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).
Today’s book review is for a book that is not very new, but one I have bought for quite some time simply out of curiosity 😂. I did actually want to try it though, and I did!
The pattern designer is Asuka Hamada, author of Piece Work. Her style is very quirky and usually not tight fitting, but I like them because they look modern and fun and very stylish, I just wasn’t sure if it would suit me. But anyway, it was the top on the cover that made me buy the book (as usual), since I buy all my books online. It is a round shape, sewn up leaving two holes for the arms and one for the head. Looks easy!
The title of the book is called Katachi no fuku – where katachi 形 means shapes, and fuku means clothes. So I loosely translate it to Shapes you can wear! Sounds more fun isn’t it? Patterns include – tops/tunics/dresses/poncho/handbag/bags/skirts.
Let’s have a look at some of the more interesting pieces, and then to the book flip-through video.
The first one is similar to the one on the cover, and it is literally called 丸 (maru) which means round/circular/ball shape.
Doesn’t look that bad when worn as a tunic! I tink this is some kind of heavy wool so it looks extra cushy and comfy for winter.
The next (below) is a rectangular shape – hole in the middle for the head and sides sewn up leaving armholes.
Ok maybe the model makes everything look good, but I want to try this one too!
Here’s another shape. Using a square, you can make a poncho. The sleeves look a bit restrictive in the first picture, but it drapes rather nicely in the last picture.
and this is the one I made! There are two versions, the top one – P is a dress length, and the bottom Q is a top length. I like how the bottom corners drape. The cutting of this is still more in line with a traditional top, just that everything is cut out of one piece instead of having to join the sleeves. It was a very quick sew!
and I made this too! But I can’t show you this because it was made out of test fabric and I did not finish the raw edges, it seemed to wide for me though, so I will have to adjust the width a bit.
As for the size info – well, there is none. The book did mention it is suitable for sizes S-L though, but there is one size only – free size! However, seeing that it is made up of really simple shapes, it should be quite easy to scale the patterns?
In the how-to-make section, there is a couple of pages on sewing techniques, which you will use for all the projects.
A close up of the sewing diagram.
1 full size pattern sheet, double sided, is attached.
There are lots of other projects in the book so without further ado, here is the book flip through video!
Title : Katachi no fuku
Author : Asuka Hamada
ISBN : 9784579115174
Time for a long overdue book review! As I mentioned earlier, I was dealing with a big move the entire month of June. But guess what… that didn’t stop me from buying more books.
I had some cdJapan points expiring so you know, I felt compelled to shop and not let the points go to waste. I bought myself two ladies sewing books and an issue of Cotton Time. This book is by Tatsuya Kaigai design. I didn’t buy the last book which was published in 2016, but based on the book reviews it seems pretty good, so I gave it a try. I also thought that the dress on the cover was super cute and perfect for some nani IRO petit pocho cotton sateen from the Beau Yin Yang series (edited to add : I checked the book for the fabric source and it is indeed nani IRO fabric :P)
There sre 25 projects to be made in this book, but note that out of the 25 some are just blouse -> dress variations, or even color/material variations. There is also one fully detailed step by step lesson for blouse 4, plus a section on sewing techniques for reference.
Ok let’s take a look at some of my favourites in the book!
The first is a raglan sleeve with back ribbon tie. The sleeves are also flared. This comes in both blouse and dress lengths, although the dress length seems like just an extension of the length with a loose waist tie.
This blouse is a button down blouse with front ties and a peplum. The book suggests to use soft fabrics and I think the slightly puffed sleeves look really nice too!
I really like this dress even though it is really not something I would wear. It’s too ladylike for me ;P But the shawl collar is something I’ve never tried making/wearing before. There is another version of this dress but made in all black.
Ok this I really really like. And I think it’s something that I’ll even wear! It’s a french sleeve black dress. French sleeve means that the “sleeves” are actually extended from the bodice and not attached separately. The skirt is made with tucks instead of gathers for a neat look, the ended of with a large ribbon tie on the front.
A seemingly plain collared blouse from the front, but with a cute ribbon tie at the back. I’ve been seeing these back ribbon tie blouses from a couple of PDF pattern designers lately so I guess it must be trending?
Another of those oh this is so nice but I probably can’t pull it off dresses. Sigh…. I like the collar, the front pleats, the ribbon accents and the puff sleeves. But not so much the dress length. Maybe I could tweak this into a blouse? The fabric is really nice too, it’s from Liberty Japan (Sleeping Rose AE) This is a made in Japan print so note that the width is standard 110cm instead of the Liberty UK fabrics.
I have no use for coats. Singapore is perpetually hot. But this is so pretty! Shown paired with the dress on the cover, this is a collarless coat with two pockets and a gathered back.
There is a full step by step lesson for blouse 4 – which is a small collar blouse with a front ribbon tie.
This is the size chart for the sizes included.
A sample of the instructions
Close up of the diagrams
2 large actual size double sided pattern sheets included.
