How to Make a Sarubobo Plush & Applique Frame

on August 18 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 79 Comments

Today Mai from Mairuru shows you how to make a traditional Japanese figure with a great framing process too. You can learn more about Mai in her introduction (she stitches everything by hand!).

From Mai: My friend gave me an idea to make a frame with my Sarubobo plushes. So I’d like to write here the process of making a frame.

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To make it you need:

  • a frame
  • fabrics
  • batting (of the size of the frame)
  • adhesive interlining(to make the applique)
  • embroidery thread(if you want to embroidery)
  • stuffing (for plush)

Sarubobo is a Japanese amulet, a baby monkey plush.

I used this frame. At first, I sized it and sketched. I’ll put two sarubobo plush on it, and I applique the fruits.
I copied the design in another piece of paper, and cut the pattern of fruits.
Then cut the adhesive interlining as the patterns. Please note that you should put the pattern of the wrong side upper, not to make it reverse.Iron them on the fabrics.Cut as the pattern line.
If you want to make something like the watermelon, please put 5mm allowance for the joint side, like the picture (the under side of the red, and the upper side of the green).
Then sew the pieces of watermelon together. I marked the center of the pattern and put a pin on the mark.
Open the allowance…
…And iron it.
Then, sew the fruits on the back fabric. I put a low profile batting on it to give warm impression.
Sew the batting too.
Sew the edge line using blind stitch.

Then, make sarubobo plushes:

For this tiny frame, I make the pattern like the picture. For the head, 2.8 cm diameter circle, and for the body, 3 cm x 3.5 cm rectangle(includes allowances).I wrote how to make sarubobo plush here. Please check the link to see the detail.
This piece becomes the body.
Each corner becomes the leg or the hand.
Fold the piece in bias making a hand, and sew the edge line.
Don’t cut the thread and sew to the other side.
You made two hands now.
Do the same thing on the other side.
Turn it out. I use the needle to pull the corners of hands and legs.Then put the stuffing with thin stick (I used hair pin), and close the center space.
You made the body.
Then, make the head with the circle piece. Sew the edge line.
Put the stuffing on the center and pull the string. Make a ball. This is a head.
Put the head on the body and sew them together.
I made two sarubobo.
Put it on the fruit, and sew the four corner of their hands and legs.
At last I hand embroidered the seeds of the watermelon.

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I made also the one climbing an apple tree.

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For this frame, I used the fusible web to put applique, so I didn’t sew it. It’s easier than using adhesive interlining, but the applique fabric becomes hard to embroidery. So I prefer using adhesive interlining.

Thank you for reading such a long article.
Enjoy sewing!

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79 Responses to How to Make a Sarubobo Plush & Applique Frame

  1. mbt chapa says:

    I agree it is very well done. Glad you found it useful.

  2. kharin fuchs says:

    adorei!!!!!!!!!!!que mimoso !!!!!!!!!!!!
    vou fazer e dar para minhas amigas.
    parabens é muito lindo!!!!!!!
    kharin – poa – rs – brasil

  3. ddex says:

    I instantly fell in love with your project. Cannot wait to make something similar for the new grandbaby, due this spring, to be born at Yokosuka base. I too love Japanese crafts. Other than TOMATO, any suggestions of shopping for fabric, when I get back to Tokyo?

  4. Rozita says:

    I love anything sewn by hand. They are so cute and neat.

  5. Wonderful! The Sarubobo are so simple and yet they look so delightful. I love the framed picture and I’m going to try this soon.

  6. Sam says:

    Wonderful! The Sarubobo are so simple and yet they look so delightful. I love the framed picture and I’m going to try this soon.

  7. I love this, Mai has such cute ideas and the fact she hand sews everything is amazing

  8. Krista says:

    Adorable, simple, lovely to look at. Thanks for sharing your instructions.

  9. Julia M. in MI says:

    These are really nice art. Easy to make and a great artistic espression for the home.

  10. Sarah S says:

    How cute! I’ve never seen this technique done before.

  11. Grace Wong says:

    the sarubobo plushies look so cute!

  12. carmel says:

    thanks alot for the tutorial!
    i am going to be useing this one!

  13. Faye says:

    So adorably cute!

  14. Mai does such fine work. Keep it up. Your site is going in my favorites file.

  15. Ann Dilcher says:

    I love Mai’s creations and blog and have been trying to think of how she makes the tiny people. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  16. Mai says:

    Thank you very much everyone! I’m happy to have made this post.
    I wanted to share the pleasure of hand sewing with you! It’s easy to begin and not so hard.

  17. Leslie says:

    Amazing talent!

  18. sandyandcosmo says:

    Your projects are always so creative, thanks for sharing them with us.

  19. Shawna says:

    So very cute! I’ve never seen anything like it!

  20. bimbi says:

    wow, it’s so beautiful !
    i will try it soon 🙂
    thank you so much for sharing

  21. Tiina says:

    I love all kind of japanese… things.

  22. What a wonderful little piece and tutorial.
    I like the idea and would be fun for gifts for my friends.


  23. Carla says:

    I am totally impressed with your work.

  24. Lauranie says:

    Amazing talent!! Thanks so much for sharing with us! 🙂

  25. Dawn says:

    So pretty!

  26. Holly says:

    Very cute. A set of these would make a fantastic baby gift.

  27. Lisa says:

    Cute Idea…

  28. PenguitoSmile says:

    I love the creativity of this project…It would be adorable with a crescent moon… to hang in a child’s room!

