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.
If you have read “A Novice’s Attempt on Sashiko” (my previous post), you’d know that Ajisai (紫陽花/Hydrangea) has been on my mind lately, especially during this Tsuyu (梅雨/rainy season). So I decided to make it the seventh Christmas tree decoration, which 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 am learning from books. Okay, here is how I make the pretty flower cluster and sweet butterfly. Step by step, here we go!
The flowers were deliberately made in different sizes (between 3 to 4.5 cm diameters). (1) I measured and cut them in circular shapes. I did a running stitch about 0.5 cm away from the edge. (2) With the needle and thread intact (don’t cut the thread until the end), I gave it a pull (3) so that it would become this rounded form. (4) I pushed the needle right through the middle, from bottom to top. (5) Then, I added four loops (again at the middle, from bottom to top). (6) I bought these beads from the DAISO, 500 pieces (4mm) for 108 yen! I attached a bead to the flower, ended the thread with a final knot at the bottom and CUT. One flower done!The number of flowers to make really depend on the size of the pinecone. For me, I made a total of 25 pieces!
The flowers could be done so quickly that I was able to make these hair accessories (1 for me and 1 for my baby girl) on the night before I wore my Jinbei with Hydrangea Embroidery.
This is how I made my butterfly. Ideally, I shouldn’t be using red fabric, since the flowers are in shades of red. The reason why I used this leftover Christmas fleece was mainly because the rest of the pinecone gang had some on them. And I felt that it is important to have consistency. Hence, my little butterfly is now camouflaging. (LOL)(1) I cut two squares in two sizes (4 & 5 cm respectively). (2) I folded them in halves, and sewed the edges, but left an opening wide enough to turn it inside out. (3) Once they were turned to the right sides, I tucked in their top edges. (4) I sewed the top and bottom parts together. (5) Using gold threads, I looped a few times around them. I ended the final loop by pushing the needle through the fleece and tied a knot.
My pinecones were baked before I used them for crafts. Here is how I baked my pinecones. I wanted the colors to be blend in with the flowers, and not to stand out too much in this project. So, I used a layer of reddish brown acrylic, to make it look like a little shrub.
This is how I arranged the chirimen flowers, to make it looked like an Ajisai’s flower cluster. Instead of the whole pinecone, I glued only a section (like an oval shape). Then, I placed the butterfly on top.
This was how I made the leaves. (1) I cut out a semi-circle. (2) I folded it into halves, and sewed on one side. (3) Then, I turned it inside out. (4) On the right side, I stitched up the opening, gave it a pull and secured the ends. Then, I made a few more and glued them to the pinecone…