Omiyage.  Cleansing the Sewing Palate

In Japanese, so the book says, Omiyage means “the giving of gifts”.  For the fashion maker, this happy little eye candy is an extraordinary sewing palate cleanser. Getting tired of making things to replenish the closet? A change of pace means handling small fabric pieces instead of yardage, no fit issues, and not worrying of how badly the colors clash.  It’s also an extraordinary scrap buster. Making this little thing was relaxing and fun. Now I want to make several more – see, it’s one of those things where you can’t just make one.

The aforementioned book was published in 2001, and I presume it landed on my bookshelf not long thereafter. Fifteen years later, a delicious project finally got made. Originally, the cover sold me on this book – a gift receptacle in the shape of a “Chinese bellflower”.  If you don’t know what a real Chinese Bellflower looks like, just go with it. I don’t know either.

Since the items are small, the author recommends hand sewing to get more control, but a piece with straight lines can be quickly sewn on a machine. I chose to hand sew my first omiyage piece; because I needed the equivalent of a mint after many meals. Above you can see the upper petals traced, seam allowance added and cut out.

Obviously, I can’t give you the pattern, instructions and all that, because copyright infringement is a thing. I’m extremely wary of that and respect it.  But here is the anatomy of the little bag.

On top it’s a flower complete with upper petals, lower petals, the center (I added a tiny, shiny button) and the leaves attached to the lower petals. Turn it over and it’s an itty bitty drawstring bag to hold an equally itty bitty gift. How cute is that, huh?  Not all projects in the book are bags; there are boxes, sewing kit receptacles, pin cushions and bag tags or gift tags (which are gifts themselves). All patterns are in the book – full size, because these are tiny items. Is this a great scrap buster, or what?


Frankly, the flower shapes are my favorite. There are other funky very Japanese motifs like the clinging babies, the animals, the little moth shapes, a cicada and more.

So, go ahead and pull out some scraps in fall colors and make yourself a happy little project. Great for holiday gift giving!







10 thoughts on “Omiyage.  Cleansing the Sewing Palate

    1. I can understand the ups and downs of being overwhelmed by “stuff” and later dealing with a twinge of regret in giving away self made things. Recently I gave away a lot of sewing and craft books – then found I “needed” at least two of them. Oh well…. a creative person’s life….


  1. Entirely understand the appeal of a palate cleanser. I need a dud cleanser myself. When I’m offtrack, I make bags, and enough hats where flowers like that would be perfectly at home on them.
    Thanks for the nudge.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I could not remember the names of the items I made, so I thought I’d look in my Omiyage book for the names. EEK. I found I gave away my Omiyage, too, in my mad decluttering frenzy! There are no photos allowed here I guess?! I just uploaded the Omiyage I made as my personal photo on Pinterest. Here’s the Pinterest link. I hope this works, if not, I have a photo so maybe I can post to facebook or something? I stuffed them & hung them on the laundry room cabinet knobs and stuck a few pins in as a laundry pin cushion…then I decluttered… 😦


      1. I didn’t know the Pinterest photo would upload here, either. EEK. Please feel free to delete my Pinterest link…it seems intrusive to say the least. I had no idea the link would do that. Thanks for the follow….I am following you as well. Happy sewing. 🙂


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