Book Review – Sewing for your girls (Sewing Recipe in English)

3 years ago I bought this book while holidaying in Japan, called Sewing Recipe for Girls, by one of my favourite author/pattern designer Yoshiko Tsukiori 月居良子. There is also an adult version of this book called Sewing Recipe. The books are designed to function not merely as pattern books, but also serves as reference books as well. The books cover a wide range of sewing techniques from basic to advance, that you will need to learn to sew up your own wardrobe. The sewing techniques are presented in step by step photographs which made it easy to understand, but the accompanying explanatory text was in Japanese. So imagine my excitement when I found out that the Girls’ version of the book was going to be translated to English!

The books are almost identical in terms of content, but the front and back covers have been changed. Oh, the title has been changed as well. In Japanese, the word レシピ (pronounced re-shi-pi, a term borrowed from the English word recipe) is not only used for cooking recipes, but also to refer to instructions on how to prepare/make something. For example “Handmade Recipe” – meaning how-to-make procedure for handmade crafts. So it’s not strange to see it on a Japanese book as a book title, but I guess it will be strange to use it in reverse, i.e. on an English book since “recipes” usually refer to cooking recipes. So the editors have thoughtfully changed it to a more self-explanatory title. “Sewing for your girls”.

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A quick look at the contents page – there are 8 basic patterns, with 1 or 2 applied patterns for each of the basic patterns.

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As you can see from the contents page, there are many many pages dedicated to sewing techniques. I did not cover each individual basic pattern in my review previously, so let’s take a better look at each of the patterns as well as some of the sewing lessons.

Before we begin, here is the size chart for the patterns included in this book. Like all the other translated books, the main measurements are given in inches with cm equivalents in brackets.

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The first basic pattern (see above) is a basic A-line dress with frills on the shoulders. To make it simple, for both the one sewing as well as the one wearing it, the dress has a front neck slit and closed by a ribbon tie on the front. No complicated zips or buttons to fiddle with. A great dress to begin with if you are a beginner.

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The first sewing lesson is based on basic pattern #1, includes all the steps, from transferring patterns, cutting out fabric, marking the symbols on the fabric, and even how to use a sewing machine! So even if you are not making basic pattern #1, this will be useful for you!

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At the end of each basic pattern, the applied patterns are presented. There are 2 applied patterns for patterns #1,2 and 6, and 1 applied pattern each for patterns #3,4,5 and 7.

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Basic Pattern #2 – Basic blouse with puffed sleeves and back enclosure with buttons.

Note how for each basic pattern, the finished projects are presented in both printed and solid color fabrics. This was done intentionally by the author so that it can help you imagine your own designs and visualize the clothes in different types of fabrics.

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Applied Pattern #2a and #2b – with modified collars and sleeves

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Basic pattern #3 is a dress with smocking on the front yoke. Smocking is a technique used a lot in girls clothing. Yup, you learn how to make real hand-stitched smocking and not the “fake smocking” effect using elastic thread.

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Applied pattern #3 shares the same basic pattern as pattern #3 but looks rather different. Instead of smocking, the front yoke panel is gathered instead. The sleeves are also lengthened with added smocking details along the sleeve extension. A contrasting ribbon tape is sewn around the neckline for decoration.

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Basic pattern #4 – A simple drawstring pants pattern made in sweatshirt (jersey knit) fabric that will be perfect for lounging in. Modify this pattern on your own to create easy to wear shorts or long pants in any fabric of your choice.

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Applied pattern #4 uses the same pants pattern from basic pattern #4 but with an added bib + straps above the waistline, and therefore creating a new outfit – overalls. Hidden side pockets and a back pocket were added as well.

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Pattern #5 is what I called the “fake smocking” effect. From far, it looks like the top part of the bodice was smocked. In actual fact, the fabric is gathered not by hand, but by using a shirring elastic. I have made these dresses many times and my girls love to wear them. These dresses are made up of simple rectangles for the front and back piece, and two more long and thin rectangles form the straps. They are very easy to sew, except that you have to wind the shirring elastic by hand with a slight tension. It may take a couple of experiments to get the correct effect so if you are doing it for the first time so do try it on a scrap piece of fabric before sewing on your actual piece of fabric.

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The applied pattern is a simple adaptation. A lengthened skirt with tiers using co-ordinated fabric.

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Pattern #6 is a Long sleeve smock blouse with elastic gathered neckline and sleeve openings. Easy to wear and comfy too!

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The applied patterns for #6 are 2 rather different designs. One is a cap sleeve with contrast ribbon tie detail on the front, the other is a sleeveless camisole like top. You can’t see it in this picture, but there is an added layer of tulle over the fabric for applied pattern b.

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Basic pattern #7 – round collar sleeveless blouse with frill details on the front bodice and buttons down the front. The tops are slightly flared towards the hem line for ease of movement.

