Kawaii (Cute!) Mushroom Tutorial

More vegetables are popping up…

This was the result of a rainy weekend in Tokyo. What was I supposed to do, study Japanese? Bah!

Some folks expressed interest in making their own veggies, so I thought I’d share a short tutorial. This mushroom pattern is super easy and comes from this book, which is from the Heart Warming Life Series and translates to “Full of Cute Vegetables and Fruits.” As I mentioned in my earlier post, these felt fungi stitch up quickly and are really satisfying to make — they’re maybe even a bit addictive. Consider yourself warned!

Kawaii (Cute!) Mushroom Tutorial

Here we go!

Gather your materials. You’ll need white and dark brown felt, a pair of scissors, a needle, stuffing, and some matching thread. I use embroidery floss because it’s what I have handy, but any thread will work as long as it matches your felt.

Cut out your felt pieces. I like to make a paper pattern first, and then trace around the pattern onto the felt. From the white felt cut out two circle “tops” 35 mm in diameter (1 3/8″), and two “stems” approximately 25 mm (1″) in height. From the brown felt cut one circle 55 mm in diameter (2 1/8″).

Assemble the mushroom. Stitch the two white circles together, sewing 3/4 of the way around the perimeter. Fill your mushroom top with stuffing, and then stitch the circles closed. Repeat this process for the stem, leaving a little tail of excess thread. I recommend using a blanket stitch, because it leaves a nice edge, but use whatever stitch you’re comfortable with.

Next, attach the stem to the top using that extra bit of thread. Make little stitches around the open edge of the stem, securing it to the top until it is nice and stable.

Make the mushroom cap. Stitch along the outside edge of the brown circle using a running stitch.

Now the fun part — gently pull your thread tight , and your mushroom cap should slowly take form…

Slip the assembled mushroom inside the gathered brown felt, placing the mushroom cap on top of the assembled mushroom like a hat. Continue to tighten the brown thread until the mushroom cap hugs evenly around all sides of the mushroom top.

Tie a tight knot and hide the tail of your thread inside. Nice work! Now make a few more, and watch your own garden start to grow. (@⌒ー⌒@)

In the spirit of sharing and caring, please don’t use this pattern for profit, and give credit to the book’s author when credit is due (前田 智美). Thanks! 

Look at my garden grow

I hesitate a bit to tell you how much time I’ve spent thinking about these vegetables this week. Because it makes me seem a little insane.

School has started up again, and all I can think about in class is how much I want to go home and sew my veggies. They’ve possessed me.

I think it is because they are incredibly satisfying to make — quick, easy, and in the end, totally adorable. Who thought a carrot could be so cute? I never did. I don’t even enjoying eating carrots (because I am still a 5 year old and pick them out of things), but sewing carrots is another story.

I made all of these veggies using this craft book I bought a few months ago, which has been sitting on my desk, begging me to open it. Laughing at me. Taunting me. “Look at how cute my fruits are!” it says to me in the middle of the night.

The title of this craft mook (regularly produced, somewhat cheap paperback books) translates to “Full of cute vegetables and fruits,” which is the absolute truth. It also promises that you can make everything inside using 20 sq.centimeter squares of felt, which are widely available around Tokyo.

The result is that some veggies turn out quite small, which was a challenge for my clumsy fingers.

Let’s take a look inside:

The headings and project titles are in English, but all of the instructions are in Japanese. I find I like this, actually — I can read enough to get a general sense of what to do, but also forces me to do a bit of problem solving to make up for the Japanese that I can’t quite understand.

Each vegetable is represented in a full color photo spread in the front of the book, and in the back of the book additional assembly instructions guide you through the project. Patterns are printed on an additional sheet, which you tear out of the back cover.

I think they stretched the definition of fruits a bit by including these cakes, but who can complain once they see how happy they make this bear.

More photos can be found on Flickr. Have you made anything out of felt recently? Do share!

Hanami Lunch

A friend and I stopped into Shinjuku Gyoen for lunch yesterday. We found a spot under a tree with big draping branches, so it felt like we were inside a sakura-lined fort. Every so often, someone would duck in, say hello, wander by. We ate sakura mochi and drank tea like two civilized ladies.

[husband editor’s note: While Ang was being a fancy lady, she used her hanami placemat – coincidentally, on sale now on Esty – while her doting husband dined on two-day-old sushi at home.]

This is probably the cutest thing I have ever made. I am both ashamed and proud.

Hopefully we’ll get to hanami again. It’s fleeting!

A Hanami Lunch

A friend and I stopped into Shinjuku Gyoen for lunch yesterday. We found a perfect spot under a tree with big draping branches, so it felt like we were inside a sakura-lined fort. Every so often, someone would duck in, say hello, wander by. We ate sakura mochi and drank tea like two civilized ladies. [husband editor’s note: she tried out her hanami placemat – coincidentally on sale now at Etsy – for the first time, while her doting husband dined at home on two-day-old sushi.]

This is probably the cutest thing I have ever made. I am both ashamed and proud.

Hopefully we’ll get to hanami again. It’s fleeting!