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

Sashiko Needles | Big Eye Straight

SKU TNeedle_BigEyeStraight
In stock
Product Details

One of the Best Sashiko Needles in the market.

Getting ready to start Sashiko stitching with the supreme quality tool is very important process to enjoy Sashiko and its result. We want you to get rewarded to the time you invested in hand Sashiko stitching.

There are only a few things we need to get ready. A needle, a thimble, thread and fabric.

Meanwhile we have been using the different Sashiko needle, we introduce a supreme quality Sashiko needle, which is specifically designed and manufactured for the Sashiko purpose by Tulip Needle company in Hiroshima, Japan.

Why do we introduce the other needle? It is because Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya provided the advice as the Sashiko artists, and Tulip company accomplished the development based on the advice we provided.

[Please noted]

The product title, "Big Eye Straight" is named by the Tulip Needle Company. The needle eye is not bigger than the Sashiko needles we originally offer. Please check this article for more information about the size of Sashiko Needle Eye.

4 needles in a beautiful Clear-Plastic container.

[Update Feb.7th 2020]

We have received a report of broken head of the needle in stitching heavy fabric such as Canvas or thick denim. When a stitcher try to pull the needle out from the heavy fabric, the needle "may" be broken. I have claimed this to the Tulip Company, and it is rare case. However, please consider getting our Sashiko Needle if you are planning to stitch on the heavy fabric.

【Following Update】

I have had a chance to discuss over the issues to the representitive of the manufacture. In order to make the body "straight", and easy for Sashiko stitching, the needles is not well designed for the non-traditional Sashiko stitching (which include Denim & Canvas). If you plan to stitch on Denim & Canvas, please get our Sashiko Needle. Since Denim, Canvas, and other thick fabrics are not in a category of "Traditional Sashiko", Sashiko needles have possibility of breaking down. However, I have not had any reports on the Our Sashiko Needle.

Thin Size: 0.84mm x 51.5mm

When using the Sashiko thread in single usage, this "Big Eye Straight Thin Size" is the best choice. When you want to make double size stitching, have the thick size needles (coming soon.)

Thick Size: 0.91mm x 51.5mm

When using the Sashiko thread in double and more, this "Big Eye Straight Thick Size" is the best choice. When you want to make single stitching, have the thick size needles.

Kogin: 1.14 mm × 65.0 mm

When practicing Kogin Sashiko, you would need a needle with dull top. This needle is NOT ideal for the Sashiko we introduce on our website.

About Tulip Needle Company

The tradition of needle-making in Hiroshima stretches back for more than 300 years. Tulip brand is based in this Hiroshima region and produces sewing needles, crochet hooks and knitting needles for handicrafts.

*Because of Inventory in short, you may receive the package with Japanese language. The needles are the exactly same. Please refer the translation on the website for warning and product's profile.

Large needle eye. Flexible and warp resistant/ Runs smoothly through fabric.

This product should be used for sewing purpose only. Please keep out of reach of small children.

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