Embroidery Library

Fan of Japan - In-the-Hoop Project


Exotically decorative!


Beautiful Japanese fans, steeped in history and tradition, come to your sewing room as an all in-the-hoop project. These fans make charming wedding and party favors, beautiful accessories for decorating - and are oh-so essential for a little child's dress-up box!

All the sewing is done in the hoop. Embroider following the instructions below, add a few special touches, and then wait for the fanfare to begin!

Supplies needed:

  • 1/4 yard of fabric -- makes 2 to 3 fans

  • Medium-weight cut-away stabilizer

  • 1/2 yard of narrow ribbon or cord

  • Wood sticks --1/4 inch wide by 5-3/4 inches long (We used Forsters Skinny sticks from Walmart. Flat balsa wood pieces work too.)

  • Nylon Transparent thread - we used the Coats and Clark Brand.

  • 2 small tassels (optional)

  • Dieline printouts or sew-outs from the embroidery file.

  • Spray adhesive

  • Rotary cutter with an old blade or a hobby knife.

Embroidery Design from Embroidery Library:


When you download the zipped embroidery file, you'll find two embroidery files. One is named with "X" followed by 4 numbers -- this is the embroidery file. The other is marked with "_DL." This is the dieline file.

Open the dieline file with your embroidery software, and print it. If you don't have embroidery

software, then embroider the dieline onto a hooped piece of paper. You'll use this as a "template" to prepare the fabric pieces. Cut around the shape of the sewn/printed dieline.

Spray a piece of cutaway stabilizer with spray adhesive, and then smooth the fabric that you selected for the fan on top. Lay the paper template on top of the fabric/stabilizer combo, and cut out two fan shapes.

Lay the paper template on top of a piece of cutaway stabilizer, and cut out the shape. Set these three pieces aside.


Hoop a piece of cutaway stabilizer, and embroider the first color change of the embroidery file. That is a running stitch outline that will outline the area that your cut fabric will be placed.

Lightly spray the backside of one of your pre-cut fabric/ stabilizer pieces with spray adhesive, and place that fabric in the dieline with the right side up.

Advance to the second color change in the design, and continue sewing the design until you arrive at the color change for "stick seams."

Remove the hoop from your machine, but do not unhoop the stabilizer. Lightly spray the pre-cut stabilizer fan shape with spray adhesive, and press it to the back side of the embroidery. Place it in the die line stitches. Reattach the hoop to your machine.

Thread your machine with the transparent thread, and sew out the "Stick Seams" color change. This will make the pockets for the sticks of the fan.

Spray just a tiny bit of spray adhesive onto the corners fabric side of the fabric/stabilizer combo piece. Then place it on top of the embroidery, with the right side down. Now, both right sides should be facing each other, one in the hoop, one on top.

The fan shape should be lined up with the original die line stitches. 

The small amount of spray adhesive will keep the fabric in place while embroidering the final step.


Sew out the last color change, which will sew the outside seam lines of the fan.


Unhoop the fan, and cut it out of the large piece of stabilizer. 

Clip the corners, and notch the seam allowances of the top outer curve.  Then, notch the seam allowances of the inner curve. On the inner curve, there should be one notch at the center of each stick pocket

Turn the fan right side out.

Use a crochet hook or blunt instrument to push out the corners.

Use a rotary cutter or hobby knife to cut the skinny sticks in half lengthwise. You will end up with sticks that are about 1/8 inch wide.

You will need 10 sticks for each large fan, or 6 sticks for each small fan. For the large fan, leave the sticks their original 5-3/4 inch length.  For the small fan, cut each slat to 4 inches long.

Insert the slats into the pockets. The slats will naturally overlap each other, as you can see in the photo. 

After you have inserted all the slats, fold the notches from the front and back to the inside of the fan.

Hand stitch the front and back together between the slats or use fabric glue.


Use ribbon or cord to tie the slats together at the point where they intersect.  If desired, thread the loops of the tassels onto the cord, and tie it all together with a pretty bow.

This in-the-hoop project turns ordinary folks into fanatics!

Let your imagination run wild!


Click here for a printable version of these project instructions.

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Products used in this Project: