Making handmade zakka from Japanese tenugui ♪ 100円ショップの手ぬぐいでいろいろ作ってます♪

Now the summer is in full swing in Tokyo, and we're striving to survive the unbearably hot and steamy weather with temperature reaching over 90 F with high humidity... The worst part is that the rainy season isn't over yet, so we must prepare ourselves with sudden rain and changing weather at any moment. 

東京は梅雨の真っ只中で今週は35℃以上の猛暑日も続きすっかりバテバテの私です💦 あじ~よ~(汗)

Image taken at our local 100 yen store

Today I'd like to show you what I've made so far using traditional Japanese hand towels, or "tenugui " (手拭い)which is perfect to use during hot summer days in Japan. Tenugui are made of thin 100% cotton and it's great for summer because of its super absorbency and fast dryness.


100円ショップ セリアさんの手ぬぐいコーナー。

Tenugui can be purchased at specialty stores, or nowadays you can find them at local 100 yen stores, or Japanese dollar stores, everywhere in Japan during summer. And that's where I purchase most of my tenugui collections! lol


The tenugui measures approximately 36" x 14", or 90 cm x 35 cm, and they come in various designs and patterns. Besides using them as handkerchiefs and towels, I've turned these into several zakka items around our house such as...



A cover for our cutlery/chopstick case. Love these polar bears.


The tenugui cover keeps the dust away from chopsticks.


Then I turned these thin cloths into tiny curtain for our kitchen shelf (more polar bears!)


I also made hanging tissue box covers in various tenugui fabrics.


We live in a small apartment in Tokyo and these hanging tissue box holders are great space savers. I like to hang these tissue boxes all over our house!


Then I stitched up a mini tote bag using one of my favorite tenugui designs - black and white floral prints.


To add sturdiness to this otherwise thin fabric, I added layers of batting and backing cotton to the tenugui and machine-quilted three layers altogether.  


For lining, I used pre-quilted gingham check fabric and added internal pockets to the mini tote.


For the pattern of this mini tote, I basically followed my Insulated Bento Lunch Bag pattern from my book, and made minor changes here and there. For example, I installed zipper top instead of drawstring opening and added D-rings on both edges of the tote opening to attach adjustable shoulder strap.


I'm happy with how this mini tote turned out. Lately, I've been carrying this mini tote wherever I go.


From my earlier makes...

Here's more tenugui sewing from previous seasons. These are kids' summer pants I stitched up for my young niece and nephews last summer, mainly using tenugui fabrics (Minnie mouse pants are not made of regular cotton but the rest are made of tenugui).


 For this one, I added crocheted edging to the lightweight tenugui towel and turned it into summer scarf. This tenugui was fairly larger (or longer) in size. I remember that it measured approximately 48" or 120 cm long instead of 30" or 90 cm in length.


BTW I purchased this tenugui scarf in Kyoto few years back. Surprisingly for me, this one is not from 100 yen shop but from a tenugui specialty shop! As you may know, Kyoto is one of the traditional and historical cities in Japan, quite different from the metropolitan Tokyo.


More tenugui from my collection...

I guess I shall continue making more stuff from these beautiful Japanese tenugui, especially during hot and muggy summer days in Japan❣

Happy tenugui sewing❣


ハッピー手ぬぐいソーイング♪ 皆さまも良い夏をお過ごしくださいね。

**Amy Morinaka***

Find me on Facebook (Amy Morinaka) →☆
Follow me on Instagram @chickchicksewing →★


Susan said...

I look forward to buying some of these when I come to Japan in October. Hopefully the weather will be more conducive to travel then! Love your tote- very cute! Stay cool.....

elnorac said...

Love, love, love your adorable tenugui makes, Amy! Your apartment must be so charming with all of your zakka touches!


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