Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.
Introducing Joji, my fourth Christmas tree decoration. He is part of my pinecone craft series in Japanese style. Of which, I’d share basic techniques of Chirimen Zaiku (ちりめん細工/Crepe Handicrafts) that I learn from books. Okay, here is how I make my chirimen pinecone monkey. Step by step, here we go!
I decided to make the bib for my monkey first. Like his predecessors (Dolly, Piney & Bunny), I used my leftover Christmas fleece.
1. The fleece fabric was going to be the strings of the bib. It measured 2.5 x 23 cm. I folded it into halves and stitched it this way (see picture). Then, I turned it inside out and stitched close the opening. (Note: I took a while to turn the fleece inside out, I would recommend other types of fabric for this purpose instead.)
2. The chirimen fabric is 10 x 5.5 cm. I folded it into halves as well, and drew the shape on the wrong side of the fabric.3. After cutting it, this is how I stitched it and left an opening.
4. Then I turned it inside out and attached it to the fleece. I also added a little bell to it, to give it an extra Christmassy feel.
This is the classic way of how monkeys are sewed in Chirimen Zaiku.
1. First, I used a piece of 11 x 13 cm chirimen fabric.
2. I sewed according to the markings. Red in a group and green in another.
3. Next, I stitched up the corners, leaving the middle part unstitched.
4. Through the opening, I inverted the right side out.
5. I stuffed some battings into the body using a waribashi (wooden chopsticks).
6. Once I was happy with the volume, I stitched up the opening.
1. I used a piece of chrimen fabric (6-cm diameter) for the head. I stitched around it like a pull string bag. Next, I stuffed battings into it before I pull-shut the opening.
2. For the face, I drew its shape on a piece of thick paper and cut it out.
3. I glued small amount of batting on it and covered it with another piece of chirimen. A method used in Oshie Craft.4. For the ears, I used four small pieces of crepe fabric, two different colors in each group. I sewed them along the lines, then turned it inside out.
5. Next, I sewed the ears to the head.
6. For Joji’s mouth and nose, I used brown floss, and black beads for his eyes.
7. I sewed his head to his body, tied the bib around his neck before I glued his face on.
8. Then, I used a red wax crayon to color his cheeks.
1. I used a 7.5 x 3 cm chirimen for the tail. Like the fleece (strings of the bib), I folded it into halves, sewed along the sides (see above picture)
2. Then I turned it inside out.
3. At the opening, I pushed the fabric in a bit more to keep the unsightly frays at bay.4. Then, I sewed the tail onto the body and added a red string (21.5cm long). I glued its knots underneath the bib to prevent it from moving too much.
For this project, I purposely chose a really small pinecone for Joji to hold. Btw, my pinecones were baked before I used them for crafts. Here is how I baked them. To make the colors vibrant, I first painted the little pinecone with white acrylic, as a base paint. Once it was completely dry, I added red acrylic. As the final step, I glued it to my monkey an hour later. Presenting…