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Book Review – Straight Line Sewing Dresses by Sato Watanabe

March 24, 2014

We had a one week school holiday last week, which meant very little time for any sewing or blogging. One thing I look forward to during the March school holidays, is the Kinokuniya book sale! Unfortunately I did not find many newly released books. Or maybe I have ruined my own “real-live” shopping experience by exploring too many yet to release books online. I only have myself to blame for that! 😛

In the end I only bought two books this time (amazing self-control isn’t it?). One is the English version of the Bunka Fashion Series Garment Design Textbook 1 – Fundamentals of Garment Design which I shall review later. The other book is this one – a straight line sewing book by Sato Watanabe. The same designer who created I Am Cute Dresses: 25 Simple Designs to Sew. She has two newly translated books that will be out soon over the next few months, I listed them on my Japanese books in English page and you can check them out if you like!

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Back to this book. This is not a new release, in fact, it was first released almost ten years ago in 2005, but the last print in 2010 was actually the 7th print run! Must be a good book to have been reprinted so many times! The book Let’s take a look.

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There are 26 designs in all, which includes some overlapping of designs but in varying lengths/sleeve options. There are no patterns included, instead, you have to follow the diagrams to construct the patterns. Easy to do since they are all straight line diagrams. What I like about this book is that some of the patterns don’t really look like they came from straight pieces of fabrics, the designs are also pretty wearable in today’s context, although the fabric choices needs some updating 😛 Just be warned though, the patterns only come in one size. The completed length and dimensions are provided, so that you can gauge if it will fit you or if you need to make adjustments to the given dimensions.

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Here’s an example of the how-to-do section. There are very brief text instructions and the steps are presented in detailed diagrams instead.

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A close up of the diagrams. Very little shortcuts or cross references here, so it’s pretty to easy to follow, not to mention easy to sew since it’s all straight lines!

Chokusen Nui-de Dadadatsu-to Tsukuru One-Piece Okiniiri-no Kiji-de, Natsu-mo, Fuyu-mo. " Funwari "-kara " Sukkiri "-made 26 Style / Watanabe Sato [Author] (Book)
Buy now from cdJapan

Title :  直線縫いでダダダッとつくるワンピース
Author :  渡部 サト (Watanabe Sato)
ISBN : 978-4-309-28019-6

Japanese Sewing Books Japanese Sewing Magazines New Releases

New Japanese Sewing Book Releases March 2014

March 10, 2014

It’s the first week of March and here are some new books and magazines that will be released this month. Spring is here!


Cute baby and small child clothes


Clothes for girls that I want to make


Lady Boutique Series 3735
Adult clothes that I want to wear more of.


Lady Boutique 2014 April

cucito Spring 2014

CUCITO Spring April 2014

Sewing pochee No. 17 Spring 2014
Dresses and Tunics (headline text)


Usual clothes, Pretty clothes

P.S. Please forgive my bad attempt at translating the titles. Sometimes the titles are meant to be poetic and it sounds so different in English when translated literally.  😛


Bags or Zakka Sewing Patterns Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Books

Book Review – Pouches of various shapes and sizes

February 24, 2014

I haven’t been buying many books lately, as most books during the winter season are devoted to knitting and crochet. So I turned my attention to sewing books for bags and purses. I kind of stopped looking for a while because I had too many books on bags already, then I spotted this book with a really cute cover! Look at all these metal frame purses!


The full title is いろんな形&サイズが作れる がま口がいっぱい which loosely translates to Making pouches of all shapes and sizes. There are 35 projects to be made in all, with 3 lessons covered in full with step by step photos. There are also basic technical lessons ranging from pattern tracing, tools, even embroidery stitching. I thought it would be really useful to have pictorial instructions because I have tried making one of these before but failed terribly. Well, at least in my opinion because my finishing was not perfect and there were dents in the metal frame (which was probably due to using the wrong tools). So I wanted to learn how to do it properly.

Here’s a look at the contents page.



For each design, there are a few variations, which totals up to 35 different purse designs in all.


The book starts off with the basic metal frame pouch, in two variations.


Followed immediately by a detailed lesson on making the basic pouch.


Close up of the photo instructions.


Full page view of the step by step instructions.

Now that you know how to make a basic metal frame purse, you can move on to make the following…


A mobile phone case (with darts at the base)


Card case, Lip balm/Lipstick case


Pencil case, Spectacles case


Gathered pouch


If you can find these large handbag metal frames, you can make this too! This is so pretty!  I actually saw many of these handbag frames being sold in Japan but as I’m not the type to carry dainty purses, I didn’t buy any. 😛


Plump purse (the title says that literally!)


Close up of the base of the “plump” purse.


There are some very interesting designs, like this box purse, where the clasps meet at the side and the purse is in a box shape. Perfect for storing earrings and rings.


Or make a larger one like this – Vanity purse


Long wallets/purses. This pattern includes a zipped coin compartment in the middle which also acts as a divider.


This purse is cute both inside and out! It uses a mother-daughter type of metal frame. I don’t know what this type of clasp is called in English, but the book says it’s a mother and daughter metal frame.


A more unique type of frame – the L-shape frame, where the clasps are located in the top corner instead of the middle.


