Japanese Sewing Books

Book Review – Check & Stripe – Handmade Simple Style

April 22, 2016

It’s about time for another book review! It’s been more than 2 weeks since the last as I was busy migrating my data and organizing files, freeing up space to fit into my new mac. It turns out I had a massive digital clutter problem. 🙁 As saving files before my old imac crashed was my priority, I have not had time to answer your comments, questions, emails, facebook messages etc. So I am going to slowly go through them and I hope to clear all your questions soon!

In the meantime, I managed to take photos of some of my new books with my phone on mute while my little prince is sleeping. I hope to start reviewing all my “new” books before I allow myself to get any newer ones, and I have been spotting quite a number of fresh temptations, as Spring seems to be the season for lots of sewing book releases.


Today’s book is titled Check & Stripe, Handmade Simple Style. Check & Stripe is a popular fabric shop/brand from Japan. They not only have their own range of fabrcis,  Well known for their simple, stylish fabrics and design, they have also published quite a number of sewing books, some of which you must have seen before.


There are 3 sizes available for adults (S,M,L) and 100-140cm sizes for kids, both boys and girls patterns!


There are 31 projects in all, so I have picked out my favourites to show you, and I have quite a lot of “likes” for the projects in this book.


First up, is this super stylish white shirt, with a wide collar and neckline, and lots of gathers for the soft feminine look. This one definitely goes on the to-do list but if only I can find the right fabric to do it.


A soft tuck skirt for both adults and girls


A simple but stylish black jacket, with a single snap button on the top front edge.


A buttonless long coat, great for casual days.


A-line blouse for adults


and a similar one in kid size. See the pleat detail on the back? The only difference between the adult and kid versions are the presence of the button. There is no button for the adult version, so the neckhole is large enough for a pull-over style.


A striped shirt this time. Notice the collar is much narrower this time, like a proper shirt. There is also a yoke where the gathers are attached to (rather than directly to the neckline for the first white shirt.


A ribbon tie blouse for adults


and one for the kid!


Here’s one for the boys. A henley shirt.


Bell sleeve dress


Camisole dresses for mother and daughter


Tyrolean Jacket. I have come across so many new terminologies while translating the names of these clothing pieces, that I think I should compile them somewhere! I was stumped for a moment with this one, and had to Google it in Japanese. So apparently a Tyrolean jacket is a boiled wool jacket, and what is boiled wool? According to Wikipedia “Boiled wool is a special type of fabric primarily used in berets, scarves, vests, cardigans, coats and jackets. Created by a mechanical process using water and agitation, shrinking knitted or woven wool or wool-blend fabrics, compressing and interlocking the fibers into a tighter felt-like mass.”
Haha ok, now I have a name for the remains of the scarf that I knitted using expensive Martha Stewart wool and accidentally threw it in the washing machine + dryer. T_T


Another one for the boys, and girls too. This pattern comes in an adult Men’s sizes S,M, and L.


A vest style shawl. The draping of the shawl makes it look rather complicated but I took a peek at the actual pattern and it is surprisingly easy to make! The fabric used is an interesting textured wool knit (click to see the close up of the texture) The price is quite pricey at 4,800yen/m. Unfortunately, it is sold out!


A simple and very muji-feel pair of room shoes made with Melton Wool.


A cute little stuffed cat made with leftover cashmere scraps. 


These mobile cases come in 3 sizes are really simple and basic in design, but I really liked the use of the fabric – a homespun Shetland wool. It makes the cases look so luxurious. The cases are simply lined with a linen fabric and closes with a snap button.


Liberty print quilted fabric in Wiltshire.


There are a couple of pages following the main projects, showing you some Staff recommendations for Co-ordinating the items made in this book. For example, the above shoes item 15 – the bell sleeve dress, originally made using a printed fabric, but now made in a navy blue for a different look.


I wish every sewing book came with this guide! All the fabrics used in this book, their names and description.


This is the size chart for all the projects in this book. You may notice a Men’s size chart but unfortunately there is only 1 project – the vest (modelled by the boy) which is available in Men’s sizes.


If you happen to travel to Japan, you might want to visit the Check and Stripe shop to buy some fabrics. The shop locations are listed in their book, but you can also visit their website for more details. – http://checkandstripe.com

If travelling to Japan is out of the question, you can try shopping from their online store, which is in Japanese but ships internationally. If you are French, you are even luckier, as they have a branch office in France and they even have a special online store in French only!

The last section is for the actual how-to-make of the garments. Unfortunately, there are no step by step photographs or detailed sewing lessons. The patterns are presented in the usual black and white format, with step by step diagrams, like the one below.



a close up of their diagrams. I think the diagrams are quite self explanatory, as you can recognize the parts of the garment by the shapes, and identify seams and allowances with numbers. But as there is no texture/shading indicating the right side or the wrong side, the only Japanese you need to know will be 表 – which indicates the Right side of the fabric, and 裏 which indicates the wrong side.


Pattern sheets enclosed in a plastic pocket.


CHECK & STRIPE Tezukuri no Simple Style / CHECK & STRIPE
buy now from cdjapan.co.jp (affiliate link)

Title : Check & Stripe Handmade Simple Style
CHECK & STRIPE てづくりのシンプル スタイル
ISBN : 978-4-418-14425-9
Publisher : 世界文化社

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  • Reply Heather Woollove April 22, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    This may be more information than you desire, but feltmakers are (in general) quite strict about the difference between felting and fulling!! 🙂

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books April 25, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      This is great, thanks Heather! Now I know the difference! 🙂

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