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Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Books Ladies Sewing Patterns

Book Review – She has a mannish style

November 18, 2013

Recent find at the Kinokuniya Sale during the first week of November. I have not seen this book before but it’s actually not a new title. In fact it was released 3 years ago! Published in November 2010 by Bunka. The book is called 気分はマニッシュ by 高田祐子 (Yuko Takada) who is a graduate of Fashion studies from Bunka Fashion College. She is also the designer of a brand called TAGE and you can see more of her works here.

Thankfully, the title was interpreted by either the author or the publisher. The translated meaning of the words actually mean Mannish Mood, or in better grammar – A Mood that is Mannish. But the title given is She has a mannish style. I guess what it is really trying to say is Clothes for women with a masculine style? Whatever the title is, the book is not your usual floaty dreamy dresses. In fact I find that these are more wearable on a day to day basis. The pieces all have a designer touch. Everyone will be asking you where you bought your clothes.

There are 20 projects listed but some of them are actually the same pattern but made in a different fabric/styling variation. Let’s have a look!

I had some difficulty taking photos of this book.The challenge was from the fact that the pictures were mostly dark-themed and even the clothes are dark, so you can’t really see the details till you get to the how-to-make page where they show you the outline diagram of the garment. But you can still get the gist of how cool the clothes are from the photos.

Oval Coat – with a rounded collar, Puffed sleeves that are gathered at the elbow and extended as a long knit tube down to the wrist. It’s hard to describe it really. It might be easier to take a look at the diagram. From the photograph it looked as if the light gray sleeves was actually a separate long sleeve top below the coat, but it turns out that it IS part of the coat.

Now you have an idea of how the photos might be deceiving, we will move on and look at the other garments.

 A Jumper skirt in wool jersey (ウールジャージー)

 The dress has a baggy top with a tight fitting mini skirt attached. The model is shown wearing it over what could be a turtle neck + leggings. There are actually more details to the dress near the neckline but it’s all black so it’s hard to see!

Velour blouse. This blouse is made of Velour Lace (ベロアレースand Crushed Velour(クラッシュベロア

Fleece Jacket with knit fabric lining.

 Sarrouel Trousers (fabric used : Cotton+linen+wool blend)

 Square Cut & Sewn blouse. This is a very interesting blouse. In fact when you see the how-to-make section you might wonder how it is actually worn! The entire blouse is like a very wide rectangular tube with two holes on the side seams for your arms to stick out of. The top is lined with buttons on the front neckline, and buttonholes on the back neckline. Button as many buttons you want on the sides to adjust the neck opening size.

 Drape mini dress. This reminds me of one of the Drape Drape dresses but it looks a lot easier to make, at least from what I can see in the pattern cutting layout diagram.

 Here’s something that will add a designer touch to a plain outfit. 3 different variations of a Tippet.

Dots blouse. It is quite a standard blouse pattern but I think it’s a brilliant idea to use 2 different color fabrics from the same series to make the left and right sides of the shirt!

 This is a pattern that is used twice, for No 14 and 19. No.14 was in black, and it was impossible to see the details. Here it is made in a light khaki stretch corduroy, with a tie ribbon belt (removable). This pair of culottes include side pockets and a zip fly. There is a series of diagrams showing you how to sew that but I can’t quite figure it out. I have never attempted to make one because it looks too confusing.

 The last pattern in the book is a belt stole. Now here’s a stole/scarf that will never slip off your shoulders. It is literally attached to the belt and the belt is pinned down with a huge industrial looking safety pin. Hmm… ok it might be a stylist’s accessory but the pattern itself did not include instructions for buttons or buttonholes of any kind. So I presume it is entirely up to your creativity how you want to secure the belt.

 Size chart. Left column indicates Body measurements in the following order : Height / Bust / Waist / Hip

There are 6 pages of additional sewing tips/instructions made up of text+black and white photographs. While some photographs are quite self explanatory, I find that the majority of the photos still rely on some explanation from the accompanying text, so it may not be so useful to you if you are not able to read Japanese.

