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Book Review – It’s a Small World Felted Friends

May 31, 2017

Today’s book review is not about sewing, but of a different type of needlecraft. It is a really fun and stress relieving craft that also involves needles, but using wool instead of thread. Have you tried it before? It’s needle felting!


What is needle felting? Basically, you take some wool, and you jab at it with a needle till it combines together to form a solid wool block and while you jab at it, you shape it into the different shapes you need, then you combine them to form figures. Sounds easy?

My first encounter with needle felting was when my eldest bugged me to buy her a felting kit from Daiso before and I thought it will be cool to see how it was made, but before I got to it, she got exasperated with the fact that the wool wouldn’t stay together, broke a couple of needles and so I didn’t even get to try it. So when Tuttle sent me this book – It’s a Small World Felted Friends (and one more that I will review later). I jumped at the chance to actually learn from an expert.


Finally! Something that looks presentable! The rabbit on the left was made by me, and the donut on the right by my daughter. We didn’t follow the patterns in the book exactly because the only wool we could find was at Daiso and they were mostly in kits, which meant that the amount of wool for each color was quite limited. But we followed the techniques taught in the book and I must say that needle felting is extremely stress relieving! Until you jab your finger with the needle that is 😛

Back to the book, the theme of this book is Cute and Cuddly Needle Felted Figures from Around the World – there are so many cute figures in this book that my girls were gushing over them and happily ordering me to make them all. Here are some of my favourites!

Pandas are just so inexplicably cute! Something about the black and white combination on an animal looks so surreal. Have you seen them in action before? They are really cute in real life and these are even cuter because they are mini sized!iasw_netherlands

One of my earliest memories of my toys was a little doll wearing a Dutch costume, the only thing I remember about it is the little hat and the colorful dress. Looking at how the different wool colors were used in the dress, this looks like quite a complicated pattern but so pretty to look at! The little windmill on a base behind her is one of the detailed lessons in the book.

Another animal that is super duper cute. See the little joey peeking out from the mama kangaRoo? 🙂


Who can resist these beautiful, intricate Russian dolls? Look at the colors and details!


There are 3 detailed lessons in this book, with full step by step instructions. Most of the basic techniques are covered in these 3 lessons so you will be equipped with all the knowledge and skills you need to make all the cute figures in the book.

The lessons included are :

Castle on a Base (learning how to create a landscape on a base)
Making a Teddy Bear (learning how to attach body parts like limbs, eyes and ears etc)
Multi-purpose Dangle (how to attach thread/straps for handphone/bag charms etc)


Here is an example of the instructions.


It’s a small world after all!


More cuteness on the back cover, but you can see more here in the book flip through review. Enjoy!

 Buy now from Amazon (Affiliate link)

Title : It’s a Small World Felted Friends
Author : Sachiko Susa
ISBN No. : 9784805314364

 There is another book on needle felting – Adorable Felted Animals that was also published by Tuttle. I will post a book flip through plus some pictures from the book next week. Stay tuned!

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Book review – Kana’s Standard for Kids 2

May 6, 2017

I know many of you have been excited about this one. This book was recently released in March, and the cover was so inviting that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. And boy was I glad I did! I actually missed out on the first one that was published last year, because at that time I had too many new books. The reviews on the first KANA’S STANDARD for Kids on wasn’t fantastic despite the raves about the designs, because apparently there were problems with the pattern sheets. Let’s see if this book does better.

Disclaimer : This blog post contains affiliate links.

Many of you have asked me about books for boy sewing patterns. Sadly, other than a few old and maybe out of print books dedicated to boy sewing, I have not seen any new books with ONLY boy patterns. However, I do notice that there seems to be more variety in boys clothes nowadays in kids sewing books. This book for example, contains quite a fair bit of boys patterns.

This book has patterns for co-ordinates derived from 4 base patterns (2 tops and 2 bottoms), into a total of 25 possible garments including shirts, dresses, blouses, a whole bunch of different pants with different features, even skorts and salopettes. I initially thought there were 57 different garments, but I did a count and it was actually 25. The number 57 on the cover refers to the number of actual styling examples they provide in the book. Here’s a look at some of my favourites! You can see the rest of the book in the book flip-through review at the end of the post.


