Make your own Totoro Hoodie Jumper

Today I’m going to show you how to make your own Totoro hoodie jumper! In previous posts I’ve mentioned my families enduring love of Studio Ghibli films, but it’s not always easy to source merchandise if you’re looking for a gift for a fan. I’d seen Totoro themed hoodies online but no tutorials, so I set about making my own.

Make Your Own Totoro Hoodie

First you need a plain grey jumper.


Then unpick the front pocket and put it aside (you’ll need it later).


Now the fun begins! I bought some cream coloured fleece fabric and drew a basic template to give the Totoro a big round tummy! Cut out the shape from fleece and carefully pin to the front of your hoodie. I turned the edge of the fleece under as I pinned. Next I stitched closed to the edge of the fleece fabric all the way around to secure.


Totoro needs some fabulous ears coming out of the top of the hood. First draw a template on paper and then grab the front pocket you removed earlier and cut out four ear shapes. Place the right sides of the fabric together and sew around the edge of the ears, remembering to leave a gap so you can turn them out the right way. Press with an iron.


To attach the ears first begin by laying the hood of your jumper down flat and work out where you want the ears to be placed. Mark on the hood using a pencil or tailor’s chalk. Very carefully cut along the mark you just made, push the ears inside the cut and pin into position. I sewed the ears into place by hand rather than using a machine so I could ease the fabric correctly and not create and a deep ridged sewing line.


I grabbed some more fleece and sketched out Totoro’s eyes and nose. These were then pinned and sewn to the front of the hood.


Totoro has a few small shapes on his tummy which I made from the remaining pocket fabric, I tacked them into position and then sewed securely with my sewing machine.


The finished hoodie was a very well received Christmas present!

Make your own Totoro Hoodie

Howl’s Moving Castle Steampunk inspired Bento lunchbox!

Steampunk Bento Box #shop

Steampunk Bento Box

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

I absolutely love the Japanese art of Kyaraben Bento boxes. A Bento box is basically a Japanese lunchbox containing a single meal. A Kyaraben is a character bento box where a chef or enthusiast has prepared the food to look like popular characters. They can be extremely elaborate and there are many tools available to help in their preparation (such as cutters or egg shapers).

While I have admired them from afar I have never attempted to make one, partially because I know nothing much about Japanese cuisine or cookery and partly because they just look too difficult! However I finally decided to take on the challenge, while adding my own spin (this isn’t an authentic or traditional Bento, just my take on it).

Pinterest Bento Boxes #shop

Pinterest Bento Boxes

My favourite place to visit for inspiration is Pinterest and this page in particular has some awe inspiring designs. I’m a huge Studio Ghibli fan (if you do not know their movies you’re missing out!) and I immediately gravitated towards the Totoro designed Bento.

Anna The Red #shop

Anna The Red

This was designed and created by Bento blogger Anna the Red. Aside from a whole collection of Bento images, she also includes several brilliant tutorials if you’d like to give this art form a try.

With my research done I headed down to Sainsbury’s to do my shopping, you can see how I got on and failed (there was no sushi rice!) here.

I didn’t want to copy any of the Bento boxes I’d seen, because they weren’t my designs. Despite my lack of experience I assumed I’d be alright trying out my own idea; I’m not overly convinced this turned out to be true but I’ll let you judge that later. I wanted to make a Bento inspired by another Studio Ghibli film ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’. The story has quite a steampunk design throughout, so rather than make an individual character I decided to make a Steampunk Bento box. I wanted to make a mechanical heart complete with cogs, pipes and wheels.

Edible key and pipework #shop

Edible key and pipework

Edible pipework

I couldn’t work out how to make pipework in a Japanese style, so instead I made Cheese Straws! Obviously this is not authentic Bento but they worked. I rolled them out as you would normal cheese straws but instead of cutting and twisting I used a knife to cut out ‘C’ shapes to make my pipes. Once cooled I used a little edible Gold lustre to make them more metallic in appearance. I also made a key shape out of the cheese straw mixture.

Edible Cogs and wheels #shop

Edible Cogs and wheels

Cogs & Wheels

For my cogs and wheels I cut out Leerdammer cheese, radishes, ham and cucumbers. I thought they looked quite sweet 🙂

Rice Heart #shop

Rice Heart


The heart was made from cooked and cooled rice, moulded by hand in cling film. I sort of wish I’d added some colouring to the rice but I didn’t think of this until afterwards.

Steampunk Bento Box #shop

Steampunk Bento Box

The Finished Bento

I lined my box with lettuce before assembling the various parts. As a creative person with a somewhat perfectionist personality, it’s always my intention to strive to improve and I can’t wait to give Kyaraben another try soon! For a first attempt I don’t think I did too badly.

Steampunk Bento Box #shop

Steampunk Bento Box