 An example of the typical How-to-make page.

There are diagrams included to illustrate the order of make, so you can just refer to the diagrams. Like all other books, there will be cross references from one project to another if there are similar steps involved.

 2 sheets of actual size pattern papers included.

Title : 気分はマニッシュ She has a mannish style
Author : 高田祐子 (Yuko Takada)
ISBN : 978-4-579-11325-5
Publisher :  Bunka

Kibun-ha Manisshu she has a mannish style. / Takada Yuko
Buy now from cdjapan

It was such a coincidence that I was going to review this book this week, because I just received an email with a translation request for the Velour blouse from this book! I will be posting it up later this week or next but I will link it up from this post again.

Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Magazines Ladies Sewing Patterns

Book Review – Sewing Pochee Autumn 2013 Vol 16

November 6, 2013

Sewing Pochee is published 4 times a year according to the seasons, and it includes lots of sponsored specials and special features that are more often found in magazines than books. The projects range from garments to accessories and ornaments, quite similar to Cotton friend. Yet I think it qualifies as a book because it has a ISBN number unlike the regular magazines. Never mind the technicalities, it is still one of my favorite sewing books from Nihon-vogue’s – Sewing Pochee 2013 Autumn Vol. 16.

Why do I like this book? Because they will always feature a combination of works from the “famous” sewing bloggers/crafters/authors who have published books under the Nihon vogue range. In this issue you can find the works of Nanotone, 荒木由纪, May me, a sunny spot and more!

There is also a free 25x25cm free fabric sample from a new fabric collection + ideas and patterns on how to use the fabric.

 I’m not sure if the fabric is enough for making these room shoes but the patterns are included and you can use your own pretty fabric to make these cozy room shoes.

Now let’s step right in and have a look at the garments and projects included in this issue.

 The headline of this issue. – Using one pattern to make mix-and-match clothes. I’m trying to translate the headline but it basically means you can make multiple variations using one pattern.

Round collar dress/blouse, which can be worn front or back, as a dress or a coat.

Blouse with soft gathers.

 Linen Gilet (Gilet – french for a sleeveless jacket resembling waistcoat/blouse according to Wikipedia).

 Belt detail as seen from the back.

 Some of the projects (especially the sponsored features) come with step by step photographs. These are found within the main section of the magazine in between the projects.

 Close up of the steps.

Loose Silhouette Cropped Pants

Some cold weather patterns

 Balloon poncho

 This issue’s Bernina special features the Bernina B580 (drools) and includes a pattern for making this poncho out of thick fleece fabric.

Complete with step by step instructions which I guess its supposed to show us how well it sews on thick fabric. I will have to take their word for it since we don’t even have a proper showroom here for Bernina with the full range of machines for testing out.  I will love to do a review on the machine 😛 (ok I’m just trying my luck here) Check out the pricing below for the B580!  484,500 yen is about USD4931. How does that compare to the Bernina prices where you are?

 I notice Men’s patterns have been showing up in recent magazines. And not just the usual t-shirt/shirt patterns.

 I like this hoodie with the interesting collar detail and front pockets

 Back view of hoodie, and the pattern for the bag is included too!

Padded vest. Very college boy look? The only problem with these patterns are, they only come in M size!

Those of you who follow me on instagram may have heard me wondering aloud yesterday morning. There is a special feature by Arai Yuki 荒木由纪 in this issue where they provide the adult pattern version of two of the projects in the girls sewing pattern book -きちんと可愛い女の子服. This book was released in May this year and contains 21 patterns for 100-140cm and 9 patterns for 150,160cm. Just the thing for pre-teens and teenage girls. I had this book for quite a while and somehow I thought I had already posted a review but while searching for the book review to link it up to, I just could not find it anywhere! I will review it next week.

