Karen takes us through a Japanese craft store

on January 18 | in Sewing Inspiration, Sewing Trends | by | with 15 Comments

In addition to the rows and rows of beautiful fabric, Karen is intrigued by everything else Japanese fabric stores display and sell. Karen lives in Japan and blogs at Seam Ripper; she offered to show us some Japanese fabric shop snapshots and we jumped at the chance. Later this week we’ll get a view of the European sewing scene too.

Do you have photos or details to share from the Japanese fabric and sewing scene?! Share in the comments!

From Karen:
Domo Arigato, Japan!

Two things I’ve noticed about Japan since I moved here a year ago are that (1) Japanese stores provide amazing customer service, and (2) in this country, there is a high value placed upon training and learning of any kind. These two factors are apparent to anyone walking into a Japanese craft store, since not only will you find the usual selection of fabrics, patterns, and notions, but you’ll also find fun craft kits assembled by the employees for sale in the store to help crafters complete projects on their own.

In my local craft store, the shelves hold finished products– like these pouches– with packets underneath filled with all the fabric, notions, and illustrated instructions you will need to make them yourself.

The craft samples are displayed in a variety of colors and patterns so you can decide which kit you want. Some of the kits I found in this particular store contained materials to make several different sized bags, fabric book covers, tissue pack covers, pouches, and decorations like these squid and fish hanging on lines.

Some of the kits must be unique to this part of the world– Like kits containing everything you need to sew the surgical masks so many Japanese people wear during flu season.

I brought home a kit to make a little change purse with some cute Japanese linen in a Red Riding Hood print. The packet came with two fabrics, a stiff lining, and the snap. The illustrated instructions with cute pandas and rabbits showing me what to do helped me along, even though I don’t read Japanese.

With a little squinting and guessing, I made it work. A cute new place to keep my yen!

Making the purse made me want to run out and get more kits, but before I take on a more complex sewing kit, I definitely need to hit my Japanese books and learn to read!

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15 Responses to Karen takes us through a Japanese craft store

  1. Robjoywin says:

    This is adorable. My husband has orders to japan and we will be moving there in may I hope there is a crft store near us. I love all of the fabrics and with little kits like these they will deffinately help a new sewer like me. Thanks for sharing.

  2. MichelleRenee says:

    I went to Tokyo last May. I spent an entire day in Fabric Town. It was one of the highlights of my traveling life. I cannot wait to return.

  3. How Fun! It’s great to visit other places and see what they do to inspire customers. Thanks

  4. Dawn S. says:

    Thanks for sharing! I just learned that we’ll be moving to Japan this summer when my hubby gets his orders from the Navy. I can only hope there will be a store like this close to us!

  5. Christine says:

    How cool is that! I agree that someone needs to have a store. How about on the internet?

  6. Greeblygreebly says:

    I can’t wait to show this to my daughter, she is in love with all things Japanese. :)

  7. Stacy says:

    That is so fascinating! I really want to hop a plane and check out a Japanese craft store for myself! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Sue says:

    I like the mask a lot and may try to make some. I have the white ones you get at the store but would much rather wear one like these.

  9. Jocelyn says:

    P.S. Maybe my projects don’t turn out because I don’t have cute pandas and rabbits to help me along :)

  10. Jocelyn says:

    Very, very fun! Won’t someone please open a Japanese craft store in Oregon? Hey, it can’t hurt to ask.

  11. Jill B says:

    Oh so much fun! Great photos and tour – thanks to Karen! I lived in Japan for one year, over 10 years ago, but I didn’t sew or knit yet – I missed out on so much!

  12. Cara says:

    So fun! Now I am dying to go to Japan for a tour of the craft stores.

  13. Jeni says:

    That was so much fun, visiting the store with Karen! I miss Japan and the cuteness that abounds in the shops:-)

  14. Chancy says:

    This is SO cool. It definitely makes me want to explore craft stores in Japan….I guess I might have to settle for Japantown in San Fran.

  15. Amy says:

    Oh My goodness! I can’t tell you how insanely envious I am of you, Karen right now! Kyaa!!!! But I’m happy for you at the same time – getting to be in Japan and enjoying the seriously hot craft scene over there. Thanks for sharing Karen!

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