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Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Magazines Ladies Sewing Patterns

Book Review – Sewing Pochee Autumn 2013 Vol 16

November 6, 2013

Sewing Pochee is published 4 times a year according to the seasons, and it includes lots of sponsored specials and special features that are more often found in magazines than books. The projects range from garments to accessories and ornaments, quite similar to Cotton friend. Yet I think it qualifies as a book because it has a ISBN number unlike the regular magazines. Never mind the technicalities, it is still one of my favorite sewing books from Nihon-vogue’s – Sewing Pochee 2013 Autumn Vol. 16.

Why do I like this book? Because they will always feature a combination of works from the “famous” sewing bloggers/crafters/authors who have published books under the Nihon vogue range. In this issue you can find the works of Nanotone, 荒木由纪, May me, a sunny spot and more!

There is also a free 25x25cm free fabric sample from a new fabric collection + ideas and patterns on how to use the fabric.

 I’m not sure if the fabric is enough for making these room shoes but the patterns are included and you can use your own pretty fabric to make these cozy room shoes.

Now let’s step right in and have a look at the garments and projects included in this issue.

 The headline of this issue. – Using one pattern to make mix-and-match clothes. I’m trying to translate the headline but it basically means you can make multiple variations using one pattern.

Round collar dress/blouse, which can be worn front or back, as a dress or a coat.

Blouse with soft gathers.

 Linen Gilet (Gilet – french for a sleeveless jacket resembling waistcoat/blouse according to Wikipedia).

 Belt detail as seen from the back.

 Some of the projects (especially the sponsored features) come with step by step photographs. These are found within the main section of the magazine in between the projects.

 Close up of the steps.

Loose Silhouette Cropped Pants

Some cold weather patterns

 Balloon poncho

 This issue’s Bernina special features the Bernina B580 (drools) and includes a pattern for making this poncho out of thick fleece fabric.

Complete with step by step instructions which I guess its supposed to show us how well it sews on thick fabric. I will have to take their word for it since we don’t even have a proper showroom here for Bernina with the full range of machines for testing out.  I will love to do a review on the machine 😛 (ok I’m just trying my luck here) Check out the pricing below for the B580!  484,500 yen is about USD4931. How does that compare to the Bernina prices where you are?

 I notice Men’s patterns have been showing up in recent magazines. And not just the usual t-shirt/shirt patterns.

 I like this hoodie with the interesting collar detail and front pockets

 Back view of hoodie, and the pattern for the bag is included too!

Padded vest. Very college boy look? The only problem with these patterns are, they only come in M size!

Those of you who follow me on instagram may have heard me wondering aloud yesterday morning. There is a special feature by Arai Yuki 荒木由纪 in this issue where they provide the adult pattern version of two of the projects in the girls sewing pattern book -きちんと可愛い女の子服. This book was released in May this year and contains 21 patterns for 100-140cm and 9 patterns for 150,160cm. Just the thing for pre-teens and teenage girls. I had this book for quite a while and somehow I thought I had already posted a review but while searching for the book review to link it up to, I just could not find it anywhere! I will review it next week.

 If you can’t wait, here’s a little thumbnail preview of the kids version of the same cardigan. I think it looks more stylish on the girl than on the lady. Perhaps its the baggy pants she’s wearing that’s throwing me off ;P

I received a few questions about the possibility of making balloon dresses in adult sizes. Guess what? You can get the adult version right here in Sewing Pochee!

For those of you who have kids, there are a number of Mama+kid matching sets for you to make.

For example, this Liberty fabric special with a pattern by blogger/author of “a sunny spot” 村田繭子

Suitable for both boys and girls – Parka coat and Jacket.

 Linen dress for Mama+girl

This pattern is for the knit pants (not the shirt). Relax straight pants for mama, sarouel pants for kids.

Dolman pullover

 Other than garments, there are also accessories, such as this bag with embellished by Liberty fabric.

A little wire frame purse and felt mascots.

 Handmade bracelets using leftover fabric.

Some cute ornaments to make. You can hang them on your christmas tree!

Make coasters out of fabric scraps.

Other than sewing projects, there are also some special sections like this one.

 Peep into the sewing rooms of popular craft authors and see how to store their sewing supplies!

 Here’s a peep at one of the sewing rooms. I spot a Juki and a brother sewing machine. If only I had space for a sewing room. Projects will move so much faster. 🙂

Now for some technical information.

Here are the adult and kids size charts. For the adult (ladies) size chart on top, the values on the left column are – (Bust / Waist / Hip/ Height). They used 160cm height for all the sizes, so just adjust the length if you are below or above 160cm.
For the kids the values on the left column are – (Height / Bust / Waist / Hip).

