handle Natural Dye Thread Cover

How to handle Natural Dye Thread & fabric

The soft color from the natural dyes is significantly different from the vivid color with chemical dyes. We enjoy the color of Natural Dye Sashiko thread, especially in a process of making “Boro” so that both fabric and thread can age – change color – together with overtime. We repeatedly tested the color stability, either if the color fades out by washing, before introducing them online. However, the Natural Dyed & Hand Dyed Sashiko thread & fabric require some attention and understanding of how to handle. The color will not be washed away by regular care for the natural dye. However, we do not recommend to throw them to the washing machine with detergent (which may have kind of “bleach” in it). Here, we introduce how to handle Natural Dye Thread and Fabric.

“Don’t” do list | Handle Natural Dye Thread with care.

First of all, please never use “Bleach” in washing and to handle Natural Dye thread. One wash with bleach may (and most likely “will”) completely wash away the natural color and make it bright white. The bleach is strong enough to do its job – to make it bright white.

The point we have to pay attention here is that some of “regular detergent” may contain the same chemical as the bleach in it. For example, if a detergent say “stain removal”, then the detergent may be too strong for the Natural Dye color.

Also, putting the Natural Dye thread and fabric in the water with detergent for a long time is not a good idea. The more time the color touches the detergent, the more color may be washed away.

Do list | How to well Handle Natural Dye Thread

Generally speaking, the natural dye doesn’t go well with the chemical detergent. In need of using the detergent, please choose the “Neutral Detergent”. Although it is quite easy to find them in Japan, I do not find the neutral detergent easily in the US (we can find them but quite expensive). In that case, please try to find the “gentle” or “soft” detergent and make sure to test the thread and fabric if the color will be washed out or not. In my experience, most of the color will stay on unless the detergent is “gentle” and washed gently. However, as a baseline, please handle Natural Dye thread with maximum Care.

Super beautiful color from nature. Although the core enjoyment of natural dye is to enjoy the color change, it is so sad to lose the color.

Summary of Do and Don’t


  • Hand-wash with no detergent. Or gentle wash with Neutral Detergent.


  • Using Bleach, or strong detergent which may contain Bleach.
  • Machine wash with long-cycle (or extra wash cycle).
  • Leave the thread or fabric in water (with detergent) for a long time.

Understand the reaction process

It is probably difficult to find a “Natural Dye” items in the mass-produced market. It is because the process of natural-dye requires a lot of attention and care. The color from nature will not stay on the thread or fabric by dipping them into a vat. It isn’t like a watercolor, putting paint on the paper.

The natural color stays on the thread and fabric by chemical reaction with a catalyst. We usually use the metal, such as iron or copper, to make the reaction happen. In another example, the Authentic Japanese Indigo Dye (Hon-Aizome), they use the oxidation process to create such a beautiful blue. The fabric and thread right after dipped in the vat looks somewhat “gray” or “brown”. In a process of oxidation (touching the air that contains oxygen), the beautiful Japanese blue comes out.

The chemical reaction doesn’t mean using chemical materials. Here, chemical reaction equals to Oxidation and Reduction. Vinegar will make the liquid more acidic and ash (such as wood ash) make the water more alkalinity. Either of acidic and alkalinity affects the balance of Natural Dye and could end up with washing out the color or changing the color.

Therefore, we strongly recommend using natural detergent, or just water.

The natural dye before the Industrial Revolution

One of the big reasons we use the Natural Dye thread is to recreate the beauty of Japan in hundreds of years ago – before the industrial revolution. Back then, in Japan, they did not have the chemical (artificial) detergent or bleach to wash the fabric. They did not have a washing machine either.

Instead, they washed the fabric and thread by hands with care (attention). I hope you would do the same when you handle Natural Dye thread and fabric.

By the way, this is my personal endnote (which may contradict what I had written so far). Anyhow, I DO wash my Sashiko Stitched Denim with the gentle detergent in a washing machine… I had washed probably more than 100 times over 1~2 years, but I can still see the thread color. The yellow from mountain peach looks more like white, but it still has yellowish color (I believe). I always wash it separately, with a gentle cycle of the washing machine, with a small amount of detergent as I feel. I sometimes do not add the detergent, but at some point, the jeans get smelly that we need some detergent… I hope you can find your own way to handle Natural Dye thread and fabric.

Shop our Natural Dye Sashiko Thread

Furoshiki DIY Set with Thread

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Product Details

I always say it is important to learn how to prepare the fabric.

Yes, it is important to learn. However, it doesn't mean that I enjoy it all the time. It is quite difficult to prepare the pattern on good thick fabric in a larger cut. It is very time-consuming, and from time to time, I get discourage to work on a big piece because what I wan to do is Sashiko, not pattern drawing on the fabric.

I am not the one in this situation.

It is important to learn. I want everyone to know how to prepare the fabric. However, it doesn't hurt to have the "ready-to-stitch" Sashiko fabric for our pleasure. So, I made it for myself as a popular Japanese wrapping cloth (Furoshiki - 風呂敷). Since it is well produced, I am offering it to the world.