 If you can’t wait, here’s a little thumbnail preview of the kids version of the same cardigan. I think it looks more stylish on the girl than on the lady. Perhaps its the baggy pants she’s wearing that’s throwing me off ;P

I received a few questions about the possibility of making balloon dresses in adult sizes. Guess what? You can get the adult version right here in Sewing Pochee!

For those of you who have kids, there are a number of Mama+kid matching sets for you to make.

For example, this Liberty fabric special with a pattern by blogger/author of “a sunny spot” 村田繭子

Suitable for both boys and girls – Parka coat and Jacket.

 Linen dress for Mama+girl

This pattern is for the knit pants (not the shirt). Relax straight pants for mama, sarouel pants for kids.

Dolman pullover

 Other than garments, there are also accessories, such as this bag with embellished by Liberty fabric.

A little wire frame purse and felt mascots.

 Handmade bracelets using leftover fabric.

Some cute ornaments to make. You can hang them on your christmas tree!

Make coasters out of fabric scraps.

Other than sewing projects, there are also some special sections like this one.

 Peep into the sewing rooms of popular craft authors and see how to store their sewing supplies!

 Here’s a peep at one of the sewing rooms. I spot a Juki and a brother sewing machine. If only I had space for a sewing room. Projects will move so much faster. 🙂

Now for some technical information.

Here are the adult and kids size charts. For the adult (ladies) size chart on top, the values on the left column are – (Bust / Waist / Hip/ Height). They used 160cm height for all the sizes, so just adjust the length if you are below or above 160cm.
For the kids the values on the left column are – (Height / Bust / Waist / Hip).

With the exception of the sponsored specials, special features which include very detailed step by step photographs, the rest of the projects have their “how-to-make” included at the back. A typical how-to-make page looks like this.

 There are no written steps, but you have to follow the order of make in the diagram and each step is shown in a diagram form.

A close up of the diagrams.

2 large sheets of patterns included.

 Title : Sewing Pochee Autumn 2013 Vol 16
ISBN : 978-4-529-05251-1
Publisher : Nihon-Vogue

Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Magazines Ladies Sewing Patterns

Magazine Review – Female Autumn 2013

September 30, 2013

As promised, a review of the latest Female magazine – Autumn 2013.

I must say we really get it at a good price here. The listed price in Japanese Yen is 840, based on the current exchange rate, that is about SGD10.78, and with my member’s discount (Kinokuniya) I get it at SGD10.17! Even if you are not a member the price is not far off from the original listed price. Price aside, this is one of the magazines that I really use quite a bit. So it’s no wonder I have to buy every issue that comes along.

Now let’s take a look at what’s included in this issue!

 Part of the Autumn Hit Trend  Pick up feature, where they feature 7 looks that are “in” this season.
Above : A very uniquely constructed cardigan + Cocoon dress.

Left : Pullover (using straight line patterns) + Right : Light coat (requires the use of the standard Bunka sloper – instructions provided on construction of sloper)

Left : Shirt dress with gathered skirt (patterns provided) + Right : Frill Blouse (using Bunka sloper)

 Left : Flare mini skirt + Right : Frill dress (both patterns provided)
I love the dress on the right! Even got my patterns traced but now trying to find the right fabric.

 Remember this dress that I mentioned in the fabric post last week?

 Some interesting coat patterns included in this issue with ideas on co-ordination. The coat above requires the use of a Bunka sloper.

A casual looking Gown Coat pattern – patterns included, as well as step by step pictures. Yay!

 Some straight line sewing projects are included. I like the these two because of the front tuck details and the sleeves. They are actually similar except for length and the pockets on the green dress.

More sweet dresses with elastic waistband. Left dress is sleeveless, Right with frill sleeves.

 Something new this issue : Lingerie and Room wear feature

 Babydoll camisole & short pants set.

 Comfy clothes to wear while lounging at home.

Size chart for your reference.

