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Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Magazines Kids Sewing Patterns

Magazine review – Cucito Autumn 2013

October 23, 2013

Yay it’s FINALLY here. The Autumn version of Cucito magazine.

Highlights of this issue – patterns for the 130,140,150cm group which are not often found in books and magazines. My eldest just went past the 130cm mark, this will come in handy!

The magazine starts off with some Autumn wear basics for the cooler months. Sweat pants for boys and girls.

Also, notice the shirt worn by the boy and the Mama+girl in the picture below? They are part of a matching set of shirt patterns for both Mama+kids. Just that the boy has a tie and the ladies use a ribbon tie.

There are also skirt patterns for Mama + Girl in the same sweat pants material. The title of the pattern is called sweat skirt! Is that the official term?

 Some projects featuring new Autumn fabrics.

 Love the little bolero!

It even includes a really pretty lining for the peekaboo effect.

Next up is the special section for 130-150cm girls.

Tencel Denim Salopette pants (overalls). There is also a Salopette skirt version which is also available in 90-120cm sizes.

Cute Trench Coat with Ruffles – really cute! I love how they used the mustard yellow color too. It’s not a color I would choose to buy but it looks so good with the light brown boots.

 This issue’s special Sewing feature – Sewing with open ended zippers. There is even a full step by step tutorial showing you how to make the parka in the picture above.

 Check out the upper end of the zipper. Professionally finished!

Lots of ideas for embelishment using the same parka pattern.

As usual, Cucito always provides a few Mama+Daughter patterns.

 and some for the babies!

 Buttons on the back. how cute!

 This stylish outfit will look good on a 130-150cm girl too, but unfortunately it only comes in 70-90cm sizes.

 Something for the baby boys too. Patterns for the vest, shirt and pants, all included.

I’m quite attracted to the little boys outfit in this issue, not sure why 😛

 These two boys are wearing a sweatshirts with a really interesting wide collar with a toggle button. Really interesting and I think it will work for the girls too.

Padded vest for the boys.

Back to more girly stuff. A bubble skirt on the left, and a simple denim skirt on the right. The red and white polka dotted pocket you can barely see on the extreme right of the picture, is actually a detachable pocket.

 Remember the cute trench coats earlier on for the 130-150cm age group? Available in 90-120cm sizes too. I would buy this magazine just for this pattern! ;P

 The 90-120cm size includes a straight coat design as well.

Using all the garments you can make in this issue, you can put together some really stylish looks.

Outift ideas for the girls.

 There are some lovely hats as well, I like this one best!

Now for the how-to-make section. It starts with some sewing basics with photographs.

Many of the patterns that require more instruction come in colored diagrams like these.

The simpler ones are included near the back of the magazine in black and white diagrams like the one below.

 2 large pattern sheets included.

 Title : Cucito Autumn 2013
Publisher : Boutique-sha 


Translations and Help with Patterns

Translation Request – Types of interfacing

October 18, 2013

Today’s translation request is from Yulia, who needed some help translating the different types of interfacing used in this book –  More Handmade Wallets that I reviewed quite a while ago.


About interfacing
An introduction about the interfacing used in this book. In particular the [Box type coin pouch], [Accordian type], we have to use the appropriate interfacing thickness.

Thin fusible interfacing
It is used to strengthen and prevent from getting out of shape. When you buy, let’s select the type labelled “thin” interfacing.

Thick fusible interfacing
Used to support fabric under tension. You should opt for the ones labelled [Normal] to [thick].

Ultra-thick fusible interfacing
A very thick interfacing, it will “rebound” as in the photograph.(“rebound” is exact translation of the term but I think it means to describe that the material is quite stiff  and holds its shape well, and will spring back when folded over like in the picture). This type of interfacing is often used for bottom base of bags, the thickness is shown in the image. When buying on the internet, search using keywords  [Interfacing – hard], it is easy to find. In this book, the interfacing used is “Puression hc800” (a brand of interfacing) (This seems to be an old model number, but you can refer to this page which shows you a similar product from the same manufacturer)


Ok I hope I am not too far off in my translation 😛
Hope this clears up your doubts on the type of interfacing to use Yulia, and good luck for your sewing projects!

Book Reviews

Book Review – Fabrigami

October 16, 2013

Another sneak peek review of a soon to be published book from Tuttle. It’s not a sewing book, but it combines the use of pretty Japanese fabrics and the traditional art of Origami and the book is aptly titled – Fabrigami.

The only Origami I can fold without having to refer to a book is the paper crane. It was not till this year, when my 9 yr old brought home the Origami craze from school, that I started buying books on Origami for her. One of the best books I have found for teaching Origami to kids was found in a Japanese bookstore on my Osaka trip. The book 大人気!!親子で遊べる5‐7才のたのしい!おりがみ was targeted at 5-7 year olds (there is a younger 3-5 yrs version) and entirely in Japanese. But the diagrams were easy enough to follow and she has made lots of stuff from it!