And here’s the book flip through
Title : 大人をきれいに見せる服
Translated title : Beautiful clothes for Ladies
Author : Tatsuya Kaigai 海外竜也
ISBN : 978-4529058018
It’s the time of the year again when the new collection for nani IRO fabrics ship. And this year there is another reason to be excited. After 10 years, she has finally released a new sewing pattern book! (You can read the review of the first book here. )
All the fabrics used in the book are from the new nani IRO 2018 collection. I will be going writing up on that once I get my hands on the fabric. And since we will be practically talking about nani IRO collection the whole month, I would like to declare this month of March 2018 – nani IRO month again!
I first came up with this idea back in March 2013 where I dedicated the entire month to nani IRO related posts, and oh my has it been 5 years already??? What will I be doing for nani IRO month? First of all, this book review, followed by a post on the new collection this year, and finally my very own makes!
In the meantime, let’s get inspired and hopefully this will help you decide which fabrics to get too! (If you haven’t ordered already)
This time round it’s for ladies only. Sizes S, M&L, L+ and 2L are included. It’s a little confusing, but I will explain later with the size chart at the end of the book review.
There are patterns for tops, pants, skirts, dresses, pantsuit, hats, coats and shirts. Well practically everything. It is the Sewing Closet book after all!
The projects are grouped based on difficulty of making – as indicated by the approximate number of hours you will need to make the garment.
A – Bias collar Tshirt
B – Bias collar Dress
C – Cocoon dress
D – Petticoat dress
E – Free Hat
F – Bias Collar Dress
G – Big Tuck Pocket Dress
H – Big Tuck Pocket dress with half sleeves
I – Tapered pants
J – Wide Pants
K – Tuck Silhouette Dress
L – Side pocket Long Skirt
M – All in one
N – Work Dress
Q – Spring Summer Staff Coat
R – Autumn Winter Staff Coat
O – Work Dress (3/4 sleeves)
P – Work Shirt
The outfits for each page are labelled below. Here is the Cocoon dress with the petticoat dress worn underneath. The main fabric on the dress is Camino in Double Gauze.
Big Tuck Pocket Dress in Grace (Linen)
Dress G in Ripple (Linen)
Dress K in Situation (cotton sateen)
M – All in One. This is basically like a pant suit. It is quite interesting and looks cool on the model. But I’m not so sure I can pull off the look myself 😛 The fabric is Situation (Linen)
Other than prints, there is a range of solid color fabrics under the new range – Naomi Ito Colors. You can find many different subtrates here – Linen Cotton, Cotton Sateen, Cotton Linen Herringbone, Linen, Cotton Linen Brushed Herringbone (something like the the wool used for men’s suits). The above skirt with side buttons, is made using the solid Linen color – French Red.
One of my favourite designs – Fuccra Rakuen is released in new colors and substrates this season. Seen here is the blue linen version, made into skirt L.
Work shirt in Camino linen.
Another one made using Situation linen – this is a lightweight coat for Spring/Summer.
Some pictures of the Atelier to nani IRO in Osaka. If you ever have the chance to visit and need directions, see my blog post here – Directions to Atelier to nani IRO
and now for the size chart. I’ll translate the important information below to help you decide which size is best for you.
Choosing the right size
* The attached pattern sheets are for the 4 sizes – S/M&L/L+/2L
* Some items may be grouped into 3 different sizes S/ M&L, L / 2L
or grouped into 2 sizes
– sizes S / M&L, L+, 2L
– S, M&L, L / 2L
Size table (units in cm)
Japanese Text in Left most column
Body part / Size
Confusing??? I was confused too… until I looked at the pattern sheets. Basically, first find out which size you belong to, first refer to the size table (above). You will notice there are overlaps in some of the measurements for some of the sizes. My guess is that it is done this way because most people don’t fall neatly into a particular size, so the table gives you a better idea if you should choose one size up or down based on all of your measurements.
The next thing to note is that, not all the pattern sheets come in the 4 sizes listed above in the table. Certain items have patterns that come in 2 sizes and some in 3 sizes – which means that some of the sizes are grouped into one pattern sheet.
For example, the first pattern A – bias neck T shirt, comes with 2 pattern sizes only. Sizes S, M&L and L+ make use of the smaller pattern, and size 2L uses the larger pattern.
The second example is more straightforward F- Bias neck dress – this comes in 4 separate sizes patterns, S / M&L / L+ / 2L.
The 3rd example is N – Work Dress. This comes in 3 sizes. S / M&L, L+ / 2L
The easiest way to tell is from the material list in the how-to-make pages. If there are 2 sets of numbers, there are 2 pattern sizes, and so on… The other way is to look at the sizes separated by the backslashes. I don’t know why it has to be so confusing… but that’s just the way it was written.
There are many more garments in the book that I could not post here, so have a look at the book flip-through video!
Title : Atelier to nani IRO’s Sewing Closet
Author : Naomi Ito
ISBN Number : 978-4579116270