The first base pattern A is a shirt pattern. The variations include
A1 – Sleeveless shirt
A2 – Shirt dress
A3 – Puff sleeve shirt


A4 – Half sleeve shirt (above)


A5 – Frill sleeve combination (above)
A6 – White shirt (the formal type)
A7 – Gingham Checked Dress

Pattern A is basically your go-to pattern for all kind of shirts. From the formal white shirt to shirt dresses, sleeveless, sleeved, puffed sleeve, frills, round collar, pointed collar… you can probably do a mash up of any of these patterns to create your own unique outfit too!

Pattern B is a Tuck pants pattern, featuring tucks at the waist line, tapered pants, a waist band, fake fly and belt loops even.

B1 – Dotted print pants


B2 – Denim pants (above)


B3 – Corduroy Short Pants


B4 – Salopettes. Love the frills on the straps!


B5 – Belt loop half pants


Pattern C is a more casual top pattern, also named the Pullover. Easy to wear for kids who hate fussing with zips and a whole placket of buttons.

C1 – Henley Shirt


C2 – Smock Blouse
C3 – Henley half sleeve
C4 – Yoke dress
C5 – Blouse with pockets
C6 – Frill sleeve dress


C7 – Frill collar dress


Pattern D is another pants pattern, but this time it is a straight cut, which means wider legs and roomier bottoms
D1 – Check pattern half pants
D2 – Inner pants skirt
D3 – Cargo Half Pants
d4 – Chino pants
D5 – Salopettes (picture above)
D6 – Belted short pants


Styling ideas for the different patterns and variations.

Now for the how to make section.

There is a whole page of numbers and text before the actual how to make section.

The size guide was kind of hidden on this page. Check to see if this book contains the sizes you need.


Japanese terms from the top : Reference dimensions  100/110/120/130/140 Sizes)
Reference age … 3.5 yrs / 5.5 yrs / 6.5 yrs / 8.5 yrs / 10.5 yrs
For added reference : The boy model is 110cm and the girl is 111cm, and both are wearing 110cm size garments.


In the same page, there is also a reference “table” for all the dimensions of the finished garments.  You have to refer to the Pattern name and number and check the corresponding dimensions based on the size you are making. For the different patterns, there are different dimensions given. Some are bodice length, some are pants length, or waist dimensions. You may want to refer to the dictionary of Japanese sewing terms to decode all the terms listed.

I thought it was rather odd to place this info in one page instead of on the individual pattern pages, but it is just a minor inconvenience. The rest of the book is laid out as per usual.


Sample of how to make page. This is just page 1, there are more pages with detailed diagrams.


Close up of diagrams.


2 large double sided printed pattern sheets.


A quick note about the pattern sheets. There were a couple of reviews on that complained about the pattern sheets. I can understand why, as some of the lines are really drawn close together. It will be a nightmare to trace! However, you can use a frixion highlighter to highlight the lines before tracing. I use these pastel ones because I like how it is not too bright, but visible enough under the tracing paper.


Here’s the full book flip through review. 

Personally, I find this book a great resource for both boys and girls patterns. Lots of wearable patterns and daily wardrobe basics. However, it is not really meant for beginners. Despite the easy to read diagrams, most of the techniques (like shirt making) may be more advanced. The pullover top is probably the easiest of the lot, and it is also the pattern that the kids on the cover are wearing. All the pants in the book require the making of the fake fly. A nice touch for making easy to wear pants for kids look more grown up and less “home-made” if you know what I mean. I will still recommend this book though, especially if  you have both boys and girls to sew for. The designs are classic and stylish, and I think I will get to use it a lot!

Stylist Sato Kana Ga Tsukuru Otokonoko Ni Mo Onnanoko Ni Mo Kisetai Fuku / Sato Kana / Cho

Title : Kana’s Standard for kids II
Author : Kana Sato
ISBN No. : 9784579116003

Get yours today from

Check out her other books too!


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Book Review – Dresses and Coordinates Lesson

April 7, 2017

Today’s book review is about a book that was published in October last year. Not exactly new but I’ve been sitting on it for a while since I got distracted by other projects. I bought this book almost as soon as I saw it listed online. I just fell in love with the title and the dress on the home page!

I hope I got the title right though, because of the way the hiragana is written. Google translate gives me two different answers for the first line – “Clothes to wear or Clothes that make you lose weight!”. I think the second option is more likely, since it ends with an exclamation mark, and the sizes included in the book are from S all the way to 3L. So I shall assume that the patterns are designed to help us look slim.