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Applied pattern #7 is a lovely linen dress with a sailor type collar and a button down opening halfway down the front. I’ve always wondered how to make these half button placket kind of things but no worries, there is a sewing lesson on that too. There are also embroidery details on the pocket as well as the collar.  The patterns for embroidery as well as instructions for the stitching methods are included.

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Basic pattern #8 is a poncho style blouse which is great for layering over a plain top as outerwear. The hems of the flared sleeves and bodice are lined with ric-rac tape.

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After seeing all the patterns offered, it’s time to get started on sewing! The next section covers all the basic techniques you will need for the garments in the book. Unlike the sewing lessons accompanying basic pattern #1, the photos are in black and white, but still in great detail as you shall see. There are 32 pages devoted to these step by step photos on various sewing techniques, from something as simple as hand sewing buttons to attaching a collar, inserting an invisible zipper, or a partial opening (like the half button down opening for applied pattern #7) The full list of sewing techniques can be seen on the content page.

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Example of step by step photos for sewing techniques.

The last section contains the detailed instructions for all the other basic patterns and applied patterns. Each page includes the Materials list, Instructions, Cutting layout, as well as a order of make diagram.

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Close up of the order of make diagram. Follow the numbers in the order given to complete the garment.

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As all the sewing techniques are compiled within one section, you will notice that the instructions do not have detailed diagrams for each step, instead you will need to refer to the respective pages under the sewing techniques. At first this may seem rather troublesome, but after a few projects, you will be so familiar with some of these techniques, you will have no need to refer to the techniques anymore.

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There are 2 full size pattern sheets, printed on both sides for a total of 4 sides. Attached to the back cover is a handy pocket for storing your pattern sheets.

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And last but not least, the back cover has also changed. Now it includes more photos of the projects, as well as a quote by yours truly! The people at Tuttle saw my review from 3 years ago on the Japanese version of the book and asked me if they could quote me on the English version. But of course! :) For me, this was truly the most exciting part about getting the English version of the book! A big shout-out to the lovely folks at Tuttle for sending me this review copy and having my quote on their book.

click on the thumbnail to pre-order from Amazon now

Title : Sewing for your girls
Author : Yoshiko Tsukiori
ISBN No: 978-4805313275

Next week, another newly translated English book review. It’s a book that I have reviewed before and even did a pattern translation from it. Some of you have emailed me regarding this book so I think you will be excited to see the English version of it. Stay tuned!

Book Review – Mens Wear

You know the saying Once in a blue moon? Today is one of those days, for we have a new sewing book for the guys!

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The book is called Basic Style Menswear for sizes S-XXL (5 sizes), All seasons mens casual wear. 

There are a few shirts sewing books for Men, and some patterns scattered here are there in sewing magazines such as Cotton Friend (where they realize that Fathers need to be included in family sewing projects as well), but very few books dedicated to Mens casual wear alone and even fewer that are updated in design. I’ve always wondered how difficult it would be to combine all those sewing patterns into ONE book, since according to my DH’s wardrobe, all they need are shirts, pants (for more formal occasions), t-shirts and shorts (for casual occasions). That’s it!
Finally, someone (Nihon-Vogue) did and now you have it, the one book you will need for sewing Mens casual wear.

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As simple as a guy’s wardrobe needs to be, the patterns are also grouped into broad categories – A to G. The clothes are designed by 7 different pattern designers. Namely,
Toshio Kaneko, Rika Komoro, Chiaki Boshi, Megumi Kobayashi, Michiyo Ito (of May Me fame), Yoko Nishikawa and raynoar.

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Pattern A – Boat-neck T-shirts in short (pattern 1 above) /long sleeve (pattern 2) versions

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Pattern B – Crew neck (in short sleeve) and Henley (in long sleeve) variations. Mix and match the patterns to get a crew neck long sleeve tee + a henley short sleeve tee. That will be like 2 bonus patterns not featured in the book but you can get out of the patterns.

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Pattern C- Shirts. 3 variations. Make them dressy with a winged collar,

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Casual with an open collar

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Or a simple every day shirt.

Those of you who may fear the process of making a Men’s shirt, don’t. I’ve done it before with a book which has instructions far more complicated than this one. Did I mention this book has step by step instructions with full color photographs for 2 of its projects? Lesson 1 covers the making of a shirt.

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Easy peasy! You can do it!

Next up, Pants… Pattern D – Easy Pants

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As the title suggests, these are simple drawstring pants with side pockets, in long…

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and short versions.

Pattern E – Parka

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This pattern can be made into 3 variations – a hooded parka (above), a trainer (below) – this is what it’s called in the book but I think it’s more appropriate to call it a sweater?

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or a buttoned cardigan, with side pockets (pic below). Quite metrosexual, this design… :P

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The other pants pattern included in the book is also a casual type with a elastic waistband and fake fly opening (i.e. the fly is sewn on and there is no actual fly opening).

