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Book Review – Cotton Friend Kids! Summer 2016 – Summer Sewing Patterns for Kids 100 to 150cm

July 21, 2016

The weather has been crazy hot these days and even with the occasional thunderstorm, it is still really humid. Times like this, you need some cooling down. What better way than to indulge in some ice tea (our current craze at home is Korean barley tea) and a nice Summer sewing magazine!

For those of you who are fans of the old Cucito magazine, this publication Cotton Friend Kids! is published by the same company – Boutique-Sha, which is also the publisher of Cotton Friend. Since the Cucito magazine has been phased out, it has been replaced by the following publications. Cotton Friend Kids! Published twice a year in May and October. A School Goods sewing special, and Easy Handmade Clothes for Kids (published twice a year in April and September). Keeping in mind that these are more of sewing magazines than books, expect to see ads for fabrics and sewing machines. I hardly mind, since it updates me on the latest fabrics and machines and sometimes even other crafty stuff in Japan.


On the cover – Pretty and Cute Handmade Summer Kids Clothes. Sub-headlines include : Summer Liberty Print Sewing, Let’s enjoy a birthday party, Remake paradise for kids, Cute accessories for kids, and lots more in the book. Let’s have a look!


A quick glance of the 61 projects in this book! From clothes to cute accessories. A big plus point – sizes 100-150cm are covered in this book. Which is why I bought this book because I really need more books with sizes > 140cm. Most kids sewing books stop at 120/130cm.


The first project – a cute peplum top with a chevron print. There are cross back straps at the back which makes it a really cooling top for the summer, unfortunately there were no photos of the back view in the book, but the back cross straps can be seen in the sewing pattern instructions.


Got-to-make summer staples – T-shirts with variations for boys and girls.


I’ve blogged about books on the Jinbei before but never attempted to make one. I am thinking about making one for my boy if I can find a book with his size. Unfortunately he can’t fit into a 100cm yet.  These look really cute and comfortable.


Another Summer bottom staple – Shorts! Perfect for running around the playground on hot sunny days. The girls get a more feminine scalloped edge around the hem, and don’t you love that contrast band on the front of the pockets?


A cute parka suitable for both boys and girls. Love that fabric from Cotton and Steel. I have never bought any Cotton and Steel fabric before. Yup I know, I’m so behind the times!


Girls will love these cooling summer blouses made with fabrics from Panduro Design. I must say it’s the first time I’ve heard of this company. This is not a Japanese brand, but if I googled correctly, it is a company from Sweden. Which explains its beautiful simple geometric prints. My girls will love the top on the right made with Emma Turquoise. I don’t have any idea where to buy this fabric though, if any of you know where to get this online, do leave a comment below and share!


What’s summer wear without a bright and colorful shirt for the boys. Fabrics from Dashwood Studio – Street Life collection, a UK based textile design company.

Next up is a Liberty Fabric special. Liberty needs no introduction. This feature showcases fabrics from The Liberty Story Book Collection. I searched on the official website but could not find this group of fabrics, so I think this is just a marketing term rather than a real “collection”. These are mainly fabrics inspired by story books, such as the Elodie Bea, Fairyland, Land of Dreams and so on.



Simple clean designs for gorgeous fabrics. Fabric from top – Strawberry Feast, Toy Garden, Hiding.

The next feature special is on Birthday Party Clothes and cute accessories.


Not your usual formal party wear, but still looking cool and comfortable. The length of the pants makes it easy for kids to still have a whale of a time even though they are dressed up!


A matching collar and skirt over a simple white blouse. Comfy and cute!

I seem to be seeing these clothes Reform/Remake themes quite frequently nowadays. So hold on to your old clothes and check out these ideas for turning your old into new clothes for your kids.


These pants are made using Ladies size M pants. My girls are thrilled taking over my hand me downs, but my boy isn’t of the age where he can protest my wardrobe choices for him yet, but I have this feeling that boys won’t like it that much? Lol, I don’t know, let me know what you or your boys think about this idea?


If they have a favourite pair of jeans that they have outgrown but can’t bear to throw away, turn it into a keepsake by converting into a cute backpack.


