New Japanese craft books — handmade by Komihinata

I have a very soft spot for Japan­ese craft books. I learned how to sew by read­ing those books. But over the years, I have accu­mu­lated quite a col­lec­tion of Japan­ese craft books (and to tell you the truth, not just Japan­ese ones), it’s been hard to jus­tify buy­ing any more. I mean, my ever-overflowing craft books and sup­plies have often caused domes­tic discord.

But last year around Christ­mas, when I was in the phase of mak­ing lit­tle things like wal­lets and phone cases, I came across these Japan­ese craft books — and I just had to have them. They are called “Lit­tle Hand­made Things by Ms. Komi­hi­nata,” and “Lit­tle Hand­made Things by Ms. Komi­hi­nata — a Col­lec­tion of Pop­u­lar Items.”

Images of two Japanese craft books by Kominitana

Mioko Sug­ino, the author of these two books, started out by writ­ing a craft­ing blog called “hand­made things by Komi­hi­nata” (“Komini­hata” is her made-up stage name). She made some­thing new and showed it on her blog every sin­gle day for years. Or maybe she missed a day or two, I’m not sure. Her blog became so pop­u­lar in Japan, she was even­tu­ally asked to write these books. Now she is a pop­u­lar craft instruc­tor, pat­tern devel­oper, as well as an author. She still updates her blog almost daily — just amazing.

As you can see from the book cov­ers and the titles, the things Ms. Sug­ino likes to make are small things, like mobile phone cases and lit­tle zip­pered key pouches. I love all the details and embell­ish­ments — and the fact that she makes every­thing look super adorable while mostly using a basic selec­tion of fab­rics, like stripes and dots.

pages from a Komihinata book

a page from a Komihinata book - a key pouchOver the years her cre­ations got smaller and smaller, until she was well known for her minia­ture cre­ations — like minia­ture tote bags that fit on the palm of your hand. Or minia­ture fur­ni­ture made of fab­ric, fit for a doll’s house. 

a page from a Komihinata book - miniature tote bags

 

In her books, Sug­ino selects designs that were voted most pop­u­lar by her blog read­ers, and explains how to make them. She makes them sound very easy… but if you’ve ever tried mak­ing lit­tle things, you know how fid­dly they can be. Just look at this lit­tle case for a lip mois­tur­izer, for example.…

a page from a Komihinata book - lip cream case

It has a zip­per clo­sure. And a per­fect cylin­der shape, not to men­tion the lin­ing. I wouldn’t even attempt to make that one — it’ll only end in tears. Whether one really needs a spe­cialised case to carry her lip mois­turiser is totally beside the point — although Ms. Sug­ino does explain that one of her friends was insep­a­ra­ble from her lip reme­dies, but kept los­ing them — so she cre­ated the case to hang it from her tote bag han­dle for easy access. Makes sense now, doesn’t it?

I ini­tially bought these books to learn new tech­niques.  And I have learned a few tricks by brows­ing through the instruc­tions. But really… the main thing about own­ing these Komi­hi­nata books is that they make you very happy, just flip­ping through the pages and admir­ing Ms. Sugino’s awe-inspiring skills and creativity.

Be sure to check out her blog, and don’t worry that it is in Japan­ese — I know you’ll love it anyway.   

  • Ash­ley Ison

    I’m in awe of the fab­rics. Gorgeous.

    • Pig­gledee

      I know, the fab­rics are pretty basic, but still has that Japan­ese cute­ness to them — par­tic­u­larly all those dots she uses.

  • Kaye Sten­der

    how can any­one make some­thing so tiny. it is just too cute.