Every ten years or so I try to make a new furo, or bag, for my iaito, or Japanese practice sword. I practice the martial art of iaidō, or 居合道, in which you draw your sword from its scabbard from a seated or standing position, cut with it a few times, and return it to the scabbard with efficient, minimal, beautiful movement. My old bag, which I made long ago, had a pattern of ginkgo leaves on the outside, with a purple satin lining. It was starting to wear out, with holes through the fabric in a few spots, so I went to the local fabric store and picked out something new. This time I chose an outside cloth with a watermelon design, and green satin for the lining.

Making the bag pushes my rudimentary sewing skills to the limit. It has to be sewn carefully, then turned inside out, folded and sewn again, then turned inside out one final time! I had to brush up on my Singer model 4423 skills, too!


I still have my notes from Nov. 2008, the last time I made one of these bags as a gift for someone.


The bag must me turned inside out twice as it is being sewed, so the seams will all be smooth on the outside.


My nemesis, the Singer model 4423!


Measuring the fabric for the outer layer, 55 1/2 inches long.


After sewing the first two layers together and turning them inside out.


Marking the bottom of the V-shaped opening at the top of one side of the long bag. At this point, it has been sewed and reversed once.




The completed and tied bag with my iaito inside.

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