The first quarter of the year is usually full of excitement in the world of Japanese fabrics because there are lots of new launches that we’ve all been eagerly waiting for! First up on my list – Keshiki by Yumi Yoshimoto. This is the second time I’m reviewing her fabric (see last year’s IG post of my Keshiki Qipao) and I really love her designs because they are like abstract works of art. The larger scale patterns can be used in so many different ways that every single dress you make will look so cool and unique.
I’ve been seeing sneak peeks of her new collection on her IG feed @keshiki_designby_yumiyoshimoto since last November, but the fabric only shipped out in January and so I finally got my hands on some!
The full collection. You can see Yumi Yoshimoto’s signature sketching style. Which is what makes her fabric such wearable pieces of art. She seems to be preferential to shades of blue and green and grey, which makes it right up my alley! Continue Reading
Today’s review is another Japanese craft book that has been translated into English by Nippan IPS. It’s really amazing and I’ve never seen the likes of this level of artistry before. You really have to see it to believe it! The book sample was provided by Nippan IPS and they are also generously sponsoring a giveaway prize which I will talk about at the end of the post. Let’s have a look at the book first!
The title of the book is called Needle Felted Kittens, by Hinali, a needle felting artist. Hinali is a self taught needle felting artist who started felting in 2011, and participated in exhibitions at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. After her creations were shown on TV, they quickly went viral and she’s super popular on IG. You can follow her on her Instagram account @hinali_felt for all of her felting creations. There are even some videos of her making the felt kittens and it’s really fascinating to watch!
The book starts off with a photo collection of needle felted cats that Hinali has made over the years. Then there is this page called Hinali’s cats, which I thought was a series of photos of her cats in real life that inspired her to make such life-like cats, before I took a closer look and realized they were actually needle felted cats. Hmm.. or are they are real cats? I can’t tell!!!
So how does one go about getting started on making such life-like cats? The book begins with the most basic techniques, and introduces you to all the materials and tools you need, how to blend wool to create different colors. There are even detailed photos to show you how to to hold a needle and prick wool correctly. Really beginner friendly.
There are also additional tips for creating very fine details, including how to create a cover to stop pricking your own fingers (those of you who have tried felting must have jabbed yourself before – like me! :P) as well as creating a longer needle to reach hard to reach areas.
There are also tips for cutting wool tufts, a Q&A section about very frequently encountered problems during felting and how to resolve them. I would say this is a very very detailed book with lots of hinali’s own needle felting techniques that will help you create not just kittens, but any other object you want to create.
The book then progresses to the projects you can make from this book. And the projects cover a variety of cats with different fur patterns and poses, so that you create your very own variation with your own cat! The projects include
Orange and white tabby kitten (in a sitting down pose)
Scottish Fold Cat (half-sitting up)
Tortoiseshell Cat (sitting catloaf style)
Tortoiseshell Point Siamese Cat (sitting) / Tortoiseshell-and-White Cat (lying down)
Cats with just their Faces , Cats inside Frames
Each of the project comes with really detailed step by step photos, plus all descriptions of the steps in English, so there is absolutely no problem understanding it!
If you are a cat owner or lover, or just want to try your hands at making one of these lifelike needle felted kittens, how about a giveaway?
Want to learn how to make your own felted kitten? You might have a chance to win a copy of this book –
NEEDLE FELTED KITTENS by Hinali
generously sponsored by the publisher NIPPAN IPS!
Happy 2019! A little late into the year but I must confess I have been taking a nice relaxing time off. I took 2 weeks off in December, and when I came back everything was a mess at home and there was so much laundry to catch up. It is also a few weeks more the Chinese New Year which means more frantic sewing trying to get everyone’s new clothes ready. Anyway, I really wanted to review this book because I think this is one of the more useful Pouch making books I have bought so far. I realize the cover is not that attractive, and maybe many of you might skip it while browsing through online shops. But I saw the sneak preview and one of the set of instructions on the different ways to deal with zip ends caught my attention. So I just had to buy it to take a look. And then there was a pouch with 3 compartments that I’ve always wanted to know how to make, and it’s in there too!
