Inspiration file 13
Handmade “Gamaguchi”(*) coin purse which is a reflection of the creator’s life


On a blistering day last week, I went out to Sajiya gallery in Tokyo for the exhibition by “gamaguchi” creator Kaori Miyamoto.

With plant-dyeing and hand-woven clothes…..
Each “gamaguchi” purse is one of a kind with the pieced clothes which Miyamoto took the effort to collect and sew. Among a various and tons of purses at the exhibition, I was captivated by the one as shown in the picture above.

How can I express its coloration? It is not enough at all to just say “greenish”. It displays a rich colors and beautiful green gradation. “This is azure-blue. That is yellowish-green….” I can’t help voicing the color of each piece.  

“Since I started living in the country, the scenery is predominantly fields and forests. One day I found myself choosing nature-toned colors more than before for my projects.” Miyamoto said in a shy tone on the opening day of exhibition.

It was several years ago when Miyamoto closed her own shop in Osaka to start a country life. Since then, she has devoted herself to a creative activity and tending a field.

Seeing a bit of the creator’s life through her clothes, we can become even more attached to her projects.

Encountering, collecting, and making up creation…. How excited it is to image that each “encountered” cloth is integrated to be a part of the work.

As Miyamoto’s lifestyle has changed her color choice for her creations, your lifestyle and way of being may affect your works. It is exciting but a bit concerning that your productions might express yourself.

Thinking so, it is really important to value every minute of each of our lives, isn’t it?

(*) “Gamaguchi” is a coin purse with one metal clasp. It literally means toad (gama) + mouth (kuchi/guchi) in Japanese. It does look like a toad’s big mouth when the purse is opened.

Inspiration file 12
Girl’s summer dress with your favorite print fabric


When summer comes, don’t you feel like making a dress with a cute print fabric?

The fashion designer for Francesca*aman label Yuka Yonekura was inspired to make children’s clothes by her daughter’s birth.

This summer, she sewed a very cute dress for her daughter.

“The gatherings and ruffles are simply added to the dress, so that my lovely mademoiselle will get excited. I have plan to visit Paris with my daughter this year, and I sewed the dress envisioning how fun to wander Paris with her.” Yonekura said.

She is already looking forward to uploading pictures of their wonderful time in Paris to Instagram.

You can see the website of Yuka Yonekura at

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A summer staple ~ linen or cotton bags


The hot and humid summer is coming to Japan. Such a season may encourage you to select fabric bags to go out with more than usual.

The fabric “zakka” creator Kimie Shimizu makes bags with various materials all the time. She often uses cool, lightweight fabrics for her summer projects.

“In summer, I use more linen or cotton for my projects. While thinking about fabric colors to combine, I weave cotton rags to make a bag pocket, so it will bring the well-used appearance.” Shimizu says.

The crispy linen with tatty rag weaving….
Shimizu is always thinking how a flat fabric can have a steric-look when designing products. One day she found out that her product would be more voluminous with a unique texture by adding a rag-woven piece. Since then, the bag with a rag-woven piece has been her favorite, and she’s made a number of them.

Shimizu continues, “I would actually love to make a more frayed one enough to be torn easily, but reality is that such a creation cannot work as a bag. The rag-woven pieces are reflective of what I really want.”

It is practical and has its own character. This is what you can create with fabrics.
The drawstring bag will be more accentuated after closing the top, and its shape will depend on what you put in.

There is no end of fascination by fabrics.

You can see the website of Kimie Shimizu at

Inspiration file 10:
Real & cute! Chimp’s “amigurumi” (*) doll


While the sky is blue after the rain, we are about to say hello to midsummer in Japan.

The trees, which have been lush until recently, are now showing the bright green color as they compete with the glare of the sun.

On such a sunny summer day, we found a chimpanzee in the woods. It is an “amigurumi” (*) doll made by the amigurumi artist Nami Yonezawa.

Her dolls are funny and cute, but looking closely, you will find that each animal’s characteristics are precisely expressed. Yonezawa always tries to create dolls which never get boring to look at. She also takes pictures of her work so they look as cute as possible.

The chimp in the picture above can hang on a tree branch or grab a banana because a wire strengthens the edge of each limb. In Yonezawa’s blog, another chimp shows up with such a story: “Since I made only one banana, perhaps the two chimps will get into a fight…? ” How will the story turn out?

You will see various unique animals like a lizard and a seal in her blog. Yonezawa’s real and cute “amigurumi” animals are really popular among children. This summer, how about playing zoo with your kids and your own “amigurumi” dolls?

You can see the website of Nami Yonezawa at

(*) What is “amigurumi”? 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.

Ruby Star Polka Dot

the retro and stylish prints are perfect for clothes or bags!

Melody Miller, who was the first guest for our “visit artist” column, recently released her new collection named “Ruby Star Polka Dot”.

“In this collection, I included gold dots on each print, hence the name, Ruby Star Polka Dot. One of the things I began to do last year was included items in my booth at the International Quilt Market that were inspirations for future fabric collections. So, last fall, I had a vase full of arrows in my booth. I then drew the arrows and included them in Ruby Star Polka Dot for spring. Some people had asked me if I would design something that would work nicely for garments, so my arrow print was designed to be an apparel fabric.” Miller says.

Miller herself has made skirts, bags, pillows, kitchen items like hand towels and pot holders from these new prints. She continues, “My friend Alexia of Green Bee Patterns made a number of samples for Kokka’s spring display at Market. She made children’s clothes, women’s tunics, sewing kits, and handbags.”

flower JG56500-500  cotton/linen canvas

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This is a border print of vivid pink flowers. The kid’s dress with this fabric, which her friend Alexia Abegg of Green Bee Patterns made as a sample for the Quilt Market, was well-received there.

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