Pattern F – Tapered Pants

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Comes in long, cropped cargo and knit pants versions (the knit pants are matching with the grey sweater in pattern 13)

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The last category is for outerwear. You can make this Nylon quilted vest

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Military style jacket

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or this Duffle Jacket.

and because Moms always get matching pattern sets with their daughters, there is a special recipe section that attempts to make the world a fairer place :)

Matching patterns for Father and Sons! The patterns is adapted to be a little cuter and easier to wear for the little boys.

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Lesson 2 with full colored photographs, is for the Cropped Cargo Pants (the one with the elastic waistband + fake fly opening).

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Included in the patterns are two Men’s accessories patterns – a Body Bag as well as a Snood.

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For the How to make section, there are 5 sizes included, ranging from S-XXL. The size chart is indicated below and they did take into consideration the fact that different sizes mean different heights as well, whereas for most female sewing books they tend to base it on an average height of 160cm.

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The terms on the left most column are : Size / Height / Bust / Waist / Hip / Shoulder width. All measurements are in cm.

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A standard how to make page – note there is a chart for the completed garment size. Do refer to this before deciding the size to make, as the completed garment size will give you a sense of the fit of the garment. So depending on how fitting you want to make it, you may wish to size down or up and adjust the length for height instead of sticking to the size chosen using the body measurements.

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A closeup of the diagrams used for sewing instructions.

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2 sheets (each printed on both sides) of full size patterns.

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Title : Basic Style Menswear
ISBN : 978-4-529-05385-3
Publisher : Nihon-Vogue

Book Review – Sewing and Crochet magazine

I picked up the crocheting bug a few years ago when looking for winter patterns. Crocheting is a very therapeutic hobby and very portable as well since you can’t lug a sewing machine everywhere you go. So when I saw this new magazine – Sewing & Crochet, I knew I had to get it since it combines both of my favorite crafting activities!

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You can see that it’s a relatively new magazine, vol. 2. I bought this magazine in December when it was still new, but never had the time to review it. By this time I am publishing this post, vol. 3 should already be released, but no matter, let’s have a look at what this magazine is all about before we decide whether or not to buy the next one!

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The magazine kicks off with the sewing projects, lots of bags. The cover did mention that the feature for this issue will be granny bags. So we will see lots of them in different variations.

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A granny bag with a leather base and lots of pockets

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Round base Granny bag

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Plump granny bag

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Mother’s Bag (I guess that just means a huge bag or a diaper bag)

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Going for a walk Granny’s Bag

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Mini bags! Tote, Granny, Drawstring versions. Great for holding small change or small items that can easily get lost in your big bag.

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Pouches and small items made with snap buttons

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Synthetic leather x Fabric accordion pouch

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 You can make this accordian pouch with all fabric instead, but when using fabric only, use a thick interfacing to give it more structure.

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Key case

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Round strap Key holder

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Interesting idea and pattern for a bag. Using leather straps and rivets. I suppose it adds to the strength as well?

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Other than sewing patterns for bags. There is also a pattern for a wrap dress, with a complete step by step sewing lesson with full color photographs.

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There are also a couple of warm weather sewing projects, such as this neck warmer,

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Room shoes

More sewing of small accessories like this detachable pocket pouch. Usually seen in kids magazines but sized up for adults. Adults will find this useful too!

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Some felt projects are included as well…

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Matryoshka doll felt keyholders! Too cute!

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Travel pass case in the shape of a luggage.

Moving on to the crochet section of the book, we start off with a simple cover for umbrella handles.

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Some of the basic crochet techniques are covered with step by step photographs, like the above which shows you how to make a magic circle/ring for the start of the base of a bag/tube. This eliminates the hole in the base that you will find when using the traditional starting chain ring technique. Very useful and necessary for making Amigurumi patterns.

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What’s a Japanese crochet book without Amigurumi patterns! According to wikipedia, these are crocheted stuffed animals and this term is a combination of the Japanese terms for crochet and stuffed animals. The trademark aesthetic is cuteness.(of course!) In this issue, learn to make some cute woodland animals like the squirrel, bear and rabbit. Can you also tell that the 3 animals have a similar shaped body? There are actually hidden plastic clothes pegs in each of them, so that you can use them as clips for holding namecaards, or attaching to your bags, or even to a stroller strap for a baby to play with.

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 Other than Amigurumi patterns, there are also some practical crochet items for decorating the house, like these comfy looking chair pads.

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As this magazine was published in November, there was also a section on decorating with sewing and crochet projects for Christmas. Christmas is over but I can keep these patterns for next year I guess!

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 Love this multi-color crochet ribbon wreath. It’s made of multiple ribbon bows. Will be a great use of wool scraps.

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Make a triangular Christmas tree. Step by step instructions included.

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Most of the crochet patterns , with the exception of those detailed in photographs, are in diagrams such as this. Having learned my crocheting entirely on youtube :P I must confess that I do not know how to read these diagrams! There is however, a very detailed and enlarged glossary of terms as well as the corresponding stitch symbol, at the back of the book.  The most commonly used ones are

くさり編み – chain stitch
細編み  - Single crochet
長編み – Double crochet
中長編み – Half double crochet

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There were many more projects that I did not show here because there were just too many! If you like both sewing and crochet just like me, you will love this magazine. I’m looking forward to the next issue for more Spring sewing ideas.

