I was in Japan for a holiday just a few weeks ago, and stumbled upon a shop in Otaru that sold fabrics and notions. The best thing about Japanese fabric shops are that they usually have samples of finished products hanging near the fabrics and it gives you a good feel of the weight and suitability of the fabric for say a bag or a garment.
I fell in love with one of the bags and bought the fabrics needed, and I initially thought that I would have to go home and figure out the pattern myself. On a whim I decided to ask the lady serving me, if she had the pattern for the bag, and she said yes! She whipped out a clear folder, and there it was, photostated copies of the bag I wanted to make! She even followed the list of materials and helped me cut out exactly what I needed, even double checked the grain of the fabric to make sure she was getting it right before cutting 🙂
The pattern basically gave instructions and a diagram of how to draw out the pattern yourself, needs a little bit of estimation around the curves unless you have a curved rule, but otherwise pretty easy to understand.
So when I got home, I decided to search for more free patterns on Japanese search engines, and I am going to post my new discoveries here every monday. I’m also setting up a schedule for myself to post more regularly so hopefully I can stick to this new routine.
First up is a free pattern site from Nani Iro. I first came across this designer in a 5-storey fabric store in Shinjuku called Odakaya 2 years ago. Her fabrics were gorgeous! Natural cotton/linen palette with watercolor random patterns/polka dots. I bought some but till today I have no guts to cut it up 😛
There are patterns for babies, kids clothes/bags, adult clothes and bags, and even one for a kimono! Amazing. Instructions are in japanese but with hand drawn diagrams, for simple garments it is quite easy to understand. I am tempted to try out the patterns here and if I do, I will post my translated version.
Visit the site for more patterns. http://naniiro.jp/textile/pattern-making The site is in Japanese but as the patterns are organized by fabric collections, so just click on the thumbnails to see the projects available for each collection.