Browsing Tag

character fabric

Japanese Fabrics

Kawaii Japanese Fabrics

April 19, 2013

I’m a big fan of kawaii (かわいい means cute in Japanese) fabrics. Well, I’ve been a Sanrio fan since I was a kid. Not just Hello Kitty, but also My Melody, Little Twin Stars, Tuxedo Sam, Minna no Tabo… so many more! But today’s fabrics are not about these famous characters, but characters from storybooks and TV shows.

Some of the fabrics are new releases for Spring 2013 and some are not so new but new fabric discoveries for me. I subscribe to a couple of Facebook pages of Japanese zakka and fabric shops, and I discovered this new fabric shop called Tree Big on Rakuten with lots of character prints. I was so excited to discover so many of my favourites in one store.

Image from Tree Big on Rakuten

This was the first fabric that brought me to this website. I subscribe to the Shinzi Katoh Facebook page and first found out about this new release from it. If you haven’t heard of Shinzi Katoh, you have to check his website out! His zakka stuff are quite easy to find in stores in Japan. There are also some shops in Singapore that sell Shinzi Katoh stuff. But fabrics seem to be hard to find in stores. Every time I go to Japan I try to hunt down the fabrics but I’ve never managed to find any.

The Little Red Riding Hood is just one of the storybook character series that he has done. Others include Snow White, Cinderella and even collaborations with famous characters such as Disney, Paddington Bear, Hello Kitty.

Image From Tree Big on Rakuten

Another print that shows off Shinzi Katoh’s style of drawing people and animals.

Image From Tree Big on Rakuten

Le Sucre is one of my recent favourites and my older girl loves it to bits. I only discovered this character through their fabrics a few years ago. Apparently this fabric was not just designed for kids, but also to attract ladies in their 20s-30s. This character was designed by Naomi Tozaki for Santan.Co. Ltd. Check out the online shop here for other zakka stuff.

Image from Tree Big on Rakuten

Another fabric from le sucre. This fabric is a sweet border print, perfect for making bags!

Image from Tree Big on Rakuten

A fabric featuring Heidi stamps! I was trying to find out the designer of this particular version of Heidi, since there are so many storybook version of the original story by Johanna Spyri, when I realized the character looks very familiar and realized that it came from the 1974 Japanese cartoon version of Heidi (where the title is actually ハイジ pronounced Haiji). According to Wikipedia, this character was designed by  Yōichi Kotabe – a Japanese manga artist and animator. Many of you might have watched this when you were kids since it was apparently dubbed into many languages.

Image from Tree Big on Rakuten

This is new to me. Karl and Curious Tower – A quick search on on Google tells me that this is a Japanese cartoon with the following synopsis –

“The story centers around a mysterious tall tower built from an (unsteady) stack of building blocks. Every morning, noon, and evening, an old timekeeping man rings the bell in the tower to confirm the time for the local townspeople. However, one day at noon, the tower bell fails to ring — leaving the townspeople confused about when to eat lunch. The fantasy adventure begins when Karl, an inquisitive boy living in the town, decides to go to the tower’s plaza to see what is the matter.”

Haha, even the synopsis is so cute!

Image from Tree Big on Rakuten

Babar! One of my childhood favourites. I remembered watching this on TV and borrowing the books from the library. My brother even bought me a vintage Babar print (from a vintage storybook) from a flea market when he went to Europe. I love the green fabric in particular, it’s a very Babar color!

Image from Tree Big on Rakuten

In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.
In two straight lines they broke their bread
And brushed their teeth and went to bed.
They left the house at half past nine
In two straight lines in rain or shine-
The smallest one was Madeline.”
― Ludwig BemelmansMadeline

I did not read this as a child but I bought Madeline books for my girls and they love her. I’ve read the stories so many times I can memorize the opening lines 🙂

Image from Tree Big on Rakuten

This fabric is based on the storybook series called The Family of Fourteen. This is a very cute story about a family of 14 mice by Kazuo Iwamura. I first stumbled upon the Chinese version of these storybooks and just fell in love with the illustrations. The books have been translated to many languages including English. You can see a picture of the entire family here and even “mouse” over 😛 the characters to see the profile of the individual character. The fabric in border print even shows their names below each mouse.

How many of these characters did you recognize? Are you tempted like me to buy the fabrics? I’m really tempted to get Babar for myself and Madeline for the girls.. oh, and the Shinzi Katoh, and the Le Sucre fabrics. Uh oh 😛

 

Back to School Sewing Patterns Japanese Fabrics

Japanese Fabrics – Character Fabrics

January 10, 2013

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 😛 Take a look below…