Inspiration file 18
I found it! The toolbox with ICHIGO TO ARI print


The other day, we presented the drawer box in our Japanese Craft & Sewing column which the handcrafter Mihoko Sugiyama created with “Musikkiste von nacht” prints. Once it was posted, the article instantly became the most popular one on this website.

We, KOKKA, that is the textile maker/wholesaler, usually introduce sewing projects made of our fabrics via this site. It was the first time that we had presented how-to-make “cartonnage” (fabric-covered box). That must be enlightening for some of you on how to enjoy fabrics even without a needle or thread.

Here we continue featuring Sugiyama’s projects. The toolbox in the above picture is what she posted in her own blog named “happiness is in a box”.

Strawberries and ants… It looks familiar….
If you think so, yes, you are right! The print is the “ICHIGO TO ARI (strawberries and ants)” from ueda college collection x KOKKA featured in Textile Story column. It had been her favorite and was used for her project. Thank you, Sugiyama-san!

The black gingham on either side gives an urbane taste to the lovely box. Opening it up, you will see the frames bound with red cloth.

“I wanted to add red to the black-and-white as the ICHIGO to ARI print.” Sugiyama says.

What an elaborate work she did!

Allover print of large motifs will look differently, depending on where you cut out to use. Thus each can seem unique even if you create something with the same fabric and pattern. Aren’t you excited about that?

You can see the blog of Mihoko Sugiyama at

Inspiration file 17
How to survive the hot summer ~ a hidden message from “amigurumi” (*) tomato


The tomato is representative of summer.

In summer, tomatoes occupy a very prominent spot in the produce section of local grocery stores. We have seen tomatoes in varying sizes and colors in recent years; orange and yellow ones besides typical red and green tomatoes.

Tiny cherry tomatoes, misshapen but lovely heirloom tomatoes, palm-sized plum tomatoes…. These tomatoes are so enjoyable not only for dishes but also as a snack.

Here is a picture of a various tomatoes in the glass bowl we arranged. What? There is a tomato with a face!

This is the “amigurumi” tomato made by the doll creator mimiwn. In fact it was only tomatoes mimiwn could enjoy while she had fallen ill and almost lost her sense of taste.

Thank you, tomato!
The “amigurumi” tomato was created with mimiwn’s sincere appreciation. The tomato with lovely cobalt-blue eyes look smiling or even prim.

“Hey tomato, can I carry you as a lucky charm or a key chain for my bag, so I can survive the hot summer?”

You can see the website of mimiwn at

(*)The word is derived from a combination of Japanese words “ami” and “nuigurumi”. “nuigurumi” means stuffed doll but it refers to sewn fabric items. “ami” means crocheted or knitted. That is, an “amigurumi” is a crocheted or knitted doll.

Inspiration file 16
What is the material of the bag?


It is a bag that is the most popular item of handcrafted projects. A tote bag, a granny bag, a bucket bag…. Whenever you see a new fabric, you contemplate your next bag project, don’t you?

The bag in the above picture is made by the knitting textile artist kupu. Guess what the open weave bag is made from?

The answer is selvage of denim! It is the left-over parts during the manufacturing process of jeans.

“This selvage-woven bag is a little heavy because of its material, but it is popular with both men and women.” kupu says.

The good balance between the outer coarse weave and the self-effacing lining makes the bag fashionable. The leather handles gives the bag more style.

Knitted bags, which are her main products to make a living, have many devoted followers due to the unique coloration called “kupu-color”.

“Could it be anything for my next project?” Keeping such a thought, the curious kupu is always on the lookout for anything around her. This selvage “woven” denim textile was generated by a knitting artist and it is now used as a major material for bags.

Getting away for a while from your routines… To do so, you may get a new idea or inspiration you have never had before.

You can see the website of kupu at

Inspiration File14
Summer dress ~ enjoy your own way


Watching people walking by, it seems more ladies are choosing dresses to wear during the summer. Some are in cashe-coeur style dresses with plunging necklines, and the other is in a lovely ribbon waist style. In summer, you may coordinate a straw bag or a pair of sandals with your clothes. While you complain about the humid and hot summer, the dresses give you more options to enjoy dressing up.

The illustrator Miki Ono loves solid white dresses. Because dresses can be more utilized during the summer, her wardrobe is lined with the “apparently-same but not-same” white dresses.

Among her “subtly different” dresses, the most conspicuous one is what you see here in the picture. “To be honest with you, I made it with a bed sheet. Since the white dress itself was so boring, I added illustrations around the hem!”

The red, pink and yellow flowers are happily “dancing” in the white field as if they were about to chat.

With a little time and effort, you can create your own original items. Sampling Ono’s dress, should I try sewing clothes with a previously used bed sheet? By adding illustration as she did, stains on the sheet can be hidden, I guess!!

What do you think of such an idea for making the unique dress as your kids’ free homework project this summer?

You can see the website of Miki Ono at

echino ni-co

A unisex fabric suitable for everyone

echino was featured in our very first Textile Story, and today we are happy to present echino’s newest collection, ni-co. The concept behind this line is “unisex.” The design was inspired by simple motifs and a limited use of colors. Carrying on echino’s distinct color scheme, the repeated single motif creates ni-co’s unique character. The color combination gives variation to its look and versatility.

echino’s designer, Estuko Furuya says, “Whatever the project, I recommend choosing a simple shape and design. For example, classis items like tote bags or plain small square bags would be perfect. You can also combine it with leather to make a bag or cushion cover. It would be nice to create a gift for men, who are new to design print fabrics like ni-co.”

scooter-b JG-99700_700 cotton/linen canvas


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With a slightly retro look, Scooter’s design may be suitable for men. But by combining different colors, its color variation could generate a cute and stylish look. You can also be creative using the bias pattern on the side.

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