Translations and Help with Patterns

Translation Wednesdays!

May 16, 2012

I know that despite the best translation guides and dictionaries, sometimes it is still hard to deciper a pattern especially when you pick up a book like this. Some books provide great step by step picture, but this book gives me a one page “how-to-make”, with no step by step diagrams. I’m suppose to guess what to do with the numbers pointing at the coat? Actually, all the instructions are on the left, but in Japanese. If you have one of these books you probably bought it for the pretty pictures. But given that these books are not cheap, let’s try to make the most of them by actually making something from it!

I have mentioned before that I am not Japanese, nor am I proficient in the language. In fact, I can hardly speak it except for the phrases that recur in dramas 🙂 But I have learnt enough to read and understand, and when necessary, input the characters into a translation or online dictionary for translations.

As a matter of fact, I have just decided to be more conscientious in my learning of the language since I really love it, and it will certainly help during my trips to Japan. So as part of my learning exercise, I would like help some of you translate patterns/sections out of Japanese sewing books. It will be good practice for me, and you can finally make something out of the book!

In order for the translations to be helpful to everyone, I will only do translations for how-to-make pages like the above, where the materials, preparation, and procedures are listed. Alternatively, you are are stuck trying to figure out the meanings on pages where important information, such as sizing/general know-how, I can try to translate it for you too. Please try to restrict the number of pages to 1-2 pages. As that’s the usual number of pages for how-to-makes in Japanese sewing books. Hope you understand that it takes time and I can only handle 1 request a week! 🙂

To send me your requests, please take a clear picture of 

1. The cover of the book
2. The page you wish to translate
Please also provide the ISBN number so that I can find references of it on the internet and link it up so that others who would like the purchase the book can find it.

Email all of the above information to
I can’t promise to be able to translate everyone’s requests but I will try to do one a week and post it up on the blog on Wednesdays. Send me your requests now! 🙂

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  • Reply Robin May 16, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Wow, what a generous thing to offer! I really enjoy your site… It’s a great addition to the sewing community given all the love for (and fear of) Japanese patterns.

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books May 16, 2012 at 11:54 am

      Thanks Robin! I had friends and readers ask me for translations anyway so I thought I might as well share it online Have no fear! Art & crafting, just like music, should be a universal language! =)

  • Reply Alyson Ray May 16, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I love Japanese books! I have a ton. And buy them whenever I can. This will be a huge help? Thank you. I would love to carry these in my store. Do you have a wholesale source?

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books May 17, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      Hi Alyson, Glad to see another Japanese sewing book fan 🙂 Unfortunately I don’t have a wholesale source. I buy them either from Kinokuniya or bought on my trips to Japan.

  • Reply My lovely life May 17, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Amazing blog!!! Love it!!!
    Katrien, hugs from across the ocean!!!

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books May 17, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks Katrien! 🙂

  • Reply sherry May 17, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    I just figured out this problem with the project I am working on. It showed step by step instruction for a few of the steps and missed out others. I thought to myself “there must be a way of finding out how to do it” The books are always so precise. I looked to the left of the page and noticed the numbers in point form. At the end of the numbers that didn’t have step by step instructions was a page number. When I turned to that page I found the instruction I needed.
    So rewarding to work it out!

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books May 17, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      Yes! That’s exactly what I thought when I came across some of these books. The ones with single pages, instructions in point form, everything pointing to 1 diagram. I think these are for more advanced sewers because they don’t cover individual techniques, so when they use the same technique for multiple projects in the same book they just refer to another page. Something like (P.49 の2を参照)which means refer(参照) to step 2 of page 49. In some books they don’t use P. for page, instead they use ページ which basically is “page” in Japanese. But the numbers alone will point you to the right direction. 🙂

  • Reply Nelissa May 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Love your site and thanks for offering all the translation help. I recently (joyfully) received the last two books you had in your “New books I want” window. Love them!! I was wondering if you knew the book (ISBN: 978-4-529-05067-8) title and if it is mostly projects for knits. Thanks so much and any sew along from these books would be fun!

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books May 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      Hi Nelissa, Yes the book with ISBN 978-4-529-05067-8 contains projects for knits. I have the book already 🙂 The full title is ニット生地だから動きやすい 小さな女の子のお洋服 which means kind of literally “knitted fabrics easy to move – little girls dresses”.

  • Reply Niki Wilmore July 28, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Am loving this site, I always end up here for help. Sent another email asking for help – where do you get the time from!

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books July 28, 2012 at 8:59 am

      Early bedtime for the kids on school days. That’s the only way! =)

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