I come across many comments while surfing for Japanese Sewing Books, that Japanese patterns are very pretty, the photos in the books are gorgeous, but the results always look shapeless and sometimes pajama like?
Not true. First of all, there are books with properly fitted bodices/dresses that are not loose and airy. It’s just that they seem to like this style alot (both adults and kids) so we see them very often. Secondly, when choosing a book, you may get carried away by the pictures, but you also have to look pass the beautiful pictures and actually think about the end product. Envision on you or your child and think if its a style that suits you. If you can’t carry off cap sleeves, or A-line skirts, then don’t buy it just because it’s pretty! It is pretty much like online shopping. You can’t try it on so you have to imagine. Sometimes the best patterns are made in prints you don’t like. But don’t dismiss it yet! With a plain solid fabric or just a change in print, it could become your favourite dress!
So the reason for this post is that I believe fabric choices are very important when it comes to constructing a garment. More so for Japanese patterns. The wrong weight of fabric, or even a different type of fabric can give it a different drape and not do justice to the pattern. So I try to make the garment in the recommended fabric and once I’ve made one, I can tell if I can use a different material as a substitute. Most Japanese Sewing books do include this information, so I hope this list will be helpful to you!
ダブルガーゼ double gauze
ギンガムチェック gingham check
ソフトデニム soft denim
チノクロス chino cloth
厚手デニム thick denim
持ち手テープ acrylic tape for bag handles
カツラギ katsuragi (something like twill which is thick cotton but lighter than denim)
Combination of words
Obviously the list is not exhaustive, but these are the more common ones I’ve come across in my books. There are also instances when they add the word 綿 in front of the fabric. The word 綿 simply means cotton. So if you see 綿ローン it means cotton lawn.
Sometimes you will see the words 無地 in front of a fabric name, this simply means that this is a solid color with no print or pattern. When you see the words プリント this means “Print” which in turns means that the fabric is printed or has a pattern.
無地サテン Solid color satin (i.e. no prints or patterns)
プリントサテン Printed Satin (i.e. with patterns)
If you come across any other words that you need to translate, you can drop me an email with a snapshot of the word, I’ll try my best!
Last updated 25th April 2015