* Japanese sewing box

Posted on May 17th, 2004 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Review, Sewing/Fabric Crafts.

I got a neat book from the library called Omiyage by Kumiko Sudo. It’s all sorts of Japanese sewing projects. There are bags shaped like flowers and animals, pincushions, ornaments, all sorts of stuff. A lot of it is not my taste, but there are a few projects I might make. I tried the Japanese sewing box tonight. It’s a little cute fold up box with holders for your supplies and a pincushion on the lid. I used some of the fabric I brought back from Japan, to match my more hefty pincushion.

The box is a cardboard form with fabric glued on it. Fabric covered panels on the inside have little cardboard strips attached. Then the panels get glued to the form. The lid is made similarly, with a pillow of stuffing glued to the top. Unfortunately, the pattern in the book didn’t fit together right. If you follow their directions, the inside panels are too big and the lid doesn’t fit. Of course I didn’t realize this until I’d glued the whole thing together. Luckily, the yes paste I used set slowly, so I was able to peel the panels off and trim them. They don’t look quite as pretty as the did before, but at least they fit now. I had to make a whole new, bigger lid, though. Kind of annoying.


7 Responses to “Japanese sewing box”

  1. alexandra Says:

    HEY! Googling around and I found this (very nice blog and links!) and wouldn’t ya know it, but I just made two of these for late Xmas (groundhog day?) gifts.

    Anyway, I too noticed the annoyance of ill fitting stuff and had to rebuild the lid. Yours looks way nicer than mine, especially with the little bars that hold stuff on the sides of the box. I found them to be way too short to bend the ends over behind the main piece of cardboard, and the insertion process left it looking less than professional. I also used wood glue, which dried very quickly but stiffly.

    Anyway, just comparing notes. I’ll definitely try it again someday, but vastly revised.


  2. alexandra Says:

    oh, also, did you think that the fabric piece of covering the lid was really not ideal at all? Or did I misread it? It was something like a long thin strip of fabric. I skipped that and just cut out a large square and folded it over the box lid with “hospital corners.”

  3. Maitreya Says:

    Hi Alexandra, yep, I couldn’t fold the bars around either. If you pull on them, they’ll come out. I honestly don’t remember if I used a different size piece of cloth for the lid. Your way seems reasonable. Stupid directions. I wonder if they’re all that bad? I haven’t made anything else from Omiyage yet.

  4. oedalis Says:

    What a super nifty idea! I have a bunch of little sewing odds and ends now that I have no where organized to keep at all. I wonder if I could find a free pattern for something similar to this online somewhere. Did your pattern instruct you to leave fabric ‘tags’ to glue the pieces together?

  5. Candy Says:

    With regard to the strange fit of pieces – I’ve experienced similar results with origami books. Some make directions crystal clear while others seem to assume you can absorb the technology through telepathy or something. Perhaps there are additional omiyage books out there with better instructions. We can hope.

  6. Laurie Says:

    I am trying to make the Pine Cone pouch from the book, and am having great difficulty figuring out how to put the thing together. The directions are incredibly obscure, and the picture doesn’t match the directions. I am scouring the WEB looking for someone else’s directions. Any suggestions?

  7. Betty Says:

    I too had problems, the directions are ridiculous! I figured it out by folding and fiddling and finally aligning. This is not an easy project, nor do I recommend using a sewing machine unless you know how to backstitch (EVERY TIME – BEGINNING AND END) or your project will unravel.

    Look at the picture. The light square is folded over. They look like a birds beak. Align, as the directions suggest, then sew just the ONE seam opposite the bottom. When sewing, unfold the seam allowance FIRST so edges match up, then sew from seam allowance to seam allowance. Do NOT sew into the seam allowance – not even one stitch – or it won’t open up properly. Press the one seam open, then fold the sewn corner edge over (folding the light square) to align like the picture and PRESS.

    I know this sounds so confusing, but keep playing with it. By the time you sew your first row, it becomes easy. Really! Also, remember to ADD 1/4 ” to the pattern in the back. This is better suited for handwork.


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