You know a book is really useful if the first thing you do when you buy it is not to make 1, but 2 pouches using the patterns 😛 This book is published by Nihon-Vogue and there are 35 different projects you can make. The lessons include how to install zippers (adjusting length / end of zips / sewing), attaching lining to your pouches, attaching different types of interfacing, sewing with special materials, and how to attach metal purse frames. With this book you can literally make any pouch you want!
This was the first one – a little cosmetic case with elastic pockets inside for small items like eyeshadows or tweezers..
and the second pouch I made was this – This is actually a twin pouch sewn together, and the section in between the two pouches makes a 3rd compartment. It’s really useful for sorting things out and even my daughter has asked for one for her school devices!
And here’s the book flip-through video, you can find lots of other pouch designs in the video.
The lessons are very clear and easy to follow, so I would really recommend this book even though the cover looks rather plain! I hope you like it and make lots of useful pouches out of it!
Title :ポーチの教室 (Pouch Making Classroom)
Publisher : Nihon Vogue
ISBN No. :978-4529058438
Today’s book review will take on a different format, one that I hope will allow me to post more book reviews quicker and faster! So what’s the difference? I noticed that ever since I started posting book flip through videos, the photos became quite redundant. So I’m going to just post the videos on various channels, and then summarise my thoughts about this book in my blog. I hope that this will speed things up a lot more because I have so many books sitting on my desk waiting to be reviewed I fear I will never catch up with them all!
Today’s book review is about this book on Sewing Coats. Don’t ask me why I bought it, but I have a strange obsession with coats. I really wish I could wear them more often but it’s so hot here in Singapore, even in December. But never mind, I bought the book anyway because I’m really interested to know how to make one!
So here’s the book flip through video, and I’ll share my thoughts about the book below!
There are 18 different coats you can make from this book, and the main categories are the pattern styles – there is the Drop Shoulder / Raglan Sleeve / Tailer Collar coat, Set in Sleeve as well as the Kimono sleeves. Each of the 18 coats are a variation of one of these main pattern types. The patterns are for Ladies size S-LL.
Based on these 5 different basic templates, are 18 different arrangements you can make. Detailed step by step lesson are provided for the Tailored coat which is fully interfaced and lined. I believe it is the most complicated of them all so there are lots of techniques that you can refer to from here.
There are also detailed step by step photos you need for making different types of pockets – namely, Patch pockets, Seam pockets (side pockets), Welt pockets, Box pockets (direct translation from Japanese but I think these are single welt pockets/ broad welt side pockets).
With these detailed instructions, you can make up any kind of coat, even mix and match your own styles from trench coat to duffle coat, to the simple collarless style which I love so much.
So if you love coats and especially if you actually need one this winter (or even the next), why not make one of your own? I think this book provides really clear instructions and not much translation seems to be needed. In fact, the rating on this book on Amazon was 4.6 stars, and most of them said that the instructions were easy to understand.
Title : コートを縫おう (Coats Sewing)
Author : かたやま ゆうこ (Katayama Yuko)
ISBN No. : 978-4391151497
Today’s book review is not a sewing book but a craft book, and it is oozing with so much cuteness that you will not be able to resist!
before I start, some back story about how I came to discover this book.
I received an email one day from a very nice lady called Yumi from Nippan IPS.NIPPAN IPS is one of the largest exporters and importers in Japan. They represent a lot of Japanese publishers and specialize in books on fashion, art, architecture, photography, hobby and travel. You can see their book catalogues on Issuu.com and it’s really exciting to find another source of Japanese books that have been translated to English!
Yumi told me that they have some very interesting Japanese sewing and craft books that have been, and will be translated soon. So she asked if I would like to take a look. I think the answer was clear! 🙂
So the first book I am reviewing today is called Pom Pom Animals, and yup it is literally making animals out of Pom Poms. If you think that the results will look like what you get from doing arts and crafts in grade school, well, be prepared to be amazed!
The author of the book is Tsubasa Kuroda, a.k.a. trikotri(her IG account has lots of cute pom pom animal pictures!), born in 1981 and graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts. She started working on pom-poms while working for a handicraft store, and now creates accessories and small handcrafts. She’s been selling pom pom animal kits for a while, and this was her first published book in 2016. Since then she has released 2 other books on pom pom animals as well.
