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

Natural Dye Sashiko Thread (20)

In stock
Product Details
The best Sashiko Thread with Natural Ingredient carefully hand-dyed by Keiko Futatsuya. In this page, I introduce all of the colors. If you find the color out of Stock or not in the list, please check the link for the availability.

[Product Information]

*If the product description is "SOLD OUT", it measn that the inventory is too low to show on the webstore. I may have some left in stock. Please visit (The website I am making now) to check the availability, or simply contact me for the details. Thank you.

  • Manufacture in Japan / Hand Dyed in Japan
  • Material : Egyptian Cotton 100%
  • Length : About 145 meter per skein
  • Weight : About 27 g

*Please read the article of How to handle Natural Dye Thread and Fabric.

【Color Selection】

  • #002m - Gray / Dyed with Japanese Nutgal
  • #003m - Bright Beige / Dyed with Tangala (Available Here)
  • #004m - Dark Beige / Dyed with Tangala (Available Here)
  • #006m (#019m) - Gray / Dyed with Myrobalan
  • #008m - Dyed with LacDye -
  • #010m - Dyed with LacDye -
  • #011m - Dyed with LacDye
  • #013m - Dyed with W,Madder
  • #014m - Dyed with W.Madder
  • #015m - Dyed with W.Madder
  • #022m - Dyed withMountain Peach
  • #023m - Dyed withLacDye
  • #024m - Brighter Yellow // Dyed with Mountain Peach (Available Here)
  • #025m - Darker Yellow // Dyed withMyrobalan (Available Here)
  • #026m - Gray // Dyed with Logwood
  • #027m - Purple // Dyed with Logwood
  • #028m - Blue // Dyed with


  • (December 2020) - The inventory is still small due to the pandemic. If you would like to order several skeins of the same color of #004, it may take a week to fulfill the order. I will reach out to you after placing the order.
  • (July 2020) - Inventory is very small due to limited International Shipping. Each color has a few skeins that I had received as sample in early 2020. Once they are sold out, it may take a few weeks (months) to restock the same color. Please be advised that the entire order may be in pending when you order "Out of Stock - It will take time to complete the order" until we restock the specific item.


This page is for Solid Natural Dye Sashiko Thread (Collection 2020). Please choose your preferable color(s) from drop-down list. The price is for 1 skein of each thread (145 meter).

Hand Dyed by Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatasuya.
This sashiko thread is also exclusively designed for Sashiko purpose. Four of thin embroidery threads are twisted with special technique. It will give you the great result. Since the thread is dyed by hands with Natural dyes, it is impossible to get the exactly same color every-time she dyes the thread. Please understand that you may get the similar color of the photo instead of the exactly the same color (also each monitor shows different colors...). If you have questions, please contact me first for your preference.

Upcycle Stitches carries about 0~10 skeins for each colors. If you see the pricing way above the regular price (like +$18.00 or so), it means that we are out of stock in the USA. The thread will be mailed from Japan without charging you the shipping fee.

Also, when the thread is out of stock, please contact me so we can give you the best estimate.


Ever since we started a business as "Upcycle Stitches", it is our sincere pleasure to share the Natural Dye Sashiko thread dyed by Keiko Futatsuya (Sash.Co). After many years of experience & "try & errors", she decided to apply a minor change in her Natural Dye Sashiko Thread in 2020. The new Natural Dye Sashiko Thread (We name it "2020 Collection") will have a little bit "matte" look in comparison to the previous Natural Dye Sashiko Thread, which will be discontinued after the stocks runs out in the U.S. / Japan.

Keiko tries her best to reproduce the same color - and the results are very successful with similar color, more matte & less shinny. Although she doesn't talk much about the reasons of this minor change, I assume it is due to her recent work with many Japanese vintage fabrics. After all, she dyes the Sashiko threads for her own work first, then I ask her to sell us so we can distribute to the world.

We have 18 Colors ready (1 color - #023m - is in pending).

In order to avoid unnecessary confusion, we have not changed the color numbering and the natural dyes that Keiko uses. The exactly same, but the number has "m" at the the end. Also, when you see letters such as "D" and "L", it means it is either Lighter or Darker in comparison to the previous/regular colors. Please be advised that they are all hand dyed with Natural dyes in a small pot. Therefore, each batch "may" result in slightly different color. Please enjoy the "one-of-a-kind" colors from each batches.

If you would like to have the exact same color, getting the same number from the same batch is the best choice. Please contact me for the details so I can work on for you. Each batch will have 5 ~ 12 skeins (Please let me know if you would like to order more than 15 skeins at once. It will be order to be made thread. The same price, but the delivery will take a lot longer).

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