I’m sorry about the yellowish color in the photos. I tried my best to adjust the color without affecting the original garment photos too much, but as I could only take the photos at night and the lighting was really bad, this will have to do for now. I need to find a way to take photos in the day without my 2 yr old trampling over my books 🙁


A quick glance at the contents shows that there are 4 basic patterns for dresses/tops. Using this 4 basic patterns, there are at least 4 variations per pattern.

There is also a Gaucho pants pattern E which is shown on some of the pages.

Let’s look at pattern A for example to see what kind of variations there are for each basic pattern.


A1 is a basic dolman sleeve dress. Simple, classy, dress-up or dress down, anytime dress don’t you think?


A2 is a tunic length, V-shape neckline, and it suddenly looks like a totally different outfit but it is actually made from the same basic pattern as A.


A3 is a blouse with frill sleeves.


A7 looks even more different from A1 with cap sleeves and an additional waist sash.


Each pattern starts with a basic description with the design points. Garment B’s special design feature is the pleat at the shoulder seam.


B3 is B transformed to a dress with a waist belt, with long sleeves and contrast piping detail along the cuffs and belt.


C is a waist yoke dress in color block dress


D2 is a sleeveless dress with slanted darts.


Use the same pattern for a Gilet (a light sleeveless padded jacket)


Wait, is it the same pattern? Yup, same pattern transformed into a bolero style jacket.


There is a whole section devoted to coordinating the garments for different looks.


There are 2 detailed lessons for A-1 Dolman sleeve dress and B-1  Shoulder tuck blouse.

The sizing table is as follows :


The above is based on your body measurements and not completed garment size.


An example of a typical how-to-make page. Note that there is an extra table on the top right hand corner. This is for the completed garment dimensions.


2 sheets of double sided printed patterns.


and here’s the book flip through video.

Kiyasesuru! One-piece & Coordinate Lesson Blouse, Ghilet, Cordigan ni Tenkai Dekiru Maho no Pattern / Mayuko Izumi

Buy yours now at cdJapan (affiliate link)

Title : Clothes that make you look slim! Dresses & Coordinates Lesson
Author : Izumi Koko
ISBN : 978-4579115853

Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Books in English

Book Review – 501 Enchanting Embroidery Designs

February 24, 2017

Today I am going to review another Japanese Sewing Book that has been translated to English. And this time round, it’s not a machine sewing book but a hand sewing one. I’ve had a number of queries about embroidery books so this one is for those of you who have asked me about them! There are lots of embroidery design books out there of course, but this one was recently published by Tuttle and was released last year. When I received it from Tuttle I couldn’t stop drooling over all the cuteness! But I didn’t have time to do any book reviews till now and I kind of forgot about it till my daughter who started doing Home Economics this year, needed to do some embroidery as a class assignment. This was a great reference for her!

The book is called 501 Enchanting Embroidery Designs, which basically tells you how many stitch designs and inspirations you will get out of this book. This book does not only include embroidery, but also some cross stitch patterns, as well as some ideas + instructions on how to apply these embroidery/cross stitch patterns on your everyday objects. If you have never embroidered before, no worries, for there are detailed instructions of what you need + all the techniques and stitches you need to know for the patterns in the book.



A quick glance of the contents page. You can see that there are many project ideas plus instructional pages. So even if the designs may look complicated or daunting to you, it is suitable for beginners as well.

Here are some of my favourite designs.


There is a whole section devoted to Little Scandinavian Sketches, I love the whimsical deers and owls in this one. If you need to make your own DIY Christmas presents, this will be perfect for embellishing a Christmas gift!


Cute coffee cups, great for embroidering on kitchen towels, napkins. A coffee lover will love this.


This series of musicians sketches is just too cute not to share. Great for a music lesson bag. Or an instrument cover.


These Japanese Celebrations themed designs are also adorable. They are divided into the four seasons, and on this page you can see the Spring and Summer related embroidery designs. I just love the fireworks pattern! The color combination and the tiny fine stitches.


These are the lace patterns mentioned in the Contents page. But of course it is really just embroidery. If you have a dark fabric you need to embellish, it will be hard to make a color design stand out. But just change it to all white/off white thread and the results are stunning. These will be great for making your own monogram handkerchiefs / napkins or embellishing a border with a lace design. A lot of work yes, but isn’t it beautiful?


