6. Put the 2 corners together as shown in Figure F.
Take 3– 5 tiny stitches through both corners, tacking
them together at the point where they meet. On
your last stitch, leave a small loop in the thread, pass
your needle through it twice, then pull it tight. This
makes a secure knot (Figure G). Now your otedama
has a nice, square end.
7. To fill your otedama, turn it so that the open end
faces up, and set it on a flat surface (Figure H). Fill
with the filling of your choice, until the filling level
is about 1½" from the top edge of the fabric.
8. Turn under a ¼" hem around the top edge of the
fabric. Press it in place with your fingers, and then
secure the 2 sides together with a pin (Figure I).
9. Sew the end of the otedama closed using tiny
whipstitches (Figure J). Knot the end of the thread
as you did in Step 6.
10. Flatten this seam, and tack the remaining
2 corners together as you did in Step 6. Pat your
otedama into shape, and it’s finished (Figure L).
Variation: Piecework Otedama
You can create beautiful otedama by adding more
fabrics. For a 2-color otedama, start with 2 pieces
of fabric, each measuring 4"× 3¾". Place right
sides together, and sew along 3 sides, as shown in
Figure 1. Then proceed with the basic instructions.
For a 4-color otedama, start with 4 pieces of fabric,
each measuring 4"× 21". Stitch them together in
pairs. Place these 2 pieces right sides together,
alternating the patterns as shown in Figure 2.
Sew together on 3 sides and proceed with the
Variation: Otedama Fruits
Traditionally, fruit-shaped otedama were very popular in Japan, as heralds of the changing seasons.
1. To make fruit-shaped otedama, follow Step 1
of the basic instructions. Then follow Step 2, but
leave 2 edges of the otedama unsewn, the top
2. Next, with the right sides of the fabric together,
take one of the open ends of the fabric, and turn a
¼" hem toward the outside. Press it in place with
your fingers. Thread a needle with doubled thread,
and tie a large knot in the thread.
3. Make a gathering stitch all the way around the
hem, as shown in Figure 3. Pull the thread to gather
the fabric as tightly as possible (Figure 4). Then