Another interesting way of applying a simple metal clasp on a handbag.

Other than the 3 fully detailed lessons with step by step photos, the book includes basic technical knowledge lessons such as this one – tracing, cutting and marking the patterns. There are also lessons on embroidery, fabric treatment and even special tools that will help you create a better result when making a metal frame purse.


The how-to-make pages are located after the lessons, and they look like this.


Personally, I feel that the layout is a little cramped. See the close up below, the size/materals and pattern info are listed with the 4 lines of text, there are no steps written down in point form as everything is in diagrams. On some pages, they’ve even managed to squeeze two patterns in one page. But I guess this is because most of the projects are constructed in similar ways so there is no need to repeat some of the information.


1 sheet of actual size patterns attached.


and for those of you who are wondering where to buy the different metal frames, especially the really pretty ones with colored beads on the clasps, look no further! Website is in Japanese though.



Title : がま口がいっぱい いろんな形&サイズが作れる (Heart Warming Life Serires)
Publisher : Nihon Vogue
ISBN : 978-4529052344 

Japanese Sewing Books Japanese Sewing Magazines New Releases

New Releases – February 2014

February 13, 2014

From this month onwards, I will  be blogging once a month about new releases in Japanese Sewing Books. 🙂

The books I have listed are based on their release dates in February. Some of the new magazines due for release in March have already been listed on some online sites, I want to share them too but I have decided that I will leave them for the next month’s so that the content is more organized. Some of the books/magazines listed below have already been released and available for order, while some are due for release nearer the end of the month so you can only pre-order them.

Click on the images will bring you either to the publisher’s page, or Whenever it is possible I will link it to the page which gives you the most information about the book so that you can search for it from your favorite bookstore. Some publishers also provide sample preview pages so if it is available I will link to those pages so that you can see what is inside the book.

Happy Browsing!


Cotton Friend Spring 2014


Cotton Time March 2014 Edition


外国のおばあちゃんが作ってくれたみたいなバッグの本 おうちの小物やスカートも。
Bags,Small Goods, Skirts etc in Foreign Granny style 


誌上・パターン塾 Vol.1 トップ編
Pattern drafting for Tops with 22 bodice styles, 26 sleeve styles and 40 collar styles


新米ママもらくらく作れる かわいいベビーグッズ
Cute baby goods for new mummies to make


月居良子の かんたん、かわいい まっすぐソーイング かぶる、まく、はおる
Easy, cute, straight sewing by Tsukikyo Ryoko
(Tip : Click on the image above and you can see some screenshots inside the book by the publisher)


Pochhari Girl’s Sewing Book (L-5L sizes)


First time sewing

 More books and magazines coming your way in March! From next month onwards, I will post the new releases on the first week of the month. Stay tuned!

Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Books Ladies Sewing Patterns

Book Review – Easy Sewing for Beginners

January 20, 2014

Today’s book review is a wonderful find from my trip to Japan. The title is はじめてさんのソーイング. Which roughly translates to First timer’s sewing.


It’s actually a sewing book for beginners, and despite having sewn for many years, I still feel like a beginner sometimes. There are many techniques that I have not mastered. This book does not just cover the basics, but it guides you through projects in order of difficulty so that you can progress as you sew along. The best part is, there are lots and lots of step by step photos.


This book is published by NHK – a name more commonly associated with the TV station. NHK publishing is related to the TV station and in fact, they publish many books and magazines that are related to the content on their TV programs, but at the same time, they are also an established publisher for a wide range of books and magazines.


There are 18 projects included in this book, listed in order of difficulty and covers everything from the most basic straight stitch to even sewing with knits and other fabrics.


Sizes included in this book.


The first project is a simple tote bag, where you learn basic straight stitching, like how to start and end a stitch, sewing around corners, attaching a pocket etc.


Then you move on to something more complex. Projects #2 and #3 are both skirts, but while skirt #2 is a simple gathered skirt, skirt #3 is a more advanced wrap skirt with hidden pockets.  The steps are shown in very detailed photographs even for the simple projects. For example, skirt #2 itself has 8 pages of step by step photos, showing you the proper way to finish seams, sew a proper facing for the elastic band and even the proper insertion and securing of an elastic band.

The following projects are listed in order as shown in the book, and you can see how it gradually becomes more complicated. If you work your way through this book, you will become an accomplished seamstress at the end of it! 😛










A typical how-to-make page looks like this. I love how the color coded boxes helps to divide up the information and make it a lot easier to search for information. Colored diagrams help a lot too in identifying the orientation of the fabric.


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An example of a page with detailed photographs. There are only two projects without photographs but colored diagrams instead, probably because most of the techniques involved have already been covered in earlier projects.


Another page sample with detailed steps, this one shows you how to insert a side opening zip for a skirt.

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One large pattern sheet included.

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If you are interested in picking up garment sewing, this is really a good starting book. The projects are simple and most of the pieces are great for everyday wear, most of all, the step by step photographs make it really easy to understand, without needing much translation work.

Title : はじめてさんのソーイング
ISBN : 978-4-14-199173-1
Author : かわい きみ子
Publisher : NHK Publishing