Title : Sewing & Crochet Vol. 2
ISBN : 978-4-86322-586-2
Publisher : パッチワーク通信社

Book Review – Cotton Friend Kids

Before the excitement of receiving all the English translated books over the past few weeks, I had accumulated a number of Japanese sewing books that I’ve been wanting to share with you. I thought I had better review this before the season is over!

Cotton Friend Kids! is a special edition from the Cotton Friend magazine. Most Cotton Friend magazines are adult oriented with some matching patterns for kids. This special edition is the complete opposite. This magazine focuses on patterns for kids (both boys and girls), and a few matching patterns for Mum.

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All the projects included in this book!

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Before we begin, let’s look at the sizes included. There are 2 size charts. Sizes included are S-LL for the adults (top chart) and 100-130cm for kids (bottom chart)
and the measurements are for (in order of left to right)
Bust / Waist / Hip / Back length / Sleeve length / Rise / Inseam / Height
all measurements in cm

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The book starts out with a series of matching outfits for Mom and Kids. The awesome thing about this book, and probably due to the fact that it’s actually more of a magazine with advertisements, all the fabric sources are listed.

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A cropped sleeve tunic dress with a tie front.

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Tunic with elastic gathers made using the new cotton sateen range from Echino.

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Tunic dress/top with pleats

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Simple coat (without lining) made with fluffy wool knit and enclosed with snap buttons.

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Wrap apron made with Cotton+Steel fabric

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Matching skirts for Mom and Daughter

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The next section features a basic tunic pattern, and how you can make simple modifications to it to make various outfits.

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The above two outfits were shown in different fabrics in the Mom & daughter section

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A blouse length version of the basic pattern. The fabric is too cute!!! Double gauze fabric with blue raindrops on a chocolate background. See more color options of this fabric here

For this basic pattern, there is a 6-page tutorial with full colored photographs that show you every step of the making progress.

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Close up of the photos

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A Liberty x Hello Kitty special. It’s not the first time Liberty prints have featured Hello Kitty, but this range was created for the 40th anniversary of Hello Kitty. The blouse above is a round neck blouse with gathered sleeves and lots and lots of frills on the front (you will need 1.4-1.7m of fabric for this blouse alone!) That’s like a really expensive blouse!

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There are also matching collared shirts for Mom and daugther.

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Close up of the Mom’s shirt. This is my favourite print of all the 40th anniversary prints. This print is called Hatsune Garland.

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There are also patterns for accessories made using the same fabric. Which is great given that the fabrics are so expensive. I may be better off buying a small fat quarter and making accessories out of it instead.

The next section is on stylish Autumn & Winter outfits.  I know Autumn has long passed, but still valid for Winter yes? :)

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These cute hood jacket and vest are made using nylon quilt fabric.

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Another tunic style dress, but I like it because of the fabric – Autumn Woods by Moda Japan.

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These hooded parkas are made using waterproof nylon and have a slit opening in front. The front of the jacket is a high neck enclosure with velcro for easy wearing.

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Some straight sewing patterns – read – no pattern tracing yay! Love the cute fabric on the top by the way, it’s from Brita Sweden RUT in 05 Pink.

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Fashionable knickerbockers pants for kids

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The next section is on sewing accessories with Animal motif prints

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Panda Tote bags using fabric from Finlayson

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Detachable pocket pouch made with Walk through the forest – grizzly bear print

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Make a cute pair of ear muffs (I don’t quite see the animal motif/design in this one :P) and turn an ordinary pair of mittens into cute little kitten mittens!

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The next section is a really cute idea. I have actually bought fleece blankets for sewing projects, as they come with super soft textures and prints that are cuter than those you can find off the bolt. These fluffy blankets come in sizes of 100cm x 70cm, made of fluffy fleece and are already quilted. The two vests above are ingeniously placed cut so that the binding around the blankets doubles up as the binding on the vest, so the only bias you have to sew are around the armholes and neckline.

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Option 2 – make a hooded poncho. However, this particular pattern requires two pieces of blanket. One for the main body and one for the hood. You will be left with quite a lot of excess material from the piece used for the hood though. But you can always make a matching pair of socks or mittens or something?

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Some more cute accessories for kids – detachable pocket pouch (above)

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Hair accessories for girls

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Elastic detachable tie perfect for little boys

How-to-make

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With the exception of the full color step by step photos tutorials, the rest of the patterns are presented as above, in diagrams with color prints to indicate the orientation of the fabric.

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Close up of the instructions

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There are 2 sheets (4 sides) of patterns included. Note that there are many other projects using straightline sewing in the book, for those you have to construct your own patterns. But they are usually simple rectangles with slight deviations and are easy to make.

