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

Do:

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

Don’t:

  • 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

Sashiko Gift Card // Sashiko for You & Yours

SKU SashikoGiftCard2020
$100.00
In stock
1
Product Details

Thank you for visiting Upcycle Stitches Website.


This is a "digital" gift card. After the purchase, you will receive an email with the gift card and instructions on how to use it. The card can be used as payment for any products we have on this store. Although we set an expiration for 5 years from the day of purchase, we are willing to be flexible on that.

Due to the shipping delay between countries, we have limited amount of inventory. There is a possibility of temporary closing the business if the stock become extremely short. It will come back eventually. However, a purchase of the gift card is a great support to sustain the business operation toward 2021.


For the purchase of this Gift Card in 2020, I will include a small gift for you in the first order when you redeem the gift card.


  • $50.00 Gift Card: 1 skein of small Sashiko Thread (about 40 meter skein - by Yokota).
  • $100.00 Gift Card: 1 skein of our regular Sashiko Thread (about 145 meter skein - from 15 colors of our supreme Sashiko Thread).
  • $200.00 Gift Card: 1 skein of Keiko's Natural Dye Sashiko Thread (About 145 meter skein / hand-dyed)
  • $500.00 Gift Card: A piece of Sashiko fabric/item that Atsushi, Keiko or our friends (in Sashi.Co) stitched. Please accept this as a special commemorative.


*The above gift will be random following the theme. I will favor your request in colors, but please understand that I will pick a thread based on the availability. After the normalization of US - Japan shipping, I am happy to accomodate your request more flexibily.


*The gift will be included in the 1st order of the gift card is redeemed (For the commemorative, I may contact you for the preference), unless there is no specific request from you.


*The Gift Card can be used on ANYTHING on our website, as long as the item is available.


*This is a Gift Card, so it has "value" like Cash. It is not a donation. Please make sure that you keep the Gift Card in a safe place. Any violation of general rule of Gift Card (such as Duplication) will be handled with deactivating the Gift Card. I will be honest & caring, so please be honest & caring as well.


(I sincerely appreciate for several inquiries for donations to specific purposes, such as protecting Japanese Sashiko suppliers and artisans - including myself. I couldn't believe what I was reading when I received them. I do not know how "donation" will be categorized in the for-profit business like us, in the USA. I am learning & preparing the web page. If you are willing to make a donation instead of the Gift Card, please contact me so I can expedite my journey on this.)


This is my first challenge to offer the Gift Card. Atsushi is here to assist in using the Gift Card. We will be sincere for your request.


【Notes for the Sashiko Gift Card】

  • The Gift Card will expire after 5 years from the purchase date, following the law in the state of Pennsylvania (I am happy to extend the expiration if you are in need of doing so.)
  • A gift card can be used in multiple orders until it’s fully redeemed. You can see the remaining balance if they click the "View Gift Card" button in the email or after they apply a gift card at checkout:
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