(Top row of measurements for both tables – Bust / Waist / Hip / Back length(nape to waist) / Waist – hip/ Body Rise / Crutch Depth Line to floor / Sleeve length / Wrist Circumference / Height )

There are lots of instructions included with the magazine, many involve the construction of the Bunka sloper, which is rather wordy and being entirely in Japanese, so it may not be very useful for your construction purpose unless you are familiar with the construction of a sloper and measurements are all you require. There are apparently English translated versions of the Bunka Textbooks which you may purchase from Amazon. I have not personally flipped through these books so I don’t dare to recommend them here. But when I do and if I find it useful, I will be sure to let you know.

Other than instructions for the sloper, there are also useful pages like this : “How to use the patterns” page. There are also pages on basic sewing techniques, from handstitching, applying interfacing, how to sew on hook and eyes, snap buttons etc.

There are three featured patterns with detailed step by step photos (an example was seen earlier in the gown coat pattern). The majority of the rest are in colored diagrams like this one.

A close up of one of the diagrams.

For the rest of the projects that have neither photographs or colored diagrams, they are included at the back of the book in black and white diagrams. These are usually pretty easy pieces like standard pants and skirts so I guess no detailed explanation necessary.

I noticed that there have been people selling scanned copies of sewing books and magazines online , but these are clearly not authorized e-books by the publisher. Then there are also people who offer these downloads for free, but without the pattern sheets, what use are the sewing books/magazines? ;P Well, maybe you can manage to use just the straight line sewing patterns since these do not require patterns, but for the rest of the garments, you really need these pattern sheets.

I will be scouting around online for legitimate sources where you can buy these magazines and putting them up in a list on the blog. Those of you who buy them regularly, do share your sources as well and I will include them in my list. Remember to let me know which country these online shops are based as it will make a difference to the shipping cost. Thanks in advance for sharing!  🙂 See you guys on Thursday!

Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Books Ladies Sewing Patterns

Book Review – One-piece and Bottoms

September 16, 2013

Today’s book review is not a very new book, in fact, I can’t quite remember when I bought it but I rediscovered it recently while moving my books around (to make more space for more books) The title is 冬でも夏でもずっと着られる ONE-PIECE & BOTTOMS 大人のふんわりかわいい服.

The first line means – One-piece/Dresses and bottoms that you can wear all the way through Winter & Summer, and the second line means Soft? (Google says softly/fluffy) and Cute Clothes for Adults. If anyone knows the proper translation of ふんわりas it is used in this title, please let me know! 🙂

The book includes 13 patterns with 2 variations of each, making it 26 projects in all!

 The contents page provides an overview of all the patterns included. There are only 2 sizes included though, M and L.

Most of the projects are meant for layering and are in the comfortable, casual Japanese style we all know and love. ❤ Here are some of my favourite pieces.

 Long camisole

 Dolman sleeve Dress

 U-Neck Dress with elastic waist

 Sleeveless Dress with side button enclosure.

V-neck Shirt Dress. I love the back detail that makes it look like a coat. This will be perfect for Autumn!

There is a pants pattern too, Sarouel pants, with two variations. The rest of the bottom patterns are for skirts. Gathered skirts, flared skirts, pleated skirts etc.

This book is published by 成美堂出版(Seibido Shuppan). I don’t have many books from this publisher, so I was not used to the book format. I was looking up and down for the size chart but it turns out that there is no general size chart, and the book jumps from photographs straight into the how-to-make section. The sizing information is actually included on each how-to-make page. The finished measurements for each garment is listed as the first point in each pattern (under でき上がり寸法)

 The rest of the pattern is pretty similar to most other books. Cutting Layout, Overall diagram with steps indicated, and instructions in point form, but each step comes with a corresponding diagram, like the one below.

 Note that the diagrams are in color? That is pretty useful, especially in figuring out right side and wrong sides of the fabric.

 Right at the end of the book, after all the how-to-makes, some basic sewing tips are included, like how to trace the patterns and add seam allowances to them. There are also tips on how to make bias tape, gathering, button hole orientation etc.

One actual size pattern sheet included.