Title : Cotton Friend Kids! 2014-2015 Autumn Winter
ISBN : 978-4-8347-3885-8
Publisher : Boutique Sha

New Releases – January 2015

Tis the season for bags, wallets and pouches….. and back to school sewing (i.e. more bags and pouches! :) )

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Practical School Bags and Pouches
(Sneak preview here | Book details here )

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Book Details

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Nihon Vogue is releasing the above two books on the 20th of Jan 2015, which are actually updated and revised from the very popular bag making books first published in 2009 (below) I’m not sure what the differences are, but you can compare them here with the sneak previews
New! Bag Making Basics Book 1  vs Bag Making Basics
New! Bag Making Basics Book 2 vs Bag Making Basics Book 2

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Another revised book which seems to be an updated (I see some new designs) + combination (I see designs from both books) of the two handmade wallet books (see below). The description on the publisher’s website says it contains popular works as well as new designs. Now you only need one book, instead of 2. Luckily, I only bought one (read review here)

You can see a selected preview of the new book here

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Another revised update??? Not really…

Kurai Muki’s Bag Making Basics Plus
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Kurai Muki’s books are known for her detailed instructions, in particular, this previous version of her bag making book (picture below) has been one of my favorites and very frequently referred to.  At first glance, it looks like the same book, till you notice that the bags are, well, kind of different in design in the newer addition. Unfortunately, there’s no sneak preview or Look inside on amazon yet, so we have to refer to the bags on the cover design.

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In Japan, the school term starts in April, so this is about the time when all the kiddy fabrics and sewing for school books are released. Some will be released in January and some were released last month in December.

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Book Details | Sneak Preview

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Book Details  | Sneak Preview

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Book Details | Sneak Preview

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Book Details

skirts

 Finally spotted one sewing book released in December - 主役はスカート
by the same author Yuko Takada 高田 祐子 of She has a Mannish Style , I love Tops and I love Pants. Sounds promising already! There are some pictures of the skirts inside the book on the amazon.co.jp page. I’m tempted to get this since I really like her style and there are only so many bag books I can buy!

 

 

Girly Style Wardrobe – Now in English

Yay! Another book by Yoshiko Tsukiori has been translated to English by Laurence King. This time it’s for the girls. We’ve seen many of her adult sewing books being translated to English, but Yoshiko Tsukiori has authored many books for girls as well. I was so excited to hear that this was translated to English and even more excited when Laurence King sent me a copy for review. This particular book was one of the first books I bought when I first started sewing for my girls. It was first published in 2007 which is like 7 years ago??!! Brings back lots of memories….

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The original Japanese version on the right.

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The English edition has remained true to the original, with the addition of the following two pages below (located at the back of the book)

I like this better because you can tell at a glance, what patterns are included in this book.

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As stated on the front cover, there are 28 patterns for  girls’ sizes 100cm-140cm

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As with all translated versions, the main measurements are in inches and the cm equivalents in brackets. The size chart even has a US/UK size guide chart which is a pretty useful estimate if you are sewing for someone else as a gift and can’t get hold the actual body measurements without spoiling the surprise.

Now let’s take a look at the garments you can make in this book. Before we start I must confess that I bought the book because I loved the photography and prop styling in this book! You can hardly tell this book was first published in 2007. Many of the garments were also made using Liberty prints and you can see how well both the pattern designs as well as the fabrics themselves have stood up to the test of time.

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a – tunic with patch pockets
The shoulder straps are actually separate straps (like rabbit ears) tied to form bows.

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b – box pleat tunic
The box pleat adds to the roominess of the garment, making it both easy and comfortable to wear. The neckline is finished with a pretty ribbon bow tie.

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c – box-pleat dress
This is the longer dress version of the box-pleat tunic, and this particular dress is made in lightweight wool. As the armholes and neckhole is pretty roomy, this serves as a great layer-on dress for cold winter days.

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d – bolero and skirt (skirt is shown on top in the picture below)
I just love the pretty bolero with a ribbon tie (she was really into ribbon ties then wasn’t she?) and also the girly ruffles on the flared sleeves.
The skirt features tucks in the front and a elastic waistband in the back for easy wearing. The contrast bias is made with gingham fabric.

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e – layered skirt.
This skirt is pretty much the same as the skirt in d, but there is an additional layer below, made with the same floral fabric used for the waistband and pocket bias binding.

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f – Square neck blouse with pin-tucks.
This is a really sweet blouse with pin-tucks on the front of the blouse. The book recommended the use of striped fabric to make it easier for folding the pin-tucks. If you have ever made pin-tucks, you will know how difficult it is to be completely precise, so yes using a striped fabric does make it much easier. But you can make this in solid fabric as well. This will make a really sweet and versatile piece in a white cotton fabric don’t you think?

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g – camisole.
Something cool and easy to wear for warmer days. Hey, ribbon ties again! :) I do love the fabric combination don’t you? This top is pretty and girly with the gingham ribbon ties and ruffles at the hem.

