Translation Request – nani IRO Baby Shoes

Laura wrote to me end of June, asking me to translate this pattern for her, so that she could sew this for her best friend’s son. He is about 7 months old, and I hope these shoes will fit him since there is no size indication on the pattern.

The original pattern is free and can be found here on nani IRO’s website under the 2008 collection of patterns.

Laura, or anyone who is interested in making this shoe, you may need to check the length of his feet before cutting out the fabric. There is no indication of the completed size but if you look at the centre line where you cut on fold, you can see that the length of the sole is 12cm. You may have to size up or down depending on the actual size of the baby’s foot.

The other recommendation I would make (based on my experience with babies losing their shoes :P) is that this pattern looks comfortable but may drop off easily because there is no elastic around the foot opening. I would suggest sewing in an elastic band around the foot opening at step 7 (Not too tight of course!) which can help keeping the shoe in place.


1. Flap outer fabric and lining fabric for flap pieces right sides facing, sew all around except opening for turning out.

2. Turn the piece sewn in step 1 inside out, insert cotton stuffing. Hand sew opening shut with a whip stitch.

3. For the main body piece, sew along the back centre line (right sides facing). Do the same for each body pieces, i.e. the outer fabric and the lining fabric.

4. Sew the heel portion from step 3 together (see diagram)

5. Place the outer fabric and lining fabric pieces togehter, right sides facing, sew all around, leaving the opening for turning out at the foot opening (see diagram)

6.  Turn the piece sewn in in step 5 inside out, insert cotton stuffing, hand sew the opening shut with a whip stitch

7. Finish the foot opening edge (see diagram)

8. Make gathers for the Toe part of the shoe.

9. Using the piece made in step 2, place it on the main body piece and align the points – centrepoint, A to a, B to b, hand sew together with a whip stitch.

10. Sew on the cord string on near the foot opening.

This looks like a easy and fun project for anyone with babies to sew for! In fact, I have two nieces and one nephew arriving soon so I may have to make a couple of pairs myself! Thanks Laura for discovering this cute pattern!

Book Review – The Best Dresses

I’m sorry for posting later and later into the week. I have been bogged down by work earlier this week and hopefully next week will be back to normal. My list of translation requests is growing too (sorry to keep you waiting!) and I’ve been wanting to do up some sewing videos too, but just haven’t had the time or space to do it. I hope my current work project ends soon so that I can get some of my own time to do my own stuff! Anyway, here is this week’s book review.

This week’s book review is kind of an impulse buy. I was basically sold by two dresses. The one on the front cover…


and the other on the back cover.


The title of the book is ワンピースがいちばん which means the Number One/Best (because ichiban literally means “Number 1/The First” but can also mean “The Best”) Dresses.  I prefer to call it The Best Dresses.
There are 19 patterns in all, for sizes 9,11 and 13. The author of the book is 茅木 真知子 (Kayaki Machiko), who also wrote Simple Chic, Skirt ala carte, and many more. If you have come across or own any of her books, you should know that her style is very simple but with chic (oops did I just borrow that from the title of her book?). I also like her choice of fabrics and colors, which makes me feel that I have to make them in the same fabric or else it wouldn’t work out as well. The link to the website where you can buy the fabrics is included in the book credits – . Unfortunately it’s in Japanese and only ships domestic so I guess we can only browse.

Now let’s see what dresses you can make with this book!


Sleeveless dress in soft linen


Kimono style dress


Easy wearing dress with half sleeves.


Dress with gathered neckline and sleeves.


Low waist dress


Coat dress with lace embellishments


Floral print smock


Navy blue check dress


I learn something new everyday. Today I learned a little bit of French.
The Japanese title for this dress was ギンガムチェックのカシュクールドレス.
ギンガム = Gingham, チェック = Check , and ドレス = dress
But what was カシュクール (ka-shu-ku-ru?) Google translate said it mean “Cache-coeur” which is a French word, and when I looked it up it says this on Wikipedia “A Cache-cœur (French for “hide the heart”) is a top for women, composed of two finished triangular parts, each having a strap. It is closed by overlapping the two segments and tying the straps behind the back or along the side, depending on the length. The triangular shape of the sides makes the garment a type of V-neck.”

