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How-to

Video: Learn Kumihimo, a Japanese Braiding Technique

This easy-to-learn braid gives a custom touch to any sewing project.

Jan 04, 2018

Kumihimo, the art of Japanese braiding, is simple to learn and even easier to get hooked on. There are innumerable variations, and a change of braiding material further multiplies the options for beautiful results. Once you learn some basic techniques, you’ll find it’s impossible to make an unattractive cord.

Traditionally, kumihimo is done with weighted threads on a tall wooden stand with a ring-shaped top, called a marudai. The braiding is performed sitting cross-legged on the floor, with arm movements reminiscent of a beautiful and thoughtful dance.

Today, foam disks with grooves cut into the perimeter to support the yarns and ribbons can stand in for the marudai. This lovely art form is portable and useful for creating cords to make frogs, loops, ball buttons, and other closures.

Read “Learn to Braid a Japanese Cord for Unique Sewing Accents” for a step-by-step tutorial on kumihimo braiding.

This video accompanies the article “Unique Braided Trims” by Daryl Lancaster (p.22) in Threads #194.

 

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  1. Kayla C January 16th

    I tried this after seeing it in the magazine. I made a very pretty loop and knot closure for a jacket.

    How would you use it for piping, though? If you folded fabric over it in order to attach it, you would hide the beautiful braids.

  2. Concordiabelle January 10th

    Love this! I have a bunch of funky yarns, threads, ravelly fabrics, etc. that would make unusual trims. Thanks for the ideas and instructions.

  3. CarolFresia January 9th

    You can finish the ends in a number of ways, depending on how you plan to use the braid. If it's skinny and you are applying it to a garment, you can sew the ends into a seam. If the braid is thick, you can knot the ends (either all into one big knot, or into several smaller knots), tie them to a charm or ring, bind them together into a tassel, etc. With thicker cords, you can even sew all the ends together neatly by hand and, if desired, sew piece of fabric over the end to enclose it. I'm sure there are other options as well--a little experimentation will help.

  4. user-248069 January 9th

    But how do you finish the ends?

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