Homemade Kotatsu Futon
A kotatsu futon is a padded comforter that fits between the table base and a removable table top on a Japanese heated table called a “kotatsu.” Because traditional Japanese homes do not have central heating, the kotatsu is a family gathering place in cold months.
People can keep their legs and feet warm from the low voltage heater which is fixed to the underside of the table and then cover their laps with the warm comforter, referred to as the “kotatsu futon.” The kotatsu futon is placed over the frame of the table like a bulky tablecloth, and the removable table top is positioned over that to hold it in place. A homemade kotatsu futon allows you to match this unusual piece of furniture to your decor. The size of your futon will depend on the size of your kotatsu table. The dimensions below will make a kotatsu futon for a table the size of a standard card table.
Cut the cotton fabric into two strips, each 3 yards long. This will be the top of your kotatsu futon. Pin the two pieces together along the selvages, right sides together. Machine stitch a half-inch from the edge. Press the seam open.
Cut the flannel fabric into 2 strips, each 3 yards long. This will be the back of your kotatsu futon. Pin the two pieces together along the selvages, right sides together. Machine stitch a half-inch from the edge. Press the seam open.
Cut the quilt batting into two strips, each 3 yards long. Lay the strips out on the floor side by side so that the side edges are touching, but not overlapping. Hand-baste the two batting pieces together with large stitches that loop back and forth between the two pieces. Your stitches should be approximately 3 inches wide, allowing you to poke the needle into each piece 1 1/2 inches from the edge. Use the flat of your hand to press your basting seam down as you stitch so that the batting doesn’t bunch.
Lay the flannel backing on the floor right-side down. Place the batting piece on top. Make sure that the center seams are perfectly aligned. Cover backing and batting with the kotatsu futon top piece, right-side up. Again, make sure that the center seams are directly on top of each other.
Pin the three layers together beginning in the middle of your seams. Put your first pin in the center of the kotatsu futon, carefully matching the seams. Continue pinning along the seams in both directions. Hand-baste with large stitches down the middle of the kotatsu futon using the seams as your guide. Remove the pins as you sew.
Pin the outer edges of the three layers, beginning at the ends of the seams, and work your way out in both directions. Pin the sides last. When the whole kotatsu futon is pinned together around the edges, baste by hand close to your pins and approximately 2 to 3 inches from the edges.
Frame the edges of the kotatsu futon with the blanket binding. See the reference section below for tips on how to attach blanket binding.
Remove your hand-basting stitches, and trim all loose threads.
Things You Will Need
- 6 yards cotton fabric
- 6 yards flannel fabric
- 6 yards quilt batting
- 24 yards blanket binding
- Sewing machine
- Iron and ironing board
- Hand sewing needle
If you do not already have a kotatsu table, you can buy one at Ikea or make your own. See the reference section for further information.
River Lin is an independent writer and consultant. With a Master's degree in teaching English as a second language from Ball State University. She lived in Japan for 15 years teaching and editing. Now based in the US, she works for a variety of clients. Published work can be found in print and online at various websites and goarticles.com.