Guides Translations and Help with Patterns

Fabric names translated from Japanese

March 28, 2012

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!

レース lace
ローン lawn
リネン linen
ガーゼ   gauze
ダブルガーゼ double gauze
シャンブレー chambray
ボイル voile
クレープ crepe
シルク silk
シャンタン shantung
サテン satin
タフタ tafetta
ブロード broadcloth
ギンガム gingham
ギンガムチェック gingham check
ソフトデニム soft denim
シーティング sheeting
チノクロス  chino cloth
フラノ flannel
厚手デニム thick denim
帆布 canvas
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)
ワッフル waffle
スウェッド suede
ジャカード jacquard
チュール tulle

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.

For example,
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

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  • Reply Lux April 11, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    That was useful! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  • Reply Gaye November 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    This is so useful! Thanks!
    Would you consider adding the knit or jersey fabric names too? It would be easier than looking at the picture and guessing.

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books December 5, 2012 at 9:04 am

      Will try to schedule that in soon! I do have a list of knit fabrics in Japanese from the books. Just need to compile it together!

  • Reply Lili March 15, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Hi I have bought “Easy to wear knits for girls” I fell in love with the shrug on the cover. (It cost as much for postage as it did for the book as I live in New Zealand) I love it and I’m a confident sewer but I can’t read what fabrics are used for each project and it makes me really sad. Is there any chance you could put up your list of Japanese knit fabric translations or if you have already could you link the right page for me? Thanks so much- I love your blog and have bought several Japanese sewing books after seeing your reviews. As books are so difficult and expensive to get over here I really appreciate the reviews so that I know what I’m getting.

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books April 2, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      Hi Lili, I know which book you are referring to. I bought the book for the same shrug and I made two using nani IRO knits for my girls. The problem is that the knit fabrics used in the book seem to be very special fabrics. The source is listed but the fabrics were mostly out of stock by the time I got to it. I even tried searching for similar fabrics when I was in Japan but it was hard to find.
      I didn’t translate all the knit fabrics in the books as they were not common fabric names, but if you want to know, the fabric used for the shrug (referred to as the cape styled vest in the book) is using this fabric – Modal lace jacquard knit

      • Reply Jelena June 20, 2015 at 3:19 am

        I am also interested in knit translation. I have that same book, but also many others that include few knit patterns and I am completely stumped which type to use…

  • Reply Using Japanese Sewing Books | Japanese Sewing, Pattern, Craft Books and Fabrics April 17, 2015 at 9:37 am

    […] Type of fabric – For sewing books in Japanese, you may need to refer to this list in order to tell what fabric they are using in the pattern – Fabric names translated from Japanese […]

  • Reply Book Review – Sunny Day Recital Clothes | Japanese Sewing, Pattern, Craft Books and Fabrics April 24, 2015 at 11:03 am

    […] The How-to-make section begins with an introduction on the different types of fabrics used in the book.  For formal wear it usually includes lots of satin, organza, tulle and jacquard fabrics. For a list of commonly used fabric names, you can refer to this post […]

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