  29. fert says:

    absolutely adorable! i wonder if i could make add little triangles (ears) and a curly tail to turn those dolls into pug dogs.

  30. Helena says:

    I always wonder what those cute little guys were. Thanks for sharing this is darling.

  31. Ronni says:

    Wow! These are so neat!

  32. Stacy says:

    I have never seen anything like that before! I think those would go great in a nursery or for a child’s room. Thanks for the tutorial!

  33. becky says:

    how cute. i have never seen little guys like this. thanks for the show and tell us all how to do it.

  34. Emily says:

    these are so cute! and her blog is so charming!

  35. Leah says:

    I’m a huge fan of Mai’s and love how generously she shares how to do things. This would be so cute in a kitchen or child’s room.

  36. Mrs. Pear says:

    This is beautiful! Some friends of ours love all things Japanese after teaching there for a couple years, so I think I will have to be making this in the near future!

  37. Erica K says:

    Adorable! And impressive how small the pieces are…

  38. Elizabeth says:

    I love all of Mai’s beautiful work! Thanks so much for the tutorial! 🙂

  39. __L__ says:

    These Sarubobo are so cute and so tiny!! That’s amazing!

  40. BeckyS says:

    Another beautiful creation Mai! I love your wall art (and everything else you do). Thank you for sharing.

  41. jennsquared says:

    These are adorable! Putting this on my project list to decorate the baby’s room!

  42. Becky says:

    Mai is amazing. i wish I had time to try all of her nifty designs!!

  43. Nima says:

    wow…very nice

  44. mary says:

    I love the one climbing the tree! I have seen her blog before and admire her patience to sew by hand!

  45. Elizabeth says:

    So sweet! I am on this project for some kiddos that go to a Japanese immersion school. This will top the felt sushi from last year!

  46. Margie says:

    So very cute! Wow.

  47. Ramona says:

    These are so creative and adorable. Thanks for showing us how to make it.

  48. qsogirl says:

    These are so sweet and whimsical!

  49. Oh my goodness, I didn’t realize how tiny they were. So talented.

  50. Greeblygreebly says:

    That is so cute!

  51. Jen J says:

    Your sewing is magnificent and a work of fine art!!! .

  52. gina says:

    adorable! i especially love the one climbing the apple tree 🙂 may have to try this out for a baby gift – would be so cute decorating a nursery!

  53. Mary Anna says:

    How adorable is that! And, I’m amazed that she does it all by hand. I just don’t have the patience!

  54. Krystina says:

    The tree would look so great in a kid’s room!

  55. Amy says:

    Oh, they are so cute! Too many ideas, too little time!

  56. Natalie says:

    So tiny and delicate! You have patient hands.

  57. Huimin says:

    This is a great tutorial, will try it soon!

  58. Anna says:

    This is so great! Thanks for finding such talented artists and sharing their tutorials!

  59. Need to Sew says:

    I am so impressed! Thank you for giving me another fantastic blog to read!

  60. Sarah E. says:

    I love that! What a great idea!

  61. Jane says:

    Oh my, what cute little things!

  62. brandy says:

    That’s so neat!

  63. Stacey says:

    this is so cute, i love japanese crafts!! obsessed actually

  64. Mare says:

    So cute!

  65. Karen says:

    This looks tricky, but I think I’ll give it a try. I am always up for trying new things.

  66. Andrea says:

    these are so cute!

  67. janet says:

    i always wondered how those little guys hugging chinese pin cushions are made. thanks for the tutorial. I think I’m going to be making a lot of these!

  68. Sharmila says:

    Great idea to applique!! Thanks for the same

  69. Peggy says:

    Those are so sweet! I’ve been trying to come up with a project to use some scraps of my fave fabrics, and I think this is it. You might even be able to do this as a take-with-you-to-work on project…I’ll try it and see.

  70. emtdlb says:

    It seems like a lot of work, but it is so cute. I have never seen anything like it. Very neat.

  71. Ashley says:

    I didn’t know it was so easy to sew sarubobo 🙂 It’s adorable!

  72. Kat says:

    This is a beautiful way to use the traditional Sarubobo dolls. I even went to read the history and meaning of these dolls. All very interesting. Thank you for sharing this part of Japanese culture; I found it extremely interesting. Although the article mentioned Tobibobo also, and I cannot seem to find any information on those dolls.

  73. Stéphanie says:

    I have just discovered Mai’s blog.. and this is just fantastic what she has been doing by hand !!
    I love her Sarubobo plush … with leftover fabric, they should be a thrill to sew !

    Thanks a lot

    Stéphanie from France

  74. tanja says:

    Cute, cute, cute! I love the stories, they tell. Great work!

  75. cath06 says:

    Waou.., it is so cute
    we do not have these sarubobo here in france, I have to check what it means exactely…
    have a good day

  76. Emily says:

    This looks great, and I’m sure if I were to hang this on my wall I would get lots of interesting comments, It’s so unusual and fun!-you have such a sweet and lovely blog here, I am envious!

  77. Tam Bell says:

    That is beautiful!@

  78. Kate says:

    Wow! So tiny! Awesome.

  79. Michelle says:

    I’ve just recently discovered Mai’s blog and her amazing work, and I’m already a huge fan. I used to hand piece queen sized quilts by hand and everyone looked at me like I was insane. I feel like Mai is a woman after my own heart! Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

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