Now I know. :)


Cotton shirt dress

Check out the collar details below!


Hemp dress with collar


A-line Wool dress



Wool gauze dress with lace

The sizes included in this book are for sizes 9,11 and 13.


On the left hand colomn, the measurements are for Bust, Waist, Hip, Back length, Sleeve length and Height.

The how-to-make section follows the usual format, with materials, cutting layout, and sewing steps. Note that for each garment there is also a small table indicating the dimensions of the completed garment.



Close up of one of the diagrams. It’s hand drawn!


Two large pattern sheets included.


Title :  ワンピースがいちばん The Best Dresses
Author : 茅木 真知子 (Kayaki Machiko)
ISBN : 978-4-579-11484-9
Publisher : Bunka Publishing Bureau

Book Review – Kids Yukata and Jinbei

I’ve received a lot of questions lately about the kimono, yukata and jinbei from different readers, and I realized that other than the seasonal pattern in Cucito Kids, I don’t actually have a book on making them or even tried making one. Well, the fact is that my kids will never get a chance to wear them, especially the pretty yukatas. But they have worn the jinbei when we stayed at certain Ryokans (some of the more family friendly ones offer them in kids sizes), and it is so comfy they can lounge around in them the whole day after their onsen.

What is the difference between the kimono, yukata and the jinbei? I’m not an expert but I’ll give you the layman’s explanation :P  - A kimono is the formal, traditional Japanese garment worn for traditional ceremonies, whereas the yukata is more like a casual summer kimono made of cotton, unlined and is usually worn for summer festivals. The jinbei is a 2pc set with a wrap top and matching pants, usually worn as nightwear or housewear although they can also be jazzed up and worn for summer festivals as well.


This book was recently published in June 2014 by Boutique-Sha, which is also the publisher of Cucito magazine. Thus some of the patterns will look familiar as they have been featured in the magazine before, however, I bought it as it is a collection of many different variations of the yukata and jinbei patterns, for both boys and girls, and even some baby jinbei  patterns as well. The kids sizes range from 90-120cm and the baby sizes are for 70-80cm.


The different types of garments include – yukata, 2pc type yukata, yukata dress, jin bei, jinbei dress and baby’s jinbei. For each type there are a few pattern variations.


One piece Kids Yukata – for both boys and girls. Patterns for matching obi and accessories (e.g. bags, hair accessories) are all included in the book.


Another version of the one piece yukata


2 piece Yukata – Top and skirt sewn separately


Obi belt, matching bag and hair accessories patterns are all included.


Another 2 piece, with a wire frame purse accessory


I know I have this pattern somewhere in one of my past Cucito magazines, isn’t it sweet?  This is a Yukata dress, complete with lace and frills.


And a tulle sash!


Another Yukata dress. The fabric is adorable!


And now for the jinbei….


Very comfortable, casual loungewear, perfect for playtime.


The more fashion conscious girls may prefer this more girly style jinbei.


Baby jinbei…


Included in the book – how to put on the obi belt.


Tying of the fancy tulle sash ribbon for the yukata dress…


Most importantly, there are 3 detailed sewing lessons included in this book, namely for the 2pc yukata, yukata dress and the jinbei. Pretty much what you will need to tackle all the projects in the entire book.


You can’t go wrong with these clear, step-by-step photos.


As for the size chart, they have included quite a detailed one in here, with measurements for Bust, waist, hip, back length, sleeve length, pants rise, inseam, even weight and approximate ages.


There is also one full page on basic hand sewing techniques.


The individual project pages look pretty much the same as the usual how-to-make pages, but do take note the long list of materials, and that for a yukata, or a yukata dress, a lot of fabric is needed. A one-piece yukata requires 4m of fabric for the largest size (120cm). The 2-pc uses slightly less and the jinbei uses the least fabric. So do check carefully before purchasing your fabric.


A close up of the diagrams.


One actual size pattern sheet is included.