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h- A-line dress
A simple A-line dress is a staple piece in every girl’s wardrobe. The cap sleeves allow lots of room for movement and will be lovely for a play dress. One of those dresses that your girls will wear over and over again since it is so comfortable. Oh, and guess what? The back closes with a ribbon tie!

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i – cap-sleeve dress
Another wardrobe staple as well as a pattern staple. I must have made more than a dozen of these bodice+skirt dresses in both sleeveless and sleeved versions. This version is with cap sleeves. With a basic pattern like this, you can create a casual or formal look depending on your choice of fabric.  In the example above (in Liberty print no less), the dress is jazzed up with a lace band to the yoke.

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j – winter dress
A long sleeve version of the cap sleeve dress. Similar in construction except for material (this version is using lightweight wool), and the elastic cuffs giving it a nice puff sleeve look. This will look gorgeous in a more formal fabric, and can definitely be adapted to a formal occasion dress for a little girl!

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k – bell sleeve blouse
Similar to a peasant blouse, this is another easy to wear top that your little girl will love. The above is made in lightweight wool and will be perfect for cold weather. But if you use a cotton lawn or linen, it will be perfect for summer days as well. The back is enclosed using loops and buttons (yay! no zips), and there are even instructions on how to make the thread loop in the proper manner using chain stitch over two strands of embroidery floss. Together with this outfit, there is also a pattern for a simple pair of pants with an elastic waistband and drawstrings detail on the cuffs.

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l – smock
I looked up the definition of a smock. A smock is meant to be an outer garment, for protecting your clothes while you are playing or working. Really? I can hardly bear to use this pretty piece as in place of an apron. This square neck smock in lightweight wool has a decorative ribbon sewn along the neckline for added style.

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m – smock dress
A dress variation of the smock (l) with ruffle sleeves and the addition of a patch pocket. A wide lace band runs around the neckline and the top opening of the pocket.

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n – open neck blouse, cap and pants
Don’t you love it when you get patterns for the entire outfit as-shown? The postboy cap (is that what it’s called?) is too cute. I’m sure lots of you mummies of boys will want to steal this pattern just for the cap. The pants is a basic elastic waistband pattern, but with practical box pleat pockets running along the side seams. The open neck blouse itself is super easy to wear since there is no enclosure but a front slit opening. Lovely for layering over a camisole or on its own on hot days.

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o – clasp purse and pants
The book title says Girly Style Wardrobe, so of course a girl must have a little girly purse to carry her little trinkets around. This pattern is for a metal clasp purse with instructions on how to attach the metal clasp (sewn-on type) to the fabric purse.

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p – ribbon-tie skirt
A simple layered skirt with an elastic waistband for easy wearing and a ribbon tie detail on the front.

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q – parka and tiered skirt
A hooded parka made in wool, enclosed in the front using snap buttons instead of a zip, embellished with a wide lace band around the hood and the top opening of the patch pockets. As for the skirt, it is made up of 3 tiers, with a 1cm wide ribbon sewn on in between the tiers, and a ribbon tie detail in between the top two tiers.

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r – wrap dress
This dress was made in wool, with a wrap-top effect on the front yoke, and wool lace added all around the neckline and hem. The back encloses with a zip, and there are graphical instructions for attaching a zip properly. There is also an additional pattern for a drawstring pouch made using the same leftover fabric.

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s – puff sleeve dress
A vintage style dresses with puff sleeves. Love the sweet sweet fabric on this one!

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t – dress with ruffle hem
This dress is super girly with lots of ruffles and gathers. Ruffles along the sleeves, gathers along the waist and ruffles along the hem. This is not a two layer skirt, but the ruffles are sewn attached to the hem. The added ruffles will make the skirt stand out more and I know fir a fact that little girls love to twirl in such skirts!

How to make

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The how to make section includes the usual material list, instructions, cutting layout diagrams. You may find that the text instructions are really short and sweet, and you will realize why this is so if you refer to the original book in Japanese.

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The original instructions are that simple! Straight to the point, and rather minimalistic. But it’s perfectly fine since the steps are illustrated in diagrams which are very detailed and easy to understand.

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The diagrams in the Japanese version.

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Patterns are conveniently enclosed in a plastic envelope attached to the back cover of the book.

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 slip
There is one last pattern which was not labelled, which was not fully shown on any page except the back cover, for a slip dress that can be used under dress S (the vintage puff sleeve dress). The length is designed for the white ruffles to peek out under dress S. As this is meant to be a slip, there are no zip/button enclosures but a wide neckline and large armholes, for easy slipping on and off.

I hope you are as excited about this new book as I am! Get yours today!

Title : Girly Style Wardrobe
Author : Yoshiko Tsukiori
ISBN No. : 978-1780674094

This book will be released 3rd February on Amazon but is now available for pre-order. Those of you in UK or Europe can also purchase it from Laurence King’s website, it’s already in stock and there’s free UK delivery.

