able to make the same swatches.
I hope you can use these beautiful Sashiko swatches for your long-appreciating Sashiko project. These are strong fabrics because of Sashiko. These are beautiful fabrics because of time (vintage). By using this fabric, you step forward to make BOROs in future.
Keiko Futatsuya, my mother / a Sashiko artist in Japan, visited an unbelievable place regarding a hidden Sashiko culture – Tokiyama Sashiko (時山さしこ）. In a small village called Tokiyama, where there are no grocery stores around, the people discovered their own Sashiko culture in 1990’s from ground. They tried to pass this culture down to the next generation by exhibiting Sashiko/Boro pieces and sharing Sashiko workshops.
Since the people in Tokiyama knew Keiko from her previous work, the designer in Hida Sashiko. they warmly welcomed her and share their story with her and her friends.
Yes. I mention it right. Discovered Boro from Ground
We, who live in the 21st century, value BOROs as a beautiful art piece. Patches and repeated stitching make unique visual art like abstract drawing. In the past, a few hundred years ago, the Japanese had a different feeling comparing to the value we had. The feeling was opposite to beautiful value, the shame. Regardless of its beauty, the BOROs were the symbol of Shame.
In Tokiyama village, Sashiko repaired Jacket represented poverty. People considered the more a family possesses Boros, the poor they were. They felt ashamed of wearing Boros and repairing Sashiko jacket, which they didn’t have any choice not to do. When they had a pile of Boros and mended clothes which they couldn’t repair much any longer, they bury Boros in the ground to hide the shame they held.
In 1990’s, people learned that there was a Sashiko culture in Tokiyama hundreds of years ago, dug these BOROs and Sashiko jacket from the ground. Indeed. They have BOROs from Ground. Some of them transformed its touch, the cotton became like a felt after getting the pressures under the ground.
Unbelievable Testimony of Sashiko by Tokiyama Sashiko
Sashiko formed its culture in many places in Japan, where are rural places with a lot of snow and severe winter. In these places, they developed their own Sashiko culture where Sashiko was a work for women to repair men’s jacket. Regardless of the numbers of culture’s footprints, it has been very challenging to make a research about Sashiko.
Tokiyama Sashiko gave us a hint of understanding the difficulty of discovering the history of Sashiko. People felt ashamed of having the Boro and Sashiko Jackets. This great opportunity with Tokiyama Sashiko opened up the possibility to learn more about Sashiko.
We will visit them again, ask questions, and try to pass “Sashiko” down to the next generation together, without burying them in the ground.
Sashiko Dish Towel with using Sarashi Cotton Fabric is one of the most popular items in Sashiko stitching. There are many kinds of dish towels with Sashiko. If you are interested, google the keyword of “Sashiko Fukin“ and execute the online research. You will find many beautiful dish towels with Sashiko. Many books with Sashiko Dish Towels are published in Japanese as well.
Why Dish Towel with Sashiko stitching?
In past, Sarashi Cotton Fabric was relatively easy to get. The Japanese layered the Sarashi fabric and made dish towels for their everyday needs. It was an era people couldn’t waste anything. Of course, there were no paper towels. They tried to strengthen the fabric so they can use the towels repeatedly. They used the towel to wipe the dishes after rinsing. When the towel gets a bit dirty, they used it for wiping the table and other furniture. When the towel started torn or looks filthy, they used the towel to clean the floor. After these process, when the towel looks completely dirty, then they used it for cleaning toilets. I believe it is another form of Boro (if we can find the filthy dirty dish towel after they cleaned their toilet.)
In the process of shifting purpose for Sarashi towel, Sashiko always stayed there. Sashiko not only repair the fabric but it also strengthens the fabric.
Sarashi fabric absorbs water very efficiently. It is easy to clean. Therefore, the Japanese used the fabric for daily needs with Sashiko stitching.
Good practice fabric for simple running stitches and overlay stitching
In modern society, the needs for using a towel so many times repeatedly declined. Paper towels are so easy to use. (although we use the Sashiko Dish Towel in our days.) In our experience of producing Sashiko products, we realized that Sarashi fabric is very easy to stitch, soft to hold and loosen enough t0 practice the overlay stitching.
