Japanese Fabrics – Character Fabrics

What makes a handmade back-to-school accessory even more special? The fabric of course! I have a weakness for Hello Kitty and Sanrio characters in general, but they are pretty common and in a way not so “special”. So today instead of talking about the popular characters, I will feature some famous characters from all over the world that have made their way to Japanese fabrics.

Image from Kyoto Kanariya on Rakuten

The Very Hungry Caterpillar! My kids love this book. I’ve read it countless times and we’ve even went to watch the theatre version by Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. See the “Example of Use” diagram? The fabric is printed with different illustrations all on the same fabric so that you can cut up different parts for the handles, bags and pouches. Cool huh? The fabric is made by Kokka in Japan.

Image from Kyoto Kanariya on Rakuten

Pénélope Tête en l’air - We first discovered this TV show on ANA’s in-flight entertainment and despite it being in Japanese, it was the only cartoon that my daughter watched over an over again. She loves the little blue koala!

Image from Kyoto Kanariya on Rakuten

Shinkansen is a character from Sanrio. It’s literally named after the 新幹線 which is the Japanese bullet train. This print is for the boys (and girls who love trains!)

Image from Craft Dream on Rakuten

My all time favourite. I remember watch Barbapapa as a kid on TV. I never thought I would see it again till I went to Japan. It seems pretty popular there going by the number of merchandise I can find there. I bought a new Barbapapa schedule book, and Kinder Surprise figurines. But I wasn’t so lucky to find the fabric this time. I would love to get hold of these!

Image from Craft Dream on Rakuten

The bears’ school is  about the life of 12 living bear cubs at the dormitory on the top of a mountain. Sounds cute already! I haven’t read the books but I keep seeing these bears in magazines like Cucito and Pochee, and I see the fabrics pretty often online. Both the author and the illustrator are Japanese but apparently the books have been translated to French and other languages.

Image from Kyoto Kanariya on Rakuten

Suzy’s Zoo is by an American illustrator but it’s also very popular in Japan. This is also produced by Kokka.

Image from Kyoto Kanariya on Rakuten

Last but not least, let me introduce you to a show called みいつけた (Miitsuketa) I’m not sure if this TV show is available outside Japan, but while we were there, it was showing everyday in the afternoon. My kids didn’t understand a word they were saying but they were nonetheless fascinated by it. There are 3 main characters. A weird looking cactus (or at least I think it’s a cactus), a chair, and a kid. Strange but true :P Take a look below…


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5 Responses

  1. Rebecca says:

    I have loved Hello Kitty ever since she first came out, maybe you weren’t even born then, lol. thanks for sharing the oh so fun fabrics, wish I had a yard of each. My grandchildren would love them.

  2. Carolina says:

    i love barba papa. Last year watched again via you tube. And a fabric with them, I think is awesome.

    • Japanese Sewing Books says:

      It’s surprisingly quite popular in Japan, at least the character goods are quite easily found. I’ve been letting my kids watch it on youtube, and they love it!

  3. Ramona K says:

    Where can a person purchase the fabric that you show on your site? I have a Great Niece that I am sewing for. She will be one year on February 21, 2012.

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