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
At long last, a book that I have been wanting to review ever since I received it in the mail. This is by far the most comprehensive Japanese sewing book for Menswear that I have seen. The book is titled Toshio Kaneko’s Men’s Clothes.
This is Toshio Kaneko’s second pattern book. The first – All Season’s Men’s Clothes, was also favourably reviewed on Amazon. The previous book included more daily wear, with a couple of variations on shirts, t-shirts, pants and even home wear. This book is more like a Essential wardrobe for Men’s kind of book. From outerwear to shirts to pants to accessories! You really have to watch the Book flip through video (below) to see what I mean.
The sewing patterns included are for sizes S,M,L,LL and 3L. There are 21 projects in all, with 4 detailed step by step lessons in full color photographs.
I can’t quite decide which ones to show you because there are so many but I want to highlight the details of certain garments, just to show you what high quality patterns these are. Details which can’t really be seen in the book flip through video. I will also translate the contents page as I go along so that you have an idea of what’s included.
The projects are grouped by Tops / Bottoms / Outerwear / Accessories
A. Cleric Shirt
B. Button down shirt
C. Military shirt
D. Denim shirt
E. Outdoor shirt
F. Boatneck Cut and sew (Cut and sew in Japanese terms usually refers to tshirts/easy garments made of knitwear)
G. Polo shirt
+ Point Lesson – 4 detailed pages with full color photographs on how to make the A. Cleric shirt
A. Cleric shirt
Only found on tailored shirts – Gussets for reinforcing side seams.
There is a Point Lesson for the Cleric Shirt – this is called the point lesson because they only show certain “points” in full detail, and these are usually the ones related to the detailed shirt finishings, for example the sleeve placket, the collar, attaching the sleeves, as well as the side seam gussets. The easier steps like sewing shoulder seams, attaching pockets etc, are detailed in the how-to-make page and not shown here.
C. Military shirt
D. Denim shirt
F. Boat neck Cut and Sew
G. Polo shirt
The next section is for
H. Dress Pants
I. Chino pants
K. Sweat pants
+ Detailed lesson for Dress Pants
Yup, you read it right. Jeans. Honestly, I have no idea this is possible, making your own jeans that is. I glanced at the 2 page full of instructions and wonder if I will ever be brave enough to attempt it. I don’t think so, but for those of you who have ever been ambitious enough to make all of your own clothes, you might want to give this pattern a try. Look at the detailed finishing in the inside seams.
But the one pieces I wanted to highlight the most, is the dress pants. My DH has always lamented that it’s so hard to find a good tailor. Recently he asked me if it was possible to widen the waist of his tailor made pants. I’ve always thought of this as a tailor only project but can you believe it there are 8 pages of full color photos instructions for this project. At least 9 photos on each page. Again, not for the faint hearted, but if you have always wanted to try it, I can say the instructions are excellent, although I must admit that you will need some translation help because there are so many parts to it. 14 pattern pieces to be exact!
If you have ever flipped a pair of tailored pants inside out, yup it pretty much looks like this.
If you are impressed by what this book contains so far, you haven’t seen nothing yet.
The third section covers Outerwear
L. Wool Jacket
M. Denim Jacket
N. Knit Jacket
O. Duffle Coat
P. MA-1 Type Blouson (also known as a bomber/flight jacket)
Q. Stand collar Coat
+Lesson – Wool Jacket
This is the wool coat on the front cover. No I didn’t steal those photos from some tailor’s website. These are from the book and yes this is what you will be making! A proper wool coat.
There were only 8 pages of instructions for the dress pant. This wool coat has 16 pages of full detailed instructions! 21 pattern pieces to trace and cut and transfer. Impressive!
Other than formal looking coats, there is also this
MA-1 bomber/flight jacket – apparently the sage green color and orange lining is the standard color. Look at the details – sleeve pocket and lining.
I like this too, duffle coats never go out of style and always look so cozy for winter.
A more regular looking Stand collar coat. Something that looks more suited for mild winters and business trips!
The last section is for Accessories
S. Tote Bag
T. Work Apron
U. Knit Trunks
Lesson – necktie
The last section is probably the easiest and if you have completed something in the earlier sections, you can probably sew these with your eyes clothes. Having said that, this might be the section I feel more confident in starting out with 😛
There is a detailed lesson for the necktie too (forgot to take a picture but you can see it in the book flip through below). Great for handmade gifts especially if you use a luxe fabric like Liberty (as seen in 2 of the 3 neckties above)
An important aspect to tailored men’s clothes, you do need to ensure good fit, but as most of us don’t fit neatly into a particular size for dimensions, it is important to know how to adjust parts of the pattern for your own measurements. For example, it could be that the sleeves are too short although the rest of the shirt/coat fits well. The above shows you an example of where you should make the extension to the sleeve pattern. The book devotes a couple of pages showing you how to make size adjustments for chest, body width, length, sleeve length , length and width for pants.