Not a new idea, to turn an old shirt into a girl’s dress, but I like how this is done back to front so that the original buttons lie to the back. I love this idea because I hate making buttonholes.  The added frills on the front are cute and really makes full use of the fabric and minimises wastage.

What’s summer wear without hats?


Check out this cute ten-gallon hat. Ok, it’s just another fancy name for the cowboy hat.


Don’t you just love these super cute bags and pouches in the shape of summer fruits!

The next feature is about hand towels. Wait what…Hand towels??


Yup, Tenugui or Hand towels. These are usually thin cotton hand towels, usually 35cm x 90cm and usually printed with a repetitive design. They can be found easily in the 100 yen shops and also upmarket souvenir shops (with better quality fabric of course) and have many uses. You can use them as headbands, aprons, gift wrapping etc. They are so pretty and come in so many designs that you can buy them as souvenirs too. I can never resist them. In fact, I just bought some last week from Daiso.

It is a cute idea, but are they are pre-cut, you have to buy a few to make up one garment. The above examples in the book were made with 3 pcs each and are for sizes 100-110cm.  Tenugui from Hamamonyo.


These were the ones I bought from Daiso, the fabric is pretty thin though, I doubt you can make clothes out of these.


Another fabric special feature, this time by Andover fabrics. I am so loving the flamingo print on the rucksack that the girl is carrying.


It’s only a small picture in the book, but here’s a closer look.The grey bias and gold hardware goes so well with this beautiful print.


As usual, there will be a sewing machine feature. This issue’s feature is a Brother Sewing Machine – Compal 1500Q. We don’t get a huge variety of sewing machines here, so it’s always interesting to see ads and all the new features. Well, one can always dream. 🙂

Now for some details on the sewing instructions for the sewing projects.


First up, the size chart for all the projects in this book. 100-150cm. The size is in the first column in colored numbers, followed by the measurements in this order
Bust / Waist / Hip / Back length / Sleeve length / Rise / Inseam / Height. All units in cm.


For each project, the materials and completed sizes are presented in a very clear table and color coded as well. The first table is for Materials, i.e. how much fabric + materials you need for each size.
The bottom table is for the completed size of the garment.


As you may have noticed, many of the blouses and dresses in this issue are based on the raglan blouse pattern, so there is one detailed lesson for making the raglan blouse and dress.


Close up of step by step photos.

For the majority of the patterns though, the how-to-make is presented in colorful diagrams, which are just as easy to follow. The added touch of color and fabric print in the diagrams makes it instantaneously easy to differentiate between the front and back of the fabrics.



 Close up of the diagrams.

Cotton Friend Kids! 2016 Summer / Boutique-shaBuy now from cdjapan (affiliate link)

Title : Cotton Friend Kids! Summer 2016 Edition
ISBN No :9784834742152
Publisher : Boutique-sha

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  • Reply Cj July 21, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Thanks for the detailed review! I hope they still have it in kinokuniya!

  • Reply marisa July 21, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Ooh, nice! And I agree, patterns that go up to 150cm are like gold!

  • Reply Claire July 30, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Wow, this sounds like a v. useful book, especially since I only have a boy and most sewing books are for girls. In any case, I’ve managed to make a Jinbei for boy from a Japanese sewing book I bought off ebay (it is actually out of print) — the book does not contain any pre-printed pattern but shows direction how to make our own jinbei pattern. I also managed to purchase seersucker fabric, thanks to guidance of your (older) post, from Puti de Pomme line.

    In any case, making Jinbei is actually super quick and fun. I plan to write up a post about it later… a lot later when my son finally goes back to school this Fall (school starts in September in the U.S.)

  • Reply susan terrill September 8, 2016 at 11:21 am

    very informative review. I love all the fabrics from different designers all over the world. it is exciting to find out where they are coming from. I already own most of the Japanese books but have not had time to sew many items. it takes up too much time reading all the blogs and ordering fabrics. everything is beautiful and your review is excellent. thank you. when do you think the book will be available on Amazon?

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books October 6, 2016 at 8:53 am

      Hi Susan, it is already available on which ships worldwide,you can change the interface to English as well so it’s pretty similar to shopping on Amazon. You can also order from cdjapan (link in the post) which ships worldwide too.

  • Reply Nicole October 23, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Is it possible to make adult clothes out of kids clothes magazine?

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