Translation Request – Quilted Hanten Pattern from nani IRO

This should be my last translation request for the next few months as I will be taking some time off for family :) I will still be posting book reviews and new book finds though, since I can’t possible stop buying sewing books right?

Anyway, this is a long overdue translation request from Lila. Thank you so much for being patient. This pattern is for an adult size quilted hanten (short winter coat) and the original is designed by nani IRO. So please download your original PDF copy from nani IRO website and just refer to this copy if you need help with translations. This pattern is for Ladies size L and Mens size M.

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This pattern uses a quilted fabric since it is meant for a winter coat, but you can also use a cotton fabric if you don’t want it to be too thick. The nani IRO quilt collection is super gorgeous, you can check it out here and even though it says sold out from their main store, you may still be able to find a selection from other online stores.

Anyway, I hope this translation will come in time for winter. It’s hard to imagine sub-zero temperatures over here where we have average temperatures of 28-30 degrees celsius.

Happy sewing!

 

Book Review – Casual Sweet Clothes

Happy New Year everyone! A little late in the year for greetings maybe but this is my first post of the year!

Today I’m going to share with you a recently translated Japanese Sewing Book called Casual Sweet Clothes – Favourite Pieces for Every Day.

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This book was actually released in August last year and somehow fell off my “sewing books radar” :P

Luckily for me, the very kind folks at Laurence King sent me a copy for review, and so I’m here to share with you the lovely pieces from the book! The patterns in this book are designed by Noriko Sasahara, who is a Fashion Design graduate of Bunka Fashion College.

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There are 18 patterns in all, Labelled A-R. The contents page is arranged by the order of appearance in the book, in some cases you will see the same garments featured again as co-ordinates paired together to form a complete outfit. Just to give you an idea of how to put the whole wardrobe together.

Now let’s have a look at the pretty pieces!

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A- Dress with Ruffle Shoulder Detail. A simple shift made feminine by the light ruffles running along the shoulder seams. This dress pictured is made in light cotton chambray.

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A combination of 2 patterns. C- Jersey top with cape sleeves (seen here in cotton and linen jersey knit) and P – a Layered lace skirt. Not my favourite way of paring them together. I would love to see the Jersey top with a pair of jeans and the lace skirt with a simple strappy camisole?

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D – Jewel-neck Jacket with Bow. When I read this, I was wondering “what is a Jewel-neck?” Then I found the answer on Google. Apparently it’s a round neckline, quite similar to the boat neck but just falls above the collarbone. It’s so named because the cut helps to accentuate or showcase a piece of jewellery against the fabric. I learned something new today!

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E – Another very sweet and feminine piece, a Lace-trimmed camisole. The ribbon belt is not an add on, but actually part of the design. The ribbon goes through a casing at the back of the camisole, and helps to gather the fabric in the back when you pull it together and tie it up in the front.

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F – Casual pants with ribbon belt (with 2 side pockets). It’s hard to see from the picture but there is also a grosgrain ribbon binding the edge of the side pockets and running down along the side seams. Fabric used for the pants is Water-repellent cotton garbadine.

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G – Lace-front blouse. If you are not keen on adding the lace panels, you can omit them, as the blouse itself is a very pretty blouse pattern with gathers both around the shoulder seams as well as the cuffs. I can imagine this pattern as a starter block for lots of pretty blouses, or even a coat.

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H- V-neck shift with double ruffled cuffs. A very easy to wear dress that makes you look slim yet can hide your flaws since it’s not skin-tight. I love the double ruffles on the cuffs. The back of the dress is enclosed with a zipper, and as part of the design it is an exposed zip (in black). I’m not sure if exposed zips are still in vogue but you can decide for yourself if you want to attach it inside or out. It’s good to learn how to sew an exposed zip though, since fashion trends are cyclical and you never know when it will make a comeback.

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I – Bolero Vest with Braid Trim, paired with the Casual pants (pattern F) seen earlier.
I love the bolero vest with the contrast braid trim! The position of the braid trim is marked out on the pattern sheets to guide you on its placement.

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J – Tiered Pencil Skirt. I can never pull off skirts of this length, but still, can’t help but marvel at how pretty it is. The skirt above is made in cotton sateen which has a bit of sheen, and there are 6 layers of overlapping ruffles.

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Here you see the same skirt paired with a flared jacket with raglan sleeves. I can’t quite imagine the two being paired together like this, but I just wanted to show you the pattern for the jacket. It’s a very simple casual jacket with a hood and two external pockets. Both the sleeves and bodice are flared. This will be a useful pattern for a rainy day jacket.

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K – Dress with lace-insert sleeves. Another very pretty shift dress with gathers along the shoulder seams of the front bodice. The sleeves are made of separate front and back pieces so that you can sew a piece of lace in between for a little peekaboo effect. The back is enclosed using a concealed zipper. I can see this in a shorter blouse version as well, or a different fabric for a less formal look.