This is the size chart for the patterns in the book. The Japanese terms on the leftmost column are :
Size / Height (from the midline) / Bust / Wasit / Hip / Shoulder width (from shoulder tip to shoulder tip)
There are diagrams in the book to show you how to take these measurements properly.
The above is an example of a typical how-to-make page.
A close up detail of one of the diagrams.
This book comes with 3 full size, double printed pattern sheets which makes it a total of 6 pattern sheets in all. No wonder, since there are so many parts for each garment.
Here’s the book flip-through video of the entire book. You will notice more gems in there!
I bought this book knowing that some of these patterns may never be used, not because they are not good but because they really look too complicated for my level of sewing. However, I bought it as a reference because I have always been fascinated by the great workmanship that goes into a proper Men’s coat or dress pants. In particular how the lining is added on so that you can’t see the stitches (hand sewing is involved I think). I believe that this may help me unravel the mystery of how to make adjustments to my DH’s tailored pants (if I ever get the guts to do it). There are some easier patterns that I will start with though, probably the button down shirt which is more casual and looks easier for a first project. So there are quite a number of easier patterns and I hope to work my way up to finally being able to make a proper shirt.
Title : Pattern Maker : Toshio Kaneko’s Men’s Clothes
Author : Toshio Kaneko
Publisher : Nihon-Vogue
ISBN : 9784529056397
The 3rd book in line for book review was this – Kana’s Standard by Kana Sato. This book was first published in 2015 February. That was when I was preoccupied with my new baby and was too exhausted to think about any sewing, much less buying new books 🙂 But this book kept popping up on Instagram, and the clothes look so comfortable and stylish that I knew I had to get a copy of my own. Since then the author has published a second book Kana’s Standard II plus 2 kids books (I have reviewed one here before), and I’m only getting acquainted with her first! No worries, second book has been ordered and on the way!
Let’s take a look at the contents of this book. There are 24 different projects for co-ordinates that you can mix and match, actual styling examples for your reference. The number “70” on the cover refers to the number of styles example shown in the book.
This book is for ladies sizes 7,9,11,13. These are Japanese sizes of course. The most confusing thing about this book was the lack of a real size chart. I think those of you who have bought this book may have wondered about it. I will be translating the size info page further down the review, so I hope that will help! But first things first, lets look at the pretty clothes!
The projects are grouped by
A- Tops and one-piece
B – Pants
C – Skirt
D – Camisole
E – Gown
The first top is the one on the front cover. It’s really quite a standard pullover top design, but the frills detail on the sleeve elevated the simple top into a whole new level doesn’t it?
An extension of the same top into a dress length, minus the frills and added hidden pockets.
A different take on the sleeves.
A different fabric, with an added sash and sleeve variation.
At the end of each section, there is a styling guide that gives you inspiration for how to co-ordinate these pieces for everyday life.
Section B is all about Pants.
These were simply called “White Pants” in the book. Baggy casual style with no fasteners/zips.
Wool pants in 3/4 length.
Cute suspender pants!
Part C is for Skirts
Taffeta Mini Skirt.
Reversible Skirt – 1 skirt, 2 ways, there are
Part D – Camisole
There are two camisole patterns. A longer dress version and a short top version – both are great for layering.
The last section is for outerwear, or Gowns.
This is a gown made using double gauze. I don’t think it will really keep you warm but it’s great for layering on cooler days. I love the casual unstructured look of double gauze too, plus it is so soft and cozy to be in.
For even cooler days, make one out of wool.
Now for some important information. I was looking high and low for the size chart and couldn’t find it. Then I realized that the information was written out on the intro page of the how-to-make section. There are different points to note for each different section which I suppose is the reason why there is no standard size chart. However, the book follows the standard Japanese sizes 7,9,11 and 13.
To help you in deciding the correct size to make, I will roughly translate the above information. Note that the translation is not word for word but also includes my own explanations in italics which hopefully will make it clearer.
A – Tops and Dresses –
The patterns are free size in a relaxed style. The necklines are larger than head measurements so they can be worn as it is. You can adjust the length of the dresses to your liking. Take note to adjust the belt and ribbon lengths as well.
B – Pants
The patterns are available in 4 standard sizes 7,9,11 and 13. Refer to the finished dimensions on each project, there are two dimensions listed for finished dimension 出来上り寸法 . The first is waist ウエスト. The second is ウエスト(最大） which means the waist measurement at its largest/ when the pants are stretched (since these pants have no zips and are elasticized). If your own hip measurement is larger this stretched waist measurement, then you won’t be able to pull the pants over your hip. So it is recommended to choose the size based on the hip size rather than waist size.
C – Skirt
Only the front belt comes in 4 sizes (7,9,11,13) (this is only for skirts with a flat front waistband and elastic waistband only for the back). For the rest of the skirts that have full elastic waistband, the patterns to be cut are the same, but the length of elastic to use is different. Similar to the pants, remember to select the size based on hip size rather than waist size.
D – Camisole
This is a free size pattern. The finished bust circumference is about 97cm. If your actual bust is larger than that, you can widen it from the centre fold line for both front and back patterns. If it is smaller, you can narrow the pattern by cutting the pattern from the centre fold line as well.
