Click to enlargeJapanese Futon

Patterns (foam, fabric not included) for wonderfully practical Japanese interior furnishings that can be folded away when not in use.

For the dojo, noren (curtains), and floor cushions. For the home, a folding foam mat, sleeping pillows, and cozy top quilt.

Pattern information sheets include directions for: sashiko emboidery, shibori (traditional Japanese tie-dyeing using a drawn thread), and fabric dyeing to emulate traditional Japanese indigo. Sources for dyes and fabrics, and a list of reference books on Japanese textiles and design.

This pattern will give you something very different from the big mattress pads accompanying the commercial fold-out sofa/rack assemblies.

The pattern is for a 3-part mat made of 4"-thick foam (available from foam centers or upholstery stores). Foam sections are cut to 41" by 23" (or whatever size meets your requirements). The 3 sections are connected by the fabric cover which allows you to fold them into a neat stack using the seams as hinges.

Some 20 years ago I made a similar 3-part pad out of foam and fabric. It was light-weight, very portable, storable, and comfortable. I took it with me to a school to study myotherapy, and can attest that it doubled very well as a fine massage pad while eliminating the weight and bulk of either massage table or bed. It also served as a low flip-out chair. I still use it today for visiting friends and relatives and no one has ever found it anything but comfortable. It is still a very all-purpose item as is this design.

#P JAFUTN$19.95