The Furoshiki is made with our most popular Indigo Cotton Fabric (Cotton 100% - best suitable for Sashiko) with interesting pattern pre-printed with washable ink. I made it as a "Do-it-Yourself" Kit.

Regular Set Contents

  • Ready to stitch/use as a *Mihaba Furoshiki. Indigo Cotton Fabrick with the pattern pre-printed. Size About 42" x 42".
  • 2 skeins of Sashiko thread white thread (either #10, #12 or #T0). You may request to change the color from regular 15 colors. If you wish to replace it, please inform me via email or comment when you check out. Without specific request, we will send you white thread.
  • 1 set of a thimble & 3 Sashiko needles come with the set.
  • 1 set of DIY materials for the bag handle. I will make a video of how to make an instant bag out of Furoshiki fabric.

*Due to the lighting & combination with Indigo Dye fabric & thread, the photos of Sashiko sample has much lighter blue color. They are the same fabric. It is just how fabric looks different after stitching & based on the lighting. The fabric itself is dark Indigo color.

*Please be advised that this Furoshiki requires 1.3 ~ 2 skeins of thread to complete. You may choose 2 colors for 2 skeins in the Set, but there is a possibility of using 2 colors on the Furoshiki. If you are okay with make Furoshiki non-mono-color, I am happy to follow your preference. If you want to make it mono-color Furoshiki, please choose 2 skeins of same color thread.

*You may upgrade 2 skeins of Sashiko Thread (regular dye) to "any" 2 skeins of natural Dye thread with special value of $20.00. (Some of the threads has only 1 skeins left. Please contact me for the color preference).

*If you are a previous customer & do not need skeins of threads and/or a set of needles/thimble, please contact me. I will either offer you a store credit of your previous purchase or issue a coupon to deduct the appropriate amount from the Set.

*The fabric is Indigo Dye, but NOT Hon/Sei Aizome (Not 100% Natural Indigo dye based on the Japanese tradition).

[Ready To Stitch]

This fabric is ready to stitch following the pattern preprinted with the Unshin (Needle Movement). There are no stitches sized dot printed. You will enjoy the Sashiko stitching with your own rhythm & comfortable stitches size. I strongly recommend taking the Online Sashiko Class / In-person Workshop first with Upcycle Stitches to fully enjoy this big luxery Sashiko piece.

[Ready to Use]

Our Sashiko teaches us to make both side (front and Back) beautiful with using the technique called "Kasane". With following the technique, this Furoshiki will be ready in your days right after Mizutoushi process. 4 sides of the fabrics are trimmed (tailored) with a sewing machine. The center of the fabric is nicely patchworked and clearned with lock sewing machine. Then in order to adjust the pattern, 2 fabrics are secured with sewing machine so you can stitch over the seams as well.

[Available Modification to the Set]

Based on your preference, we can modify the Set contents.

  • If you prefer to not to have the threads, needles, and thimble, please contact me with the reciept of your purchase. If the order is made in UpcycleStitches/Etsy site, your email address is just fine to confirm. If you purchase it from Amazon, please let me know your order # so I can confirm it. I sincerely would like everyone to use our thread, needle and thimble at least once to fully enjoy Sashiko. If you have it already, I am happy to adjust the price. If you do not have them, please try them with this great DIY Set.
  • The fabric without "finishing (patchworking & tailoring)" is also available upon the request (Size of About 105 cm x 52cm). Since we prepare the fabric as a set of 2, the 1 sheet of fabric become relateively more expensive. The printing require some excessive fabric to line-up the pattern, the raw fabric with pattern on have different size for the seams.
  • The Furoshiki with Sashiko stitches performed (ready to use with Sashiko Stitching done by our artisans) is available as well. Please contact us for the pricing & lead time (Please expect a few month & the price range is about $500).
  • This product is not ready as a Set in the US yet. We are working on preparing as the set in Japan. Therefore, the price may go up without any notification when everything is ready in the US.
  • The size is called "Mihaba-Furoshiki (三巾風呂敷)". I will work on an article explaining about what is Mihaba Furoshiki is.
  • In order to print the pattern efficiently and nicely, the center may be patched either horizontally or virtically. On the photos collection, You can see 2 kinds of direction. When we look the fabric from the front side, the pattern will be the exactly the same. When we look at the backside of the fabric, when we line the center to either virtically or horizontally, then the pattern may be mirror (If you have specific preference, please contact me first. Otherwise, I will send you the one randomly. It is the same pattern from the front. When we consider how the 2 fabrics are patched, the pattern may look like mirrored based on how we look at it. I hope it makes sense.

Support Sashiko Artisans

It is my final dream to make Sashiko sustainable again. In order to make it happen, I would like to support as many Sashiko artisans as possible. Also, I would like to support some of my Sashiko students who are very good at Sashiko (rising Sashiko Artisans). If you are interested in the Sashiko Furoshiki, and want to have the Sashiko-finished item, please let us work for you.

It may take several months to complete.

With your preferable thread, we will ask either our Sashiko aritsan or student to work on the Furoshiki for the commission. I sincerely appreciate your support to Sashiko culture (The commission price is hugely discounted for make this happen).

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