Chō Mon by Jane Nicholas

15th July 2022

For the past 6 years, internationally renowned designer Jane Nicholas has been working on a series of designs based on Japanese family crests. She was inspired by these simple, striking designs as their symmetry and shape lent themselves perfectly to Jane’s goldwork skills.

Chō Mon from the book The Design Collective | Pincushions, is the latest addition to her collection and we’re sure you’ll agree that it is stunning.

Japanese family crests are referred to as Kamon, or simply Mon. There are some 20,000 distinct crests in existence, many of which display floral or geometric designs as well as butterflies and birds. 

These crests were traditionally used to represent a family’s identity in a manner similar to the famous heraldic and family crests from Europe. The difference was, in Japan any family could have a crest. 

They weren’t restricted to the aristocracy as they were in Europe, which accounts for the incredible variety and number.

The crest was used on all kinds of things, including clothing, furniture, roof tiles and even tombstones. To this day they can be found on food packaging, in sushi restaurants and in shops that specialise in traditional crafts.

The particular crest that inspired Jane to create her Chō Mon design features three identical butterflies in an elegant circular formation. Using a range of goldwork techniques on a gorgeous plum coloured background, Chō Mon is wonderful to stitch and results in an incredibly striking yet practical pincushion.

The butterflies are positioned perfectly to leave an open space in the centre for pins and to achieve this Jane advises you to trace your design carefully to ensure that each butterfly sits at a precise distance from the next.

The harmony arises from the even shape formed by the antennae and wings sitting at a perfect distance from one another.

The choice of beads, sequins and metallic threads brings a breathtaking range of colours to this intricate piece. With shimmering blues and greens, sparkling reds and brilliant gold, Chō Mon becomes more than just a pincushion – it becomes something precious and beautiful as well. But this was Jane’s purpose. She states that for her, a good pincushion needs to combine function with pleasure. There’s no doubt she’s achieved both with Chō Mon.

If you’re looking for an eye catching project that will bring you all the joy of a detailed goldwork design coupled with a fabulously practical finish, then Chō Mon is ideal. You can appreciate the careful symmetry and beautiful Japanese style as you complete each stitch of this stunningly satisfying project.

Make Your Own Chō Mon

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Chō Mon by Jane Nicholas is a perfect trio of stylised, goldwork butterflies forming a circular shape on a pillow design.

Printed Books

The Design Collective – Pincushions

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Chō Mon includes everything* you need to re-create this rich square pincushion: Fabrics (unprinted), wool felt, kid leathers, fusible webbing, wool batting, dressmaker’s carbon, metal weights, embroidery threads, beads, sequins and needles.


Chō Mon – TDCP Kit

*Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to the book.

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