Browsing Tag

girls dress patterns

Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Books Kids Sewing Patterns

Book Review – Sunny Day Recital Clothes

April 24, 2015

Have you noticed something different about the site? Yes! It’s the long overdue revamp I’ve been meaning to do. I know it was time for a reorganization of the navigation when I found myself unable to locate certain posts or book reviews. It’s funny how I have to resort to Googling my own website as a faster way to locate a certain pattern/book rather than flipping through the physical books. I guess that’s the beauty of a digital archive. But then again, I realized that many useful articles have been archived by date and will not be seen by most unless they know what they are looking for. So I’ve decided to do some housekeeping, literally trawling through more than 300 posts, and re-categorize every single one of them.

Turns out that I have not been disciplined enough when it comes to labeling my posts by categories, and some articles that are useful should have been kept sticky instead of being buried in the archives. I wanted to show more posts from each category up front so that it will be easier whether it is your first time or a regular visitor to the website.

The new homepage features the latest posts in the featured area, followed by the latest book reviews, book releases, and then the ever useful guides that I wrote long ago but are still relevant today. The last section displays, by thumbnails, all the sewing tutorials or sew-alongs that I have created. For each of the sub-sections, note that there is also a link that brings you to another page, showing you all the archived posts for that category. For example, there are way too many book reviews to display on one page, so I am only displaying the latest 4 on the first page.

Well, enough about the new layout, let’s get back to this week’s book review.


I bought this book on a whim end of last year, after seeing a really cute dress in a sneak preview of the book online. This book is called Sunny day & Recital clothes for Girls and Boys. Sizes 100-130cm, with 4 of the projects available in size 140cm. The cover displays the recital clothes, but check this really cute dress out that made my buy the book.


The Sailor Collar mini-dress in Diamond print

Within days of receiving the book, I went fabric shopping, but to my disappoint the local Spotlight did not carry any fabric like the one shown in the book. It really is just a simple square pattern turned on the diagonal. It is quite hard to find online as well. There are plenty of check patterns but non with such big squares. The other unique thing about this fabric is that the lines are not overlapping like on a woven check fabric. Since I promised my daughter to make this dress for her year end party in school, I had to buy something. So I settled on polka dots…again 🙂

purpledress (1)

The sailor collar on the dress is actually fake, i.e. not sewn on the dress. The ribbon in the middle is attached using a safety pin (like a brooch) and the sash ribbon is attached using two loops on the side seams, which means you can actually remove these and it will look like a simple dress. What my daughter has been doing, is to use the fake collar on other outfits as well. She just loves it.

Other than the dress I fell in love with, there are other very useful patterns to use for formal occasions such as piano recitals, or weddings?


Mini Puff Sleeves & Sleeveless Noble Dress (100-140cm)


This dress comes with a detailed step by step lesson, including how to make the organza rose brooch.


Ribbon and Frill Dress and Shawl (100-140cm)


Some color variations you can try if you are making them for sisters.


For the boys – formal Tailcoat with Bowtie


Variation of the sailor collar dress. In bold stripes..can’t find this fabric in Spotlight too 🙁
By the way, do note that this dress is a mini-dress, which means the skirt is short. So do measure your girls for skirt length before cutting, in case you want it to be longer.


School Fashion Style Suit Set (100-140cm)


Learn to make a proper Jacket for the School Fashion style suit set in Lesson 2


Pair up a pretty Tulle skirt with the formal Jacket


Hunting (refers to the beret) & Knickerbockers


For the boy : Glen Check Vest & Half pants and Necktie
For the girl : Tuck dress and Bolero


 The same garments without the vest and bolero.


Dress down variation of the previous pattern

More fun patterns for Special Events…


Halloween Set


Christmas Set


Alice in Wonderland style Collared dress & Apron


Minnie Mouse! Polka dotted skirts & Hair ribbons


No prizes for guessing the inspiration behind this dress.
Snowflake dress & Chou Chou (scrunchie)


Princess Dress for Ball & long Panier (petticoat)


Mini Polka dots Collared Dress (this is actually a variation of the Alice in Wonderland dress)


The How-to-make section begins with an introduction on the different types of fabrics used in the book.  For formal wear it usually includes lots of satin, organza, tulle and jacquard fabrics. For a list of commonly used fabric names, you can refer to this post


There are also pages showing you the basics such as pattern tracing, sewing tools you will need etc.