With the exception of the sponsored specials, special features which include very detailed step by step photographs, the rest of the projects have their “how-to-make” included at the back. A typical how-to-make page looks like this.

 There are no written steps, but you have to follow the order of make in the diagram and each step is shown in a diagram form.

A close up of the diagrams.

2 large sheets of patterns included.

 Title : Sewing Pochee Autumn 2013 Vol 16
ISBN : 978-4-529-05251-1
Publisher : Nihon-Vogue

Book Reviews Girls Sewing Patterns Japanese Sewing Books in English

Book Review – Girls Style Book in English

October 30, 2013

Those of you who visit my blog regularly may have realized that I have been slow to update recently. My eldest was having her exams and I know it sounds ridiculous but it meant that I was not able to blog and sew as often as I liked since our “work areas” are next to each other and whatever I was doing distracted her from her revision (which was obviously a lot less interesting that whatever I was doing). The good news is, the exams are officially over and it means I’m back to regular schedule from next week onwards.

Anyway for this week I wanted to review another translated book by Tuttle. I once borrowed the Japanese version of this book from my friend, just to trace the pattern of the dress on the front page. But I never got around to making it because I did not have the right fabric, and somehow time went by and patterns get piled up faster than I have time to sew. I don’t even know where the pattern is now 🙁 Looks like I will have to trace it again because every time I see this cover I feel like making this dress!

The book is called Girls Style Book and it includes 24 patterns for girls in the following sizes.

 Size 2-10 for heights 100-140cm. I’m so used to using cm so I’m really glad that they provide both sets of measurements even after translating. One reason why I don’t like sewing with english patterns is that I have to keep converting the units back to cm.

Let’s have a look through the book now shall we?

Dress with frilled collar. From the length it looks like a blouse but the title says dress. I guess you cane make it longer or shorter, it will work both as a blouse, tunic or a dress.

 Smock-like blouse with front tucks. Notice the gathered details on the sleeves and the scalloped edge lace on the hem. So so sweet!

 This is actually a variation of the blouse in B but in a longer length and in linen.

 Classic dress with a linen ribbon tie and rounded collars.

 Balloon dress with ribbon rosettes. Pattern for matching headband provided too! There is also another sleeveless balloon dress pattern (instead of straps) in the book so if you are a fan of the balloon dress, and have always wondered how to make it, you have to get this book!

 Puffed-sleeve A-line dress. You can vary the fabric used to give it a more casual or formal look. This fabric is a summer weight wool, and the trim is made using Liberty fabric.

Patterns for the open back camisole, pants and the oh…the super cute hat are all provided!

 Blouse with front and back gathers. You can’t really see it from the picture because of the printed fabric, but it is a really pretty blouse with front pockets and frills on the sleeves. There is also a ribbon tie at the back enclosure.

 Blouse with gathered high waist, V-neck and frills on the shoulders. Do you like to use classic large floral prints on your little girls? It’s a really nice match for this pattern.

 Straight line sundress. The sleeves and top edge of the dress is made really pretty with some eyelet lace and a length of ribbon weaving through it.

A very classic high waist gathered dress, a staple pattern for anyone sewing for little girls.

 A-line sleeveless dress. Easy to wear, and easy to make!

 Dress with embroidered front smocking and little bag. This pattern teaches you how to make the smocking pattern. Like in the real traditional needle embroidery method. It is tedious work but so pretty when finished.

 An interesting dress made using a decorative edge fabric. The edges are used for the sleeves and neckline panels as well as the skirt edge of the dress. You could even adapt this pattern using a plain fabric with a co-ordinating fabric for the neckline panel behind the V-shape bodice panels for a completely different look!

 For formal occasions, there is the long dress. The petal sleeves are beautiful! Be sure to use a fabric that has a bit of shape to help the petals stand out. The dress above is made in linen, but you easily create a more formal look by using a different type of fabric.

A black linen bolero and pinafore ensemble. Wear it separately or together for a more formal look. The bolero pattern on its own will also be useful for cold weather wear or an extra touch to a formal dress outfit.

Each of the patterns come with a set of instructions like the ones in the picture above.  I don’t follow the cutting layouts strictly because I find that for smaller sizes, sometimes it is possible to use a lot less fabric than what is stated. But always refer to it before cutting out your patterns because you need to transfer the correct seam allowances to your patterns!

The patterns include diagrams for instructions. A close up of one of the diagrams is shown above.

 Like all Tuttle books, there is a handy envelope at the back cover for storing your patterns.

 Title : Girls Style Book
ISBN : 978-0804843270
Author : Yoshiko Tsukiori
Publisher : Tuttle Publishing

If you were to pick a pattern from this book for a sew along, which would it be?


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!