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

bagbook2Book Details

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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handmadewallets

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!

Translation Request – Quilt Pattern for E Ray

Today’s translation request is for E Ray who needed help with the translating the pattern for quilt #2. There was not much information to translate this pattern other than the material list, as the actual quilt making techniques seems to be located on another page of Basic Techniques (page number also not mentioned).

Anyway, I do hope this helps!

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I have one more translation request in the wait list according to my emails (Hopefully I haven’t missed out anyone!)  so I will post that up in the next two weeks or so.

Important announcement!

Due to family commitments, I will not be able to take on any full pattern translations for the next few months. By that I mean translating a full sewing pattern from beginning to end, including translating individual diagrams.  I will still be able to help out with translating terms and small portions of the instructions if you get stuck anywhere. Or anything I can answer quickly via email. I hope that by March/April I will be able to find more time to do the full translation requests as I know it is frustrating to get stuck while sewing! :)

Winner of Giveaway – Linen, Wool, Cotton Kids – Now in English

and the winner of this lovely book is…..

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Jowyn Jenson!

Congratulations Jowyn, I will be emailing you soon!
Happy Sewing!

 

Book Review – Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics (Now in English)

Christmas is around the corner, and if you are thinking of making some handmade gifts, this book will help you make some one-of-a-kind Christmas presents! You can even buy this book as a Christmas present for someone crafty!

This book has been translated to English by the lovely folks at Tuttle Publishing (Yay!) and is all about handmade bags, by Emiko Takahashi, who is more well-known in the sewing “circle” for promoting hand-sewing. Most of her book published (she has published 76 books according to her website!!!) are hand-sewing books. She has published books not only on making bags and small goods, but also adult and kids wear. Yup! All Hand sewn! You can have a quick look at all her books here.

This book includes easy patterns and instructions for hand-sewing, so it will be great for beginners or those who do not have a sewing machine. Naturally you can speed things up a little and make these bags using a sewing machine as well, then add on your hand-stitched details for a personalized touch.

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This book includes 60 Easy-to-make Purses, Totes, and More. Do note that out of the 60 projects, a few of them are multiple design variations of the same pattern, e.g. different embellishments on the same bag pattern. Patterns are included unless the design is based a simple rectangle, in which case you will only need to measure out the dimensions of the rectangle and cut accordingly. There are no complex curves construction/drafting required. All patterns that require anything other than a rectangle will be provided in the pull out pattern sheet.

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The projects are divided into Shopping Bags, Everyday Bags, Fashion Bags, 2 Sewing Lessons (with full color step by step photographs) and everything else you need to know about hand sewing (basic stitches for construction + fancy stitches for decoration) and bag making (interfacing, handles, attachments etc). Let’s now have a look at some of my favourite projects in the book!

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Spruce up your weekly grocery trip with a pretty shopping bag… I love the combination of knit fabric with tweed!

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This is a really interesting foldable shopping basket bag. Quick and easy to shop and go!

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Foldable Eco bag for carrying around as a spare shopping bag, you never know when you are going shopping! :)

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These are both reversible bags. Both bags have round bases which make them nice and roomy.

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These tote bags have a gusset base for a more roomy and spacious bag.

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Flat totes are great for carrying around lesson books, document files or just as little bags for the little ones.

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A lunch tote. Simply love the matching of light blue gingham check fabric with the pale leather handles.

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 A great beginner hand sewing project.This is a simple drawstring purse that you can quickly whip up as a present. A great choice when you need to make multiple gifts since all the different design variations provided will mean each and every purse is unique. Lovely way to make use of scrap fabric as well!

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 A sweet and dainty bag with a purse frame and crocheted handle.

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A really delicate looking bag made with cotton voile, embellished with lace, and glass beads. The strap is made from lace as well.

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Make a sturdy bag with zip enclosure with a leather handle and matching leather flower embellishments.

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Very quirky and interesting Vase shaped bag that will be a great conversation topic.

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Tucked bag with corsage.

As mentioned above, there are two detailed sewing lessons included in the book. The lessons are for the Flat bag, but it also comes with instructions on sewing a Gusset (which converts your Flat bag into a Gusset bag). The other sewing lesson is for hand sewing the little drawstring purse.

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 Close up of instructions

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There are also basic tips of bag making, as well as explanatory notes on the different materials you need for making bags.

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Since this is a hand sewing book, hand stitching and decorative embroidery instructions are also included.

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A typical pattern how-to-make is shown above. Every step is shown in a diagram form.

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Close up of instructional diagram.

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Patterns are included in a convenient pocket inside the back cover.

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This book will only be released on November 25th, but you can pre-order it on Amazon.com
Handmade Bags In Natural Fabrics: Over 25 Easy-To-Make Purses, Totes and More (Tuttle Sewing Books)

Title : Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics
Author : Emiko Takahashi
ISBN No : 978-4805313169

Winner of Giveaway from Modes4U

And the winner of this awesome fabric bundle sponsored by Modes4U.com is… *drumroll*….

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Jamie Bair! 

Congratulations Jamie, I will be in touch with you soon via email so that Modes4U.com can send you your prize.