E – Gown
There is only one size for the front and back pieces. But there are 2 sizes for the sleeves – 9 and 13.
My (not me! but the pattern designer who is also the model in the book) height is 165cm, and usually wear a size 9. The shown pieces are made using size 9 patterns.
Also take note that the cutting diagrams are based on size 9 patterns. If you are making larger sizes or prints that need to be matched, you may need to use more fabric than recommended. So please double check before buying your fabric.
Sample of the how-to-make page.
Close up of instructions.
2 full size double sided pattern sheets.
last but not least, here’s the book flip through video
Title : Kana’s Standard
Author : Kana Sato
ISBN No: 9784579115136
BUYING OPTIONS (aff links)
This book is also available on Amazon marketplace. Click on the link to find your buying options.
I had a list of book reviews lined up, but this new release (just last week!) from my favourite pattern designer Yukari Nakano of Couturier Sewing Class, just needed to be reviewed first. So those of you who were waiting for the rest of the books please be patient with me. I will get back to the list soon.
This is technically the 4th book by Yukari Nakano, and it is titled A little Journey. Why do I call it book 3 in my review? It’s because the last book is more of a sewing lesson for beginners type of book, while the other 3 books have the same cover and look like it’s part of a series. Well, anyway I named it Couturier sewing class book 3 simply because it is easier to Google for it, since my English translation of the title may not be accurate. 😛
The clothes in this book are designed around the theme of “going out”, whether it is just a simple lunch with friends, or a trip to the museum, the clothes are designed to take you to places. With the combination of simple designs and a focus on using quality materials, the designs will look elegant and sophisticated. What I love most is how quickly and simply most of them could be made, and yet it looks so elegant. Enough said, I know many of you want to dive into the book. Here goes!
There are 28 projects to be made from this book. Including tops, dresses, skirts, pants, outerwear,even an apron and a bag. There are patterns for both knits and wovens too.
It won’t be possible to show all 28 pieces here, so I’ll just show you a few of my favourite ones that have gone straight to my to-do list. Don’t worry, you can browse through the book flip through video at the end of the review.
The first is a stand collar blouse. This blouse is not only pretty but also very easy to make. There is no button/zip required as the opening in the front allows the blouse to be pulled over the neck.
So this top is to be blamed for this review being one day later than it should have been. I was uploading the video and photos and just felt the itch to stitch. It looked so easy and quick to make so I decided to just do it. Only two pieces of patterns required, and I even managed to do it with my 2yr old trying to run over my drafting paper, transferred it to fabric (did you know her patterns include the seam allowance already so that cut down some time too!), cut it out and in between cooking, I sewed it up!
This is another variation of the same blouse, – which by the way is called the Slit Pullover. The name comes from the fact that the armholes are actually like slits in the drop shoulder seam.
This is another garment I would like to make another day. The 2 way V neck tunic. I have made 2 of her V-neck pullover blouses before and they are currently staples in my wardrobe. They are so quick and fast to make and the neckline is flattering as well. But my favourite detail for this tunic is in the button up sleeves.
This is the back view for the High Neck Ribbon Blouse – which is also the blouse on the cover of the book. Love the neck line, the flared sleeves and the ribbon detail.
Another on my itch to stitch list, and I think this might be next to be made. The Raglan sleeve pullover. I am currently watching Tokyo Tarareba Musume (a Japanese drama) and just so happens the the female lead was wearing a top with this type of neckline! This looks quite similar to the top on the cover of her previous book but on closer inspection it is a different design altogether. In this case the sleeves are separate pieces and quite similar to the construction of a raglan tee, but with a high neckline.
A simple white peplum blouse with a semi exposed metal zip on the back. So simple and elegant. The fabric looks like a jacquard print but I can’t be sure because it just says “cotton” in the instructions. There is a full sewing lesson with step by step photos for this particular blouse.
A Peplum Jacket, makes a casual outfit dressier, yet not too formal looking.
I love coats, I wish I could make them but there’s no where I can wear them to in hot and sunny Singapore. I’ll just have to drool at them. This coat is simply called the Gown Coat. I see a lot of them being worn nowadays in Japanese/Korean dramas as well. So it must be the trend! I just think it looks so lush and cozy!
Ok, now for the technicalities as usual. The above is the size chart for this book. Patterns for sizes S-LL.
The Japanese terms on the left column are Heigh / Bust / Waist / Hip respectively.
There are 2 detailed sewing lessons, plus a few extra bonus pages of sewing tips (with pictures). The detailed sewing lessons are for the white Peplum blouse as well as the Slit pullover.
Just a close up of the photo instructions in the sewing lesson.
Sorry for the blur photo. My son was trying to push me away from the table while I was finishing up, so yup, hand-shake. But this photo was just to show you the standard how-to-make looks like for the rest of the projects that do not have the sewing lesson.
2 full size, double sided pattern sheets. Do note that for her patterns, seam allowances are included already!
I know you haven’t seen enough of the book, so here is the full book flip through review.