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N – Denim Jacket with Braided Detail. The braided detail is made using 3 strips of denim and sewn all around the front and collar. There are no buttons on the front of the jacket though. The braided denim is attached using a blindstitch according to the instructions. By that I suppose it means you have to hand sew it?

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O – Flounced-edge jacket. A short cropped jacket with a pretty flounced edge that goes all around the edges. The main jacket body itself is made of 2 front pieces, one back piece and 2 side pieces. The sleeves are also made of two parts each, a top sleeve and an under sleeve. The extra seams help with the shaping of the jacket and gives it a more structured look.

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R – Round-neck coat with turn-up cuffs. This is actually from a similar pattern to pattern N – the denim braided jacket, but with a round collar and this coat is longer, almost to knee length. The cuffs can be worn folded down or up.

Now for some technical details….

The sizes in this book include XS-L, and will fit the following body measurements.

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Note that the measurements are in inches, with their cm equivalents indicated in brackets.

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A typical layout of the how-to-make page. Do also note that the seam allowances are not included in the pattern sheets, but have to be added on as indicated on the cutting layout diagram (bottom right diagram). Where it is not stipulated, use 1cm for seam allowance.

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In one corner of the page, note that there is a Finished Measurements table. This gives you an idea of the size of the finished garment so that you can select the right size or choose whether or not to make length adjustments before cutting out your fabric.

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A close up of the diagrams included.

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There are 2 pages on the back teaching you how to adjust the dress and sleeve lengths properly.

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The patterns are stored in a plastic pocket attached to the back cover. There are two full size pattern sheets, printed on both sides.

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Title : Casual Sweet Clothes
Author : Noriko Sasahara
ISBN No :978-1-78067-173-4


Now available from amazon

I really love the pieces in this book, especially the fact that they are mostly easy to wear and can be made casual or formal depending on the fabric choice. There are many books that have simple shift dresses but tend to look shapeless or baggy. Not in this book. The subtle accents like gathers around shoulder seams, added ruffles or lace panels really ups the style factor. I hope you liked this book as much as I did! I will be back next week with another soon to be released English book review. This time for girls, so stay tuned!

Winner of the 3rd Birthday Giveaway

Thank you all for participating and your lovely birthday wishes :) Unfortunately I can only pick one winner,
and the winner is… Kirsti!

She has won for herself a copy of the following book – Sew Chic Kids

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Congratulations Kirsti! I will be emailing you to get your contact details.

This week will be a busy one with Christmas celebrations and all, so here’s wishing everyone of you a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year! I’ll be back after Christmas with a new book review (another one that has been translated into English. Yipee!)

Happy Holidays!

Happy 3rd Birthday to Japanese Sewing Books!

It’s the time of the year again to think back about how far I have come with this blog.

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First post ever! 13th December 2011.

Recognize this? Over the past 3 years, I’ve changed the theme a couple of times, and never thought to archive the very first “look” of the blog. Thanks to the internet archive Wayback Machine, I actually found the very first blog post!

It really just started out because I was buying more Japanese sewing books than I had time to sew, and I could find no information about these books online other than searching in Japanese. Since I was making to effort to learn a little (well, just enough to get by understanding the instructions and searching for more new books to buy) I thought of sharing this information online. Over the past 3 years, I’ve tried to include more content centered around Japanese sewing books, fabrics, and even attempted to have my own sewing patterns and videos. Family and work commitments have increased over the past half a year or so, which explains why I have not been able to create any new patterns/videos lately. However, I’m glad to know that the archived patterns are still being well used and many of you have left comments thanking me for the patterns and telling me how useful they have been in making that something special for a loved one. I read every single one of the comments and though I may not have time to reply them all thoroughly, the thought that my patterns have been useful to someone just makes this blog even more rewarding. Your kind comments and emails have kept me going. It is wonderful to meet so many people online who share my love for sewing!

Thankfully, a number of publishers caught the Japanese Sewing Books bug too and started translating some of the popular titles into English. Many of you have commented on how useful these books have been and can’t wait for more titles to be translated. There are more books on the way, this much I can tell you :) and I will share them with you as soon (and sometimes even before) they are released.

So to celebrate my blog’s 3rd birthday, as usual, we MUST have a GIVEAWAY! And since many of you find the English versions so much more useful, I will be giving away one of the books that have been translated into English. To make this giveaway even more personalised, you are free to choose your giveaway prize from the following options.

A – Sewing For Girls

B – Sewing for Kids

C – Sewing for the ladies

To enter, just comment below and tell me your choice of giveaway prize A,B or C. Yup that’s it! This will be a simple giveaway with one chance per person, I want make it Sweet and Simple for everyone! :) So please just leave one comment per person.

Giveaway ends 1 week from now – Midnight, between Friday 19th and Saturday 20th December (UTC) which will be Saturday morning 8am for me over here in Singapore.

Once again, thank you all for your support over the past 3 years and I will keep on blogging about Japanese sewing books, and hopefully find time to do more than that!