Your Own DIY-Obi

Do you sometimes find those pictures of beautiful obi and think: “Damn! Where can I buy that?” And then you realize the sad truth: it’s self-made and not for sell. But how can one make an obi? And can you also make an obi out of non-kimono fabrics?

To find that out, I made my way to Nagoya to meet the fabulous Ms. Shinobu Mizuno. I found her on Instagram and was amazed by her masterpieces which were made of antique (obviously to small) fabrics, old unwearable kimono, or even a dress bought at ZARA.

There was no other way! I had to meet her!!!

Quick, Beautiful, Individual — and Cheap!

The “Shinobu Method” (that’s how I call it) makes you able to make your one and only nagoya obi in 3 hours. The lesson itself takes from 13:00 to 17:30 including a small break (30 minutes).

It took years until Shinobu-sensei perfected an easy, quick, and money-saving way to tailor nagoya obi. She explains very good, simple, and easy to understand (in her charming Kyoto accent). Further, she’ll show you lots of little hints to make your obi even more perfect and even more individual.


Not used to sewing machines? Me, either! But Shinobu-sensei‘s was really easy to operate. So no worries! And thanks to her I figured out how to use my own sewing machine more efficient.


You can bet how tired I was! And to be honest: the lesson itself wasn’t the cheapest (¥150.000 = $150). But it also includes a booklet of all things you’ve learned during the lesson and 2 obi shin (帯芯 obi core, a piece of thick cloth you sew into the obi). So it’s reasonable price.

What do you need for making an obi?

First of all a fabric you’re totally in love with. I found this beauty on my honeymoon in Bali and making an obi was a good way to store all my memories.


A lot of people reading this perhaps have already tried to make their own obi and bought tons of fabrics for it and then it turns out that you bought way too much. How much do you really need? With the “Shinobu Method” a fabric with 110cm width and 200cm length should be enough – and you still have enough left for making a matching haneri or bag.


You cut and sew and iron and and sew and iron and voilà!

This one is an obi I made of tenugui (手ぬぐい) – a kind of Japanese handkerchief.

Here’s another cutie I made of a normal cotton fabric.


If you want to know more about the “Shinobu Method”, check out Shinobu-sensei‘s blog, book a lesson and get a ticket to Nagoya. Oh, and you definitely shouldn’t miss her Instagram! 😉


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