 Title : 冬でも夏でもずっと着られる ONE-PIECE & BOTTOMS
ISBN : 978-4-415-30931-6

Otona Otona-no Funwari Kawaii Fuku Fuyu-de-mo Natsu-de-mo Zutto Ki Rareru / Seibido Shuppan (Book)

Available from

Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Books Ladies Sewing Patterns

Book Review – Nanatone’s Sewing Variations

September 9, 2013

Today’s book review is a Cotton Friend Special Edition – Nanatone’s Fashion Book – Sewing Variations. (In Japanese – NANATONE のおしゃれBOOK ソーイングバリエーション)

I first mentioned NANATONE by Megumi Aoki in the Cotton Friend Spring 2013 Edition review. NANATONE is the brainchild of Megumi Aoki, who started selling her own handmade goods in 2000 under the name nana-cotton. In 2005, she started NANATONE, an online shop selling clothes and handmade goods. She has been featured in many sewing books and magazines and even authored a couple of her own books. You can check out her online shop and her blog to see her works. She even models her own creations!

Back to the book. This book contains 10 basic patterns for sizes S,M,L,LL.

 The 10 basic patterns form the basis for all the styles featured in the book. Each pattern comes with either 2 or 3 variations. To showcase the different possibilities of each pattern, the book is divided into the following sections.

1. Border (meaning horizontal stripes)
2.  Gingham check
3. Solids
4. Floral Prints
5. Polka dotted prints
6. Blue

Other than that, there are also lots of pictures and interesting snippets of her daily life, as well as other craft related columns. It’s all in Japanese but we can still ogle at the pretty pictures 🙂

 For each themed section, different patterns are used in combination with the fabric type featured…

 and she then models the clothes to show you how to co-ordinate the different pieces.

 This is such a cute shirt, in gingham check seersucker.

Shirt dress, great for layering

 The name of this pattern is かっぽう着ワンピース which according to Google Translate – it’s a Cook’s apron dress.

 Tiered dress

 This is a variation of the shirt dress, with added buttons and ribbon tie.

 There are also a couple of tops included, like this one – a Dolman sleeve blouse.

 A short blouse version of the square neck dress.

 A peek at one of the columns in the book – don’t you love her sewing room?

And now for the important part – the how-to-make section.

 The sizes included for this book are listed above. This size chart is a lot more detailed than most books.
For your reference, the measurements listed in the top row of the table are
(Bust/Waist/Hip/Back nape to waist/Sleeve length/Body Rise/Crutch Depth Line to floor/Height)

Some of you might be scratching your heads with the two terms – Body rise and Crutch Depth Line to Floor :P. I used the terms from my pattern making textbook by Winifred Aldrich but even if these are the official technical terms, I don’t hear them used often so I shall try to explain what they actually mean. Basically the Crutch Depth Line is at the base of your butt curves. Body rise is from the base of butt up to the waist, and Crutch Depth Line to floor is from base of butt to the floor. This is based on body measurements but I have also seen diagrams such as Jean sizing diagrams, where 股下/Crutch Depth Line to floor is indicated as the inseam of the jeans/pants. In any case, it is not that important in this book since there are no pants patterns included!

 The how-to-make section introduction includes a few colored pages of basic sewing techniques.

 The how-to-make section groups the patterns by pattern type, and lists the different variations within the same page.  So on the same page you will find different list of materials and cutting layouts. Make sure you refer to the correct material list and cutting layout for the garment you are making!

As for the sewing instructions, there are no step by step photographs, but there are sewing diagrams, like the example above.

 There are 2 large color pattern sheets attached for a total of 4 sides of patterns.  The pattern variations are grouped by pattern type and indicated with different colored lines which makes it easy to search and trace.

Title : Nanatone’s Fashion Book – Sewing Variations.
NANATONE のおしゃれBOOK ソーイングバリエーション
Author : Megumi Aoki
ISBN : 978-4-8347-3296-2
Publisher : Boutique-sha

NANATONE no Oshare BOOK Sewing Variation / Aoki Megumi
Buy now from cdjapan (affiliate link)