Title : Made of Cotton – Kids’ Yukata and Jinbei
ISBN : 978-4-8347-3767-7
Publisher : Boutique-Sha

New releases – July 2014

Didn’t spot many new sewing books this month other than the regular periodicals, but there were a couple of books for larger sizes, which some of you have been asking about. There is also a new Kurai Muki book on aprons. Her books have always been useful for beginner sewists because of their clear photograph instructions. Happy shopping! :)


Cute Corset Style 2



Straightline sewing, slim looking clothes  for bust size over 100cm – by Sato Watanabe


 Large size stylish clothes for sizes L-4L


Kurai Muki’s Aprons
 (S,M,L sizes)


Lady boutique July 2014

Mrs Style Book July 2014

Book Review – Clean and Natural

I’m back from vacation! It was really great to get away for one whole week, not having to check my email from work was really stress relieving :) and the cool temperatures of Adelaide was a welcome change from the searing hot weather we’ve been having for the past month. We stayed in a lovely seaside 2 bedroom apartment and really did nothing but hang out at the beach, BBQ, catching up on sleep and just a little bit of sight seeing. My kind of holiday!

After being separated from my blog and books and sewing machine for one week, I am really itching to sew again, and there are a couple of things on my list that I have to get done before school starts again in July. However, I was notified by my friends that Kinokuniya is having a sale (again) and of course I had to go check it out. I picked up only 2 books this time. Amazing restraint? :P


I first spotted this book when I did the New Releases post in March earlier this year. It is one of the few book covers that I liked, and the title sounded promising. But without a “look inside” or customer images available at that time, I decided not buy it online. Luckily I spotted this book and got to browse through it at the bookstore.

Here are some pictures of what’s inside the book. Please forgive the blur images as I had to take them with my mobile phone. My camera battery is completely flat after the trip and I forgot to charge it!


There are 26 garments featured in all, for sizes S,M,L and LL. The stars below each item denotes the level of difficulty. Please note that despite featuring 26 different garments, some of them are actually slight variations of each other, either in fabric options or in terms of  length. Some of the patterns are actually used for more than 1 garment, so the total number of patterns you actually get is less than 26. For example, there are two fabric variations for the ribbon skirt, tapered pants, and kimono pullover.

Let’s look at some of my favourite projects in this book!


Flared pullover. In a lovely lace fabric, this airy breezy piece is perfect for summer!


Dress with balloon sleeves.


Key neck pullover – I love this one!


Frill collar pullover


Crew neck robe


Key neck robe  with a fabric belt. This is basically the long dress and longer sleeve version of the key neck pullover.


Tapered linen pants


Kimono sleeves pullover


Ribbon skirt in linen


All in one – the only 3 star project in this book!


Tartan tunic


Hooded coat


Long flared coat

The general look and feel of this book is once again very clean cut, simple lines and silhouettes, as in most Japanese sewing books. It also has its fair share of long baggy shapeless pieces that I am not so fond of :P, but also lots of wearable pieces like the skirts and tapered pants. I also like the pullover tops for the easy sewing and easy wearing. They will be perfect paired with jeans.

Now for the technical bits – the size chart (units in cm)


Terms indicated in the leftmost column – Height / Bust / Waist / Hip


The format for the instructions is pretty much standard – Materials, Cutting Layout, Sewing steps in point form as well as indicated in the overall graphic.


The steps are individually illustrated using graphics.


Close up of diagrams


1 large 2-sided pattern sheet included.


Title : Clean and Natural いつもの服、きれいな服
Author : 大川友美
ISBN No :  978-4-579-11483-2

Book Review – Making clothes for my own style

I had so many ambitious sewing plans for the June holidays! Including having real sewing lessons with my daughters. So far we have only managed to make 1 shoebag, and the rest of the time seemed to have zoomed by in a flash with other activities and a birthday celebration. I didn’t even find time to sew my little one a birthday dress! :(  To write this post, I woke up much earlier than the rest of the house just so that I can get the pictures ready and write in total peace and quiet. So I expect this should be the only post this week. Next week I will be away on vacation for the whole week so I hope to schedule some translation posts in just to get my list of things to do a little shorter. I do hope I can get some sewing done by the end of this month. Hopefully a dress from this new book!