There are also some cross stitch patterns, including the entire alphabet which will be great for your child to start learning how to cross stitch and maybe sew a sampler like the children of the olden days 😛 I remember poring through my Mum’s Ondori Cross stitch books looking for new patterns to make. I still have one of my cross stitch works in my store room and I have to thank her Japanese sewing books collection for getting me started on cross stitch and sewing!


Some of the sample projects in the book of how you can apply embroidery designs to everyday objects.


Little cross stitch gift ideas. The covered buttons are so cheery, imagine a series of them, all in different designs, on the same dress or blouse. Such a great idea!


For beginners, there are detailed instructions and list of equipment you need to get started. 

Here’s a close up sample of the instructions for the sewing projects.


You may notice that I have included less photos of the book this time round, that’s because I’m going to incorporate book flip-through reviews for every book review from now on.  You can also subscribe to my Channel on Youtube to keep updated of any new videos. Happy browsing!

To buy a copy of this book, you can click on the link below which leads to (affiliate link)


Bags or Zakka Sewing Patterns Book Reviews Giveaways Japanese Sewing Books in English

Book Review and Giveaway – Patchwork Quilted Bags

August 6, 2016

Today’s book review is a yet to be released title named Patchwork Quilted Bags, and this is your favourite part – it’s in English! The author/designer is Reiko Washizawa, 鷲沢玲子, a famous and well-published Quilt designer in Japan. She has been quilting for 40 years and has published many Japanese quilting books. This book is not about making patchwork quilts though, it is a book dedicated to incorporating your patchwork creations into everyday bags. This will be a great way to bring your creative showpieces around with you since it is quite impossible to bring your quilts wherever you go.

Honestly I have never made a proper full size quilt, but I have been hoarding a whole box of handmade dresses that my girls have outgrown and planning to make a keepsake quilt out of the dresses, so I have been reading up on hand piecing and it seems kind of daunting, especially when it comes to creating a full size quilt. This book came just in time and gave me some new ideas on smaller projects I can start with, and furthermore, it combines the patchwork quilting with my love for making bags!

Let’s have a look at this book shall we? Before we jump to the details of the giveaway 🙂


There are 19 projects to be made in this book and they are divided into 5 chapters. There are also additional sections in between the chapters that teach you all the basics you need to know about patchwork making. From materials, to drafting of basic quilt patterns, and even a little showcase of the author’s quilt-making story.




Before the first chapter begins, there is an introduction tutorial on how to draft the different shapes you will need in the book. This is the basis of the book, you will need to know how to draw the different shapes and how they are pieced together before you can apply them to your bags.

Now, we are ready to make some bags!

The first Chapter : Basic Bags


The first project is the beautiful pieced Little Bird Bag that you see on the front cover. I was surprised that this bag was called a basic bag because it certainly looked complicated to me! Upon closer scrutiny, it turned out that the birds were actually part of the fabric print and were quilted on to the batting. The patchwork portion is only the strip in the middle, which is made up of hexagonal pieces.


There are detailed instructions for every step, not just the making of the patchwork, but also to show you how to assemble the bag.

The second Chapter is about Out & About Bags


There are beautifully embellished bags for a night out,


Casual basic square patchwork bags for running a quick errand,


cute bowl shaped bags, perfect for carrying knitting supplies I say!

 Chapter 3 : Shopping bags


Roomy bags with lots of space for shopping and marketing. Note the beautiful pattern which is called a Lemon Star Patchwork. Looks challenging to me!

 Chapter 4 : for Moms and Little Ones


Mother’s bag and Baby Bottle Case


Lesson Bags for kids

 The last chapter : Cute Little Pouches
Creative patchwork designs and small scale projects that are suitable for beginners like me!


Sewing Case and Scissors Case


Strawberry Pouches


Mini Yo-yo Pouch. These pouches are made out of lots of tiny yo-yos. Amazingly cute and I love the color explosion!


Union Jack pouches. Fashioned after the Union Jack using Liberty fabrics for the stripes. How apt!


 Sample of detailed instructions for each project.

 There are also two large pattern sheets attached for all the appliqués and templates you will need to make the projects in this book.

Thanks to Tuttle Publishing, I was provided a free PDF book preview for this book review, and they are also,  giving away one copy of this book to one of you lucky readers! Win a copy of it before it is even released! Contest is open worldwide and will run for a week. Enter now!

To enter the giveaway, please fill in the form below. Contest ends 12th August 2016. Extra chances for those who share this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Good Luck!

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