I have also bought other books like Origami Boxes but she was not so keen on that and I realized why. The diagrams were not so easy to follow. So when I received this book from Tuttle she went “Wow”! I think it was not just “Wow” at the projects, but also “Wow” at the use of fabric. The difference between this book and the traditional origami book is that the projects use stiffened fabric instead of paper. It is definitely more long lasting than using paper, and a great idea for co-ordinating your home decor!

Many of the fabrics used in the projects are traditional Japanese prints, and if you need a source, you can check out Lia San’s Atelier. She sells the most beautiful Japanese fabrics that will be perfect for these projects.

 Lots of projects to be made. The projects are in varying levels of difficulties so no worries if you are just a beginner.

The book begins by teaching you how to prepare your fabrics for fabrigami, followed by a section on basic folding techniques. The diagrams are pretty good! The above is just an excerpt of the basic techniques page where they show you the common steps used in most of the projects.

Now let’s look at some of the projects.

 A decorative butterfly (I can imagine multiples of this in various sizes, in co-ordinating fabric, on the wall of a baby’s nursery)

A very easy to make but intricate looking bookmark.

A triangular box for storing little bits of jewellery?

 Another pretty but very practical storage box.

A little Kimono on a greeting card. You can use paper to make this of course, but using fabric makes it look even more like the real thing doesn’t it?

 This is very interesting. It’s called a love knot and you can hide messages inside it.

 Napkin rings

and even a Turkey!

A magic wand.

 A very simple but stylish looking Christmas card.


 Bottle wrapper

Business card holder

Bird of Peace

As for the instructions, here’s a sample of the diagrams included for each project.

and here’s the back cover.

Title : Fabrigami
Authors : Jill Stovall, Scott Stern and Florence Temko
ISBN :  978-4-8053-1256-8
Publisher : Tuttle Publishing

Pre-order now from Amazon

I hope you like today’s craft book review despite the fact that it’s not about sewing. But it is a great idea for using fabric scraps. Something that I have lots of and I never know what to do with them. Will be back end of the week with a translation request on types of interfacing. See you soon!

Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Books Mens Sewing Patterns

Book Review – Book of Men’s Shirts

October 7, 2013

This is the first book I’ve ever bought on sewing Men’s shirts! And definitely my first book review on this subject.

I was first drawn to this book after receiving a sewing question from Happy Sew Lucky on instagram. I have actually seen this book many times but never thought it could be possible to make a Men’s shirt on my own. After seeing pictures of her shirt in progress, I was inspired to get my own book and maybe… just maybe, I will make one for the husband (who sometimes read my blog by the way so I can’t say too much)

The book includes 19 patterns with both formal and casual shirts’ patterns included.

Regular collar white shirt

Semi wide spread collar white shirt

Due bottoni collar shirt – this is supposed to be a casual suit, not for wearing with suits.

Wing collar formal shirt

Round collar cleric shirt

Regular collar casual shirt

One-up collar short sleeve shirt


Stand collar tuck shirt

Military shirt

Shirt with zippered pockets.

If you, are like me, unable to tell the minute differences between the different types of collars and cuffs, then this book will be very useful for you. Interspersed between the various pictures of the shirts are these pages that breakdown the details of a shirt, for example the different types of collars, cuffs, even the different types of fabric and buttons you can use.

The descriptive text is in Japanese but the main English terms are translated and that was enough for me.  There are also sections on bleaching, ironing, dyeing, etc but these are mostly text and not much pictures so I did not show them here.

Various types of cloth suitable for making shirts.

The How-to-make section starts with a scary flow chart. It’s pretty mind boggling but in a nutshell, the purpose is to list down all the steps involved in making a shirt.  I’ll just stick to the individual pattern instructions for now and not try to get confused by this diagram. 🙂

So here’s an example of a how-to-make. On the left column near the binding you can see the instructions in point form. Pretty brief instructions, as most of the instructions are detailed in diagrams. There is only 1 set of full instructions which is for pattern 1 – regular collar shirt. I guess this is because most of the steps in making a shirt are pretty similar so there is no need to repeat the steps in all of the patterns. The rest of the patterns do not have a full set of instructions but wherever there is a variation from the standard shirt instructions, the diagrams of the additional steps will be included.

Close up of one of the diagrams.

2 large pattern sheets included.

Before I forget, the size chart!

The size chart table is divided into two sections.
The first three rows of measurements refer to nude measurements (meaning actual body measurements) and they are : height, chest around, waist.
The bottom 5 rows refer to garment measurements: neck around , sleeve length (from neck to shoulder to wrist), shoulder width, chest around, wrist around.

Frankly speaking, it looks like a massive project. Even the number of patterns to be traced per shirt is daunting. I will probably try one of the casual shirts first but before that, I will need to source for the right type of fabric. Does that sound like an excuse not to start? ;P

Title : 男のシャツの本 Book of Men’s Shirts
Author : 嶋崎隆一郎 Ryuichiro Shimazaki
ISBN : 978-4-579-11110-7

Otoko no Shirts no Hon / Shimazaki RyuichiroBuy now from cdjapan