Omiyage: Handmade Gifts in the Japanese Tradition

2014-039“Omiyage” is the Japanese word for gift, and with her book Omiyage : Handmade Gifts from Fabric in the Japanese Tradition, best-selling author Kumiko Sudo has outdone herself again! This time she turns her attention to 43 absolutely beautiful handmade fabric gifts: Temari balls, pincushions, pockets, pouches, good luck charms, evening bags… even a marvelous little sewing box!

Beginning with an introductory chapter on Japanese customs and culture regarding gift giving, she then takes you on to the projects. Here, too, notes on techniques and background information on the place of personal gifts in the Japanese calendar throughout the year make for an interesting read. Beautiful photographs, full-size pattern templates, and particularly the easy, step-by-step illustrated instructions are the best points of this book. Although intricate in appearance, all these projects can be made from a variety of scraps — from silk to cotton– and sew very quickly, many of them in less than an hour.

This is one of my favorite books on small handcrafted items. The projects I’ve made have led to numerous requests from friends and family for similar gifts. Note, however, that some sewing experience is needed. In some of the more difficult patterns it seemed at times that a step was left out. I was able to figure it out, though, by simply referring to the photograph.

If you enjoy giving handmade gifts… this is the book for you!

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