This book was released in May and was one of those listed in the blog post for new releases. From the cover, you really can’t tell much about what’s inside the book. So I was really glad to have spotted this book in my local Kinokuniya and got a chance to flip through it. I really loved what I saw so I had to get it.


I just included this page in the preview because I really really like the layout. Such a peaceful feeling… :)

Let’s have a look at the clothes you can make. There are 2 content pages, with 10 main styles (A-J) but with at least 2 variations per style.




Can  you tell that the picture above and the picture below belongs to the same style A?  The name of the basic style is called a サックドレス which literally means sack dress! Not a very flattering name for a dress, but it does look like an all occasion dress pattern depending on the type of fabric you use for it. The silhouette is a simple straight A-line but with bust darts to give it some shape.



The next style B is a french sleeve gathered dress, this dress has a zip down the back and a hidden side pocket.


Style C – A gathered neckline dress. The dress itself is more like a shift, no darts. The main design element is in the gathers around the neckline. The gathers are actually achieved with a drawstring effect of the ribbon tie.


Style D is a Frill Blouse. The front middle of the blouse is actually a button placket which buttons all the way up to the collar, you can’t really tell in the picture because she is wearing it unbuttoned and layered over a camisole. There are 3 vertical columns of frills on each side, running parallel to the button placket. A very pretty spring/summer blouse.

A longer dress variation is included for this style. Look how pretty it is in black too!


I skipped Style E which was a caftan dress, partly because I think there are too many similar patterns out there…


The next style F is for a skirt, just a simple tiered skirt with a side concealed zip enclosure. But what I liked about this particular skirt is the use of heavy wool which makes it ideal for cold weather. Looks cosy doesn’t it?


Moving on to style G –  a smock blouse with 3/4 sleeves. The ends of the sleeve are gathered, giving it a puffy sleeve look. I love the black lace fabric on this!

There is also a smock dress variation for this pattern, which is basically just a longer version of the blouse. The following picture shoes the sleeve details more clearly.



Style H is a boat neck blouse. It looks very simple but there is a special design element to it…

There is a tuck in the back. Check out the top stitch details on this one. Style H also comes in a longer dress variation.



Style I is a pattern for a pair of wide pants. A very simple pattern but by varying the length and fabric used, you can make anything from your lounge pants to linen/wool pants for going out. Play with varying the belt and pocket colors to make it your own style.


The last style J is called アメリカンスリーブドレス. Literally translated as American sleeve dress. I have never come across this naming convention, but from the diagrams it looks like the armholes are cut further in compared to the usual sleeveless patterns. Not quite halter or racerback, but cut in further with a narrower shoulder seam than the usual sleeveless tops.

Here’s a view from the back, in a more formal jacquard fabric.


You can make it in knit fabric too, here’s a picture of it in a long maxi dress length.



The size chart for the projects included in this book. Note that not all the patterns come in these sizes. Those that come in free sizes are usually the baggy fitting styles. Those that come with zip enclosures will come in individual S,M,L sizes. There are also some blouses that come in S/M and L sizes – meaning two sets of patterns only. One for S/M and one for L. And there are patterns that come in S, M/L which means one set of patterns from S and one for M/L. Sounds confusing but I guess the most important thing is to read carefully before tracing or cutting!


The how-to-make section is pretty standard, with diagrams, cutting layout, and instructions in point form.


A close up of the diagram.


2 actual size pattern sheets (for a total of 4 sides) included.


In short, I love the aesthetics and styling of the book. The styles make look a little mature for some of you, which could be due to the choice of model or fabrics. But I find that most of the patterns are pretty much wardrobe staples, so you can vary the fabrics and lengths to your liking, and basically make your own clothes in your own style.

Title : 自分スタイルの服作り
Author : 杉本伸子 designer of Hayama Sunday
ISBN : 978-4-579-11488-7

Translation Request – Kimono Top

This translation request is for a Kimono Top. The pattern is from the 2014 Winter. Early Spring edition of Cucito magazine.


Click on the images to zoom in.



 Happy Sewing!