But more about this book. This book was originally published in 2016, and very highly rated on Amazon. Lots of pictures and diagrams to follow and it shouldn’t be hard to follow even in Japanese, but guess what? Nothing beats having the book translated to English, and now it’s been done by Nippan IPS!
This book includes 45 products made of wool. You will also need some other simple materials like eyes and felt to complete the look.
There are soooooo many cute animals in the book that I’m just highlighting some of them here, because I will leave the rest for you to browse in the book flip-through video.
This was the first one that caught my eye, it really looks innocent (as described) doesn’t it? 😛
Literally lol-ed at this combination. It’s like a cat being caught trying to steal bread – it has this startled look, and it’s so small and cute, just the size of a little bun.
If you are not a fan of keeping real live pets, these are a great substitute! They are completely fuss free to keep and add so much color to the room.
Some more hidden pets…
you might think they are only good for display, but in the book there are instructions on how to adapt these pom poms, by adding a backing and brooch pins, to be used as decorative accessories.
Now you must be wondering, the pom pom animals look so life-like and realistic, it must be difficult to create right? Well, I wouldn’t say you are wrong, because you do need some artistic sense of balance to trim the pom poms into shape. But the instructions give you a very clear and precise method to the forming of the different colored layers. Straight down to the number of rounds you need to wind, as well as the angle you should wind it at. Here is an excerpt of the section on how to read the instructions.
Then more detailed pictures follow – there are a few animals which are demonstrated in full detail, the rest of the projects are basically variations in color and placement of the different layers /
I also found a YouTube video of an interview with the author – Tsubasa Kuroda and if you want to see more of her cute projects.
So by now you must be wondering, like I first did when I received the book. My kids and I were gushing over the cute pictures but could we actually make one ourselves? It seemed highly impossible. My kids requested for ME to make many of the animals, they couldn’t decide which one they liked best because they were all so cute. I asked THEM to make it themselves since they were just idling at home (School holidays have started). But they just rejected the idea, saying that they will never be able to make it as well.
I asked a friend to help me buy some pom pom makers – they are available in some craft shops in Singapore, but I only managed to pick it up from her about a week later. My kids jumped into making pom poms. They made like a box full of fluffy balls, but no one attempted the animals. So I asked my #2 to make me a white pom pom and said I would try the simplest bear pattern.
Ok so do you want to see what I made? Erm, it looks nothing like the ones in the book. I was trying to make a simple bear, since it was my first time and I had no idea if I was able to do the shaping. And so after I mustered up enough courage to make the first snips into that perfect ball of wool (it’s just a ball of wool!) I gathered momentum and went around snipping furiously. It was really therapeutic to hear the scissors go snip snip snip. Had to go slow and inspect it from all angles, to prevent over-zealous trimming… but it was not too bad!
Luckily I have some felting wool and my felting needs so the nose was quite easily done. I had some sew-in eyes too, but I felt they were too big, so I used simple black beads. I might have sewn them in a little too tight though, I thought the eyes were not so clear from the front view. But maybe a bit more trimming around the muzzle might help. All in all, I really surprised myself at what I could do! It was really simple to follow, just need a little patience.
From this angle you can see that it needs a bit more trimming around the sides, he still looks a bit scraggly….but I think I will leave it at that.
Then my eldest got inspired and she chose a harder project. Tadah!
So you can see, if you follow the instructions, it is not impossible! Just have to try…. If you are asking me to, is it necessary to have a pom pom maker? Not really, but it really helps. I’ve made lots of pom poms as a kid too, using two pieces of donut shaped cardboard but it is a lot easier to wind 400 rounds on each half because the pom pom maker is designed to open up and let you have full access to each semi-circle portion. They are not that expensive too and if you are keen on making a whole zoo of pom pom animals, this will be a great investment!
Do you feel like making these cute animals all by yourself? To get you kick started, we have a giveaway just for you!
Would you like to make one of your own? You might have a chance to win a copy of this book – POM POM ANIMALS by trikotri
generously sponsored by the publisher NIPPAN IPS!
PLUS I will also send you a set of 4 Clover pom pom makers(35/45/65/85mm)
all the sizes you need to make the pompom animals in the book!
This giveaway will run on my Instagram account only (due to FB’s confusing maze of rules).