Japanese Sewing Books in English

Book Review – Japanese Patchwork Quilting Patterns (English)

April 6, 2019

You know, sewing garments generates a lot of fabric scraps, and I have this box full of lovely fabric scraps that I’ve been reluctant to throw away. I always think to myself that one day, when I have the time, I will make a quilt out of all my scraps. Never mind the fact that I don’t actually know much about patchwork or quilting, till Tuttle sent me this book – Shizuko Kuroha’s Japanese Patchwork Quilting Patterns. I learned so much just by reading through it, that I think I will really have to try it out soon!

Today’s book review is for this new book called Japanese Patchwork Quilting Patterns, this book was published by Tuttle and was just released a few weeks ago!  Quilting and patchwork has everything to do with sewing but it’s really quite a foreign topic to me! There are lots of Japanese quilting books and magazines because it is a really popular craft in Japan, and I’m sure many of you have heard about, or even attend the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival held yearly. I have never reviewed quilting books because I have never quite had the patience for it and the construction looks so technical, and I get even more fearful when something so technical is all written in Japanese. But there is no such problem now, for this book is in English!

Whether you are a beginner or experienced quilter, you will still find this book chock-ful of tips and ideas for new patterns to try out on your first (or next) quilt. There are also lots of ideas and instructions for making small patchwork projects, in case you don’t feel confident enough about starting on a full size quilt immediately! 

A quick look at the contents page – the lessons are highlighted in orange and the patterns in blue. Each lesson is a series of step by step full color photographs that show you in detail, how to create each type of quilt block or specific techniques you will need to create your own project.

The patterns refer to the different ways you can put what you have learnt in the lessons, to create different layouts for your quilts.  In between the lessons, there are also suggestions for small projects like pouches, bags, table runners, you can make for instant gratification if you are taking a break from the long process of making a full size quilt. 🙂

Look at the number of projects you can make with this book! Let’s have a look at some of my favorites  as well as a closer look at the type of instructions you will get with this book, and then on to the book flip-though!

I was just blown away by this piece of art! It doesn’t look that complicated in terms of the types of shapes you have to cut, but I am wondering how difficult it must be to decide how to layout the pieces to achieve this color progression, and how to piece all those joints and corners together! Just mind-blowing!

Another wall hanging using the Stars and Cubes pattern. So apparently these were all made using one block pattern, but why does each  block look so different??? Simply by varying the fabrics and placement?? It’s like some kind of magic isn’t it? 

There are many many more pattern blocks and full size quilts as you can see later in the book flip through, and here are also some cute little projects you can make with small scraps.

Pin cushions! You can make these for yourself or as gifts for your sewing friends! A great scrap buster.
Every quilter needs a good set of needles in various sizes for piecework, so a needle case is a must have as well!

Some other projects show you how easy it is to customize your own accessories simply by adding simple patchwork patterns.

Now on to some of the technical details. Is it really easy to learn quilting just by reading a book? See for yourselves!

As mentioned earlier, there are lots of lessons and patterns in the book, so the different sections are color coded – lessons in orange, like the one above. Lessons are those that teach you how to put the different shape pieces together, how to stitch and piece them so that it forms a block. The instructions above are for making the most basic square block. 

A closeup of the photo instructions to show you how easy it is to understand.

Patterns are coded in blue – and patterns are for the different ways to piece shapes and blocks together to form different visual layouts.
An example of the assembly instructions for patterns. 

On top of the basic piecework lessons, there are also lessons on how to add on sashings and borders for your quilts. These are like inter-block borders that help to visually separate the blocks as well as add points of interest. So many variations that you can create on your own once you learn how from this book!

A complete beginner? Not sure where to start? There is also a basic guide to quilting tools which lists all the tools you will need to begin with. 

Patchwork is made up of lot of basic shapes, some of which you can purchase ready made templates for, but in order to explore a whole variety of shapes and sizes, it is best you learn how to construct the basic shapes yourself. The book includes a guide on how to construct these shapes yourself.

As for patchwork sewing projects, the instructions are are provided with step by step diagrams.

A close up of the diagrams for the project instructions.

and last but not least, here’s the book flip through video where you can see all the different available quilting blocks and patterns. 

I hope you enjoyed this book review and will consider making your very own quilts! Even if you are an experienced quilt maker, you will find many new ideas in this one! 

Title : Shizuko Kuroha’s Japanese Patchwork Quilting Patterns
Author : Shizuko Kuroha
Publisher : Tuttle Publishing (March 19, 2019)
ISBN : 978-4805314937


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