New Releases – May/June 2014

It’s once again the first week of a brand new month! It’s the beginning of the school holidays for us over here, and it’s been blazing hot! School holidays normally mean a lot less time to blog, but it also means lots of new sewing books with summer patterns! Here are some of the new releases over the past month, as well as some that will be released soon over the month of June.


Cucito Summer 2014


Easy and Cute fabric goods


Easy sewing for adults


Easy summer Clothes


Handmade aprons


Handmade Bags / Pouches / Wallets


Using only 1m of fabric! Kids clothes and goods


Kids Yukata and Jinbei

Have you seen or bought any of these books yet?

Translation Requests – Nani Iro Kids Culottes

This pattern translation was requested by Vania, and I’m sure many of you will find it useful since it is a free pattern, the construction diagram is provided, and it will be perfect for summer!

Use your favourite nani iRO double gauze fabric, or a light cotton lawn for best effect.


The original pattern is from nani IRO’s official site - link to pattern page, and do check out the other free patterns. This is from the 2014 design range so you can check out the gorgeous fabrics at the same time!

Happy Sewing!

Magazine Review – Cotton Time May 2014

The covers of Cotton Time magazines never fail to brighten up my day. Look at this pretty and super colorful mix of bags, zakka, accessories…. Yes, all these projects and more are included in this month’s edition.


Fabric freebie! A 40x26cm wide piece from Sweet Charms fabric design range by Cosmo-tex. It’s the same fabric used on the bag on the cover. There are patterns for making the round bag on the cover, or a shell shaped zipper pouch, or a metal frame purse.  There is probably only enough fabric to make one project of course, so choose wisely!


The next section is all about using the “House” as a motif for all kinds of zakka goods, starting with this sweets pouch. The photo shows the pouch being used to literally carry sweets, but at 10.5cm x 7cm x 5cm it will be perfect as a little pouch for carrying keys,tissue paper, or just a little bag for your child.


House shaped Pin Cushion


Stationery organizer


Mini Felt Cases for holding jewellery and small knick knacks.


It’s Summer, and it’s time for picnics! The next section covers a whole bunch of projects for making your own co-ordinated picnic accessories! There are two different themes. The Lovely theme,


Or the Sporty theme. Patterns included – Bottle case, Cup case, Dish case, Leisure mat and  Lunch bag.


Next up, a very popular and often revisited theme in Japanese sewing books, the Granny bag pattern.

Other than the basic version, there are 5 other suggest variations of the granny bag that you can try. Here’s one example – where tucks are added to the opening. The other arrangements include – sizing down for kids, using different types of materials for the handles, and adding detachable long handles.


There are always lots of bag patterns in Cotton Time. I can’t show them all here so here are just a few that I really like  - Canvas tote with round base.


A colorful patchwork tote designed by quilt artist Akiko Endo.


A really useful pattern to have – A vanity bag that is designed to slip over the handles of your suitcase.


Other than bags, there are lots of little accessories and useful objects to make.

Like these hair accessories,


Hair band decorations, necklaces


Cute Cord rolls in the shpae of macarons, and bears! – for neatening your cables and electrical cords, and beautifying your desk too!


Get ready for summer with these summer hats!


Matching flower hats for mother and daughter


Step by step instructions for making the hats.


I just wanted to cover one last section. This is a little late for mother’s day, since I only received this magazine after mother’s day, but nevertheless a cute matching set of accessories you can still make for Mum (or even yourself!)


Father’s day is coming in a few weeks time, so you can still make this in time! There are a couple of projects, all centred around the use of leather. Like this key holder,


Small accessories tray, and even a book cover.


One large sheet of actual size patterns included. You can see that there are large number of patterns included based on the list below.


Cotton Time / Shufu to Seikatsusha

I know that many of you are big fans of the Cotton Time magazine, and many of you have asked me where to buy this from. Those of you who prefer a English shopping experience can buy it from cdjapan (or click on the image above).  Those of you who already know what you want and want to buy other Japanese sewing books as well (that are not found on cdjapan) can opt for The descriptions are in Japanese but the checkout process is very much like the English site. Both of these websites ship internationally to most destinations. You may want to compare the shipping rates and see which is better. I hope this will help you find your copy of Cotton time and other sewing magazines. Good luck and happy sewing!