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Japanese Sewing Books

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


Using Japanese Sewing Books

October 4, 2013

I stumbled upon a few archived pages from the early months of and I realized that they are not linked anywhere else in the blog and are in fact buried deep in the archives. So I decided to consolidate all the links to guide you in using Japanese sewing and pattern books. From browsing, choosing, buying to the actual making of the clothes. The links are all here and will be updated as and when I have new content added to the site.

Step 1. Buying a Japanese Sewing Book

  • Browse before you buy – You can browse through the books from certain publishers. Nihon-vogue , Bunka Publishing Bureau (how to browse on Bunka’s site will be posted soon!)
  • Pick one that has already  been translated – Japanese Sewing Books translated to English – Constantly updated list of Japanese Sewing Books that have been translated to English, and where to buy them.
  • Japanese Sewing Books in Japanese  – There are many sources for buying Japanese sewing books online. All the books I have reviewed include their ISBN numbers so you can search with that rather than having to key in Japanese. I have also included affiliate links on my right sidebar to for Japanese sewing books. It is an English site that sells books, cds and more, and best of all, ships worldwide from Japan.
  • Buying a Japanese sewing book in singapore . If you are located in or visiting Singapore, you might want to check out where to buy books and fabrics from physical stores in Singapore- Fabric and Book shopping in Singapore (and other cute Japanese stuff)

Step 2. Buy Fabrics

Step 3. Making

Additional Resources

This page will be updated whenever I add something new, so do bookmark this page and check it often!

If you have any questions or special requests for something you would like to see featured on my site, leave a comment below! Thank you!