Sashiko with Dish Clothes is a form of culture because of reasons.
When you want to experience Sashiko in the traditional way, considering to make dish towel is a good option to enjoy Sashiko more.
We prepare the sample set to make Sashiko Dish Towel
I wanted to make it simple. I just wanted you to try the quality of Sarashi fabric and the fun of stitching.
We prepare a set of
A dish towel size of Sarashi Fabric (the edge trimmed for less trouble)
A small skein of Sashiko thread
A Sashiko needle
No need to follow our Sashiko techniques to use a unique Sashiko thimble or worried about making overlay stitching. If you could just enjoy the stitching and get interested in Sashiko, that is our pleasure.
When you would like to learn Sashiko, getting a good resource is necessary. There are many good books written about Sashiko in the market. Here, I introduce a Sashiko Pattern Book, with as many as 92 patterns in it. All the contents are written in Japanese…. therefore it may not suitable for everyone who is reading this blog. However, looking at the pattern will inspire you to create your next Sashiko project.
*You can check a part of the book contents from Japanese Amazon Site. They are all in Japanese, but just click the photo of this page so you will see a pop-up page with sample pages.
It is inspiring by just looking at Sashiko Pattern Book
Sashiko is all about your inspiration. There are unlimited numbers of patterns for Sashiko. The patterns are not only “Asano-Ha” or “Shippou.” Any stitchers can create their own patterns. However… it is very difficult to come up with stylish, cool and attractive patterns since Sashiko is different from drawing. Even if a drawing looks good on a sheet of paper, the drawing may not look good on the fabric after stitching. Creating a pattern is another challenging part of Sashiko.
No worries, though. We have all the patterns from past as asset. This book introduces as many as 92 patterns for Sashiko including the traditional ones and contemporary ones. It is inspiring to look at these patterns. The patterns will motivate you to do another Sashiko project.
We have some patterns for download as PDF.
You can download and use them as much as you want after one-time purchase. One package has 4 traditional Sashiko patterns including “Asano-Ha” or “Shippou”. The other is more modified based on the traditional patterns.
A process of transferring patterns on the fabric is easy. A piece of cake.
Are you worried about transferring pattern on the fabric? It is very easy when you follow the appropriate procedure. We introduce a process of transferring pattern on the fabric with unique materials. Every material is also available on this website with reasonable price.
Ah. It is one of our ultimate goals to write a book about Sashiko based on our 30+ years of experience and 50+ years of our history. I hope this website will be our milestone to write a book in future. We can focus on Sashiko as well as Boro and mending.
If you know any publisher who may be interested, or if you are the one who can publish a book, please contact us.
Sashiko requires a unique thimble in stitching. This is our first video with a challenge of showing how to use a Sashiko thimble. This is very important subject, so we will try to upload more sashiko tutorial videos.
Transfer Sashiko Patterns on to the fabric
A good Sashiko project does not indicate only stitching. The preparation of Sashiko fabric is a very important step to get the better Sashiko result. In this video, you can learn how we transfer Sashiko patterns onto the fabric. All of the supplies and materials are available online. Enjoy the video, and try it by yourself.
How to Not to make knots in Sashiko ~ Overlay Stitching
Most of the hand-stitching require the knots at the end of the thread to secure the stitching. In Sashiko, we occasionally do not make knots for the reasons. Instead of making knots, we secure the thread on the fabric by making overlay stitching. This is a video showing how to make overlay stitching instead of knots.
Making Itomaki Sashiko Thread Bobbin
Making Sashiko thread bobbin (ITOMAKI) is a minor project. However, it is very important to learn how to keep your Sashiko thread in a good shape. Sashiko thread is more expensive than the other types of embroidery thread. Our Sashiko thread has the length of the 145 meter and it is pretty long. Take a moment and watch the video so you will not waste any Sashiko thread you get.
Denim Jeans Repair ~ Preview
Sashiko is becoming famous because many people enjoy the Denim Repair. So do we.