Yuzen dyeing

photo Yuzen dyeing


Yuzen-zome is one of Japan's best-known traditional dyeing processes. It involves drawing designs on white fabric with paste and dyeing the fabric multiple colors. After it has been cut into a kimono shape, a rough draft is drawn with an aobana or blue flower liquid dye that washes out without leaving a trace. Thread paste is then applied over the lines of the rough draft, creating masked-off lines that prevent colors from mixing. Then, the areas of color are filled in. Finally, the paste is washed out.
Within yuzen dyeing, two of the dyeing styles are itome-yuzen and sekidashi-yuzen. For the first style, white lines that make the design stand out are left behind, while in the latter style, the entirety of the fabric is dyed so that no white lines remain.
The paste used to create resists (white lines that are not dyed) is called thread paste, and made from the flour of sticky rice and white rice.


  1. 1.Blue flower liquid dye is used to draw a rough draft and then a thread-like paste is applied over top.
  2. 2.Once the paste has dried, a design is created with color and the fabric is steamed to make the color take hold.
  3. 3.More paste is applied on the areas of the design that are to be kept white. Then the fabric will be dyed with a base color.
  4. 4.The fabric is steamed to make the color take hold. It is washed and completed.
  • "What Are Traditional Crafts? -A Guidebook to Seeing, Learning, and Enjoying-" Edited by the Japan Kogei Association Eastern Branch. Published by Unsodo Reference artworks