Gift giving is something I really enjoy. Seeing someone’s face as they receive a little remembrance as a surprise is fun. In the Japanese tradition of Omiyage, in past times, gifts were given to the lords of the lands for protection with many rules on the gift itself down to how it was wrapped and even the manner presented. The gift needed to be presented with both hands, with an apology for the trivial nature of the gift no matter how expensive or extravagant. Recipients were to demur and be persuaded to accept it. In modern times, gifts are given to friends and family as a show of respect, with relatively few guidelines. The most common Omiyage is given by travelers, which is why many believe the word translates to ‘souvenir’, but this is not really correct. Gifts are brought back from the traveler to present to coworkers in the case of a business trip, or vacation gifts to family and friends, mainly of food items. This can be a real burden when you work with a lot of people! Visitors from far away places bring gifts to their hosts of things from their homeland, again particularly edibles. In her book, Omiyage, Kumiko Sudo blends the Japanese tradition with the joy of handmade into small gifts made with scraps. Luxurious fabrics left over from kimonos are particularly good. This little crane is a pincushion from the book, made with a scrap left over from my Sakura Tsuki quilt. Cranes are symbols of longevity and good luck, and giving a gift of a handmade crane wishes the recipient happiness and long life.
I have two projects to share with you today, both original ideas for gifts you can make. The first one is one I have shown before, my sunglasses case, this time in Oriental fabric. I have an ulterior motive for showing you this again, and I’ll reveal that at the end of the post. So, to begin, I’ll make two of these at once, cutting two focus fabrics and two lining fabrics 10-inches x 9 inches.
Sew the two fabrics right sides together with batting, turn, and then topstitch.
Apply velcro as outlined in the Sunglasses Case post. Fold up the bottom and topstitch.
Very quickly, two sunglasses cases. One I did a bit of quilting on, the other I left plain.
Second project, an easy cosmetic case. The idea occurred to me to do it in the a similar manner as the sunglasses case to make the project much simpler and easier than doing one with a zipper. The velcro is placed differently on this bag so the items inside won’t fall out. So, I began by figuring out the right size, and cut a focus fabric and a lining fabric 10-inches wide x 15-inches long. I cut a bit of batting the same size.
Layer batting, then lining right side up, then focus fabric right side down.
Sew around the edge, through all three layers, leaving a 3-4 inch opening for turning.
Clip the corners to reduce bulk.
Reaching between the lining and focus fabric, turn right sides out.
I use a chopstick to poke out the corners to a nice point.
Press the piece to sharpen the edges and the corners.
Take special care over the opening to ensure it is in line with an adequate seam allowance inside.
Topstitch all the way around to close the opening, and finish off the edges.
Now, on the lining side, stitch an 8-inch piece of velcro centered at each short side.
The velcro will not extend to the edge of the piece, leaving room to sew the bag closed.
Press the velcro together, ensuring it matches up on the side edges.
Topstitch the sides closed along the previous line of topstitching.
All done, a simple bag, easy and fast.
Now you have a pretty matched set of cosmetic case and sunglasses case, which brings me to the ulterior motive. Last summer we worked together to make the spa bags for Safelight. I received a recent email from the new director saying that the bags were almost gone. They have been placing them on the bed for new residents to have something to ease their difficult transition. Last time, many readers asked if there was something that could be sewn, and this time there is. I plan to do a bag project later in the spring that will have sunglasses as one of the goodies inside. I thought it would be wonderful to do matching sunglasses cases with cosmetics cases for each bag. Omiyage for the residents of Safelight. I’ll be collecting them over the next two months or so, so you can slot the quick project in your schedule if you would like to help. Any fabric is fine, doesn’t have to be Asian inspired. Download an abbreviated pattern pdf with both projects along with my address for mailing – Omiyage for Safelight And, yes, we’ll be doing cards and donations for the bags later.
The inspiration for these projects came from several books by Kumiko Sudo, and her small handmade projects are both charming and interesting using beautiful fabrics and new techniques. These are affiliate links for your convenience – Omiyage, Kokoro no Te, Folded Flowers, Flower Origami. I’ll be getting to projects in fabric folding and origami later, I just haven’t had time to explore that and do a new design yet.
Now for the fun part, how about a giveaway!!! Aurifil is providing an East Meets West thread pack to support this series on Japanese and Asian inspired posts. Just look at those gorgeous, vibrant colors. Enter using the Rafflecopter link below! Entries accepted worldwide!!
What are you sewing now? Can you make a set of cases for Safelight?