The size chart for the book. The leftmost column reads : size / height / bust / waist / hip


There are 2 detailed sewing lessons as shown earlier, and for the rest, they are laid out in the usual format.


A close up of one of the diagrams showing you how to insert a dress zip.


2 full size pattern sheets (printed on both sides)


Clothes recital and sunny days of a girl and a boy / Nihon Web Publishing
click on thumbnail to buy now from cdjapan

Title : 晴れの日と発表会の服 Sunny Day and Recital Clothes
ISBN : 978-4529053655

I hope you liked today’s book review. For me it was a great addition to my library, not just because of the sailor collar dress, but because you will always come across some occasion when you need to make formal clothes for your kids. Even if you don’t, you can always make them for dress up play and even adapt them for daily wear.


Book Reviews Girls Sewing Patterns Japanese Sewing Books

Pattern Reviews – Girls Dress Patterns

February 18, 2013

Today’s review is not from a book, but single patterns sold in little packages like this one. I’ve always been curious to know what the “insides” are like, so during my Dec trip I made it a point to buy a few. Well, a few became 5 or 6. Some for bags and women’s tops. These are the ones I bought for Girls’ Dresses.

The one on top is by Polka Drops and the one below is from m-pattern. The first dress is a simple dress with square neckline, front enclosure, and frills on the sleeves.

The packaging is very simple. An A4 printed sheet that, when folded in half, acts as both the cover and the back. So that makes the package A5 size. The instructions and patterns are sandwiched in between this printed cover. The one from polka-drops is 550yen, and it contains the patterns for sizes 90-120cm. If you consider the usual price of the book which is usually from 1200yen and gives you at least 10 patterns, this may not seem like such a good deal. But it’s easy to get carried away as these are sold in the fabric shops, usually in a rack conveniently located near the fabrics suitable for the project, and sometimes just below the sample end product. ;P
All the sizing and material information is listed on the back. Handy reference when you are shopping for fabrics.

And here’s what it contains. Two pieces of instruction sheets with diagrams, and one large pattern sheet.

Close up of the instruction sheet – the cutting diagram.

There are no photographs, and the instructions are mostly in text, but there are diagrams to every step, like the ones above.

Instructions sheet 2, more of the same thing, I think there was just not enough space to fit them on sheet 1.

Close up of pattern sheet. The pattern pieces are actual size and because there is only one design, it is easy to locate the pieces you need, unlike those from a book where you have to squint and follow lines very closely to spot the correct patterns. 😛

This is the second pattern I bought. A tiered dress that you can use to create 3 different styles. This pattern was more expensive at 787 yen. I like to think of it as buying 3 patterns (since there are 3 slightly different variations)

Style I – stand collar, 3/4 sleeves, tiered dress.
Style II – no collar, cap sleeves, tiered dress.
Style III – no collar, 3/4 sleeves, tiered dress.

Size chart. For sizes 85cm-133cm. The terms on the left hand column (corresponding to the rows of numbers) are : –

  • Chest (chest circumference) – bare body measurements
  • Chest (chest circumference) – garment measurements  (approximate)
  • Height
  • Length | Garment dimensions (approximate)

Pretty similar to the first package, 1 instruction sheet, 1 actual size pattern sheet, and a questionnaire  postcard.

The instruction sheet was larger, but with alot more words and diagrams.

General overview of procedure. Indicated using diagrams and in point form.

Compared to the polka drops instructions, the paper is thinner and the instructions are more cramped. Have to follow the numbered steps carefully or you might get lost.

The pattern sheet is quite good quality though, it’s slightly glossy and thick. There is even a glossary of symbols used in the patterns.

Closeup of the pattern. I like how the numbers for the different sizes are indicated along the curves as well. Harder for you to make a mistake and end up following the wrong line while tracing.

These patterns are available in fabric shops in Japan, I have not seen them in bookshops before. There are no ISBN numbers for searching. If you know of any online source, do share in the comment below!