All Posts By

Japanese Sewing Books

Sew-along Sewing Tutorials Sewing Videos

Sew Along with A Year of Sewing with Nani Iro – Part 2 of 4

August 13, 2022

Quick Recap of what we covered last week
Part 1 (6 Aug)
 – How to use the book, locating the patterns on the pattern sheet, tracing and adding seam allowances.

Today we will be cutting out the fabric pieces, preparing the pieces for sewing,  and completing steps 1 (front to front yoke) and 2 (making the placket)

The last two weeks we will cover
Part 3 (20 Aug) – Step 3 (Back to back yoke), Step 4 (Sewing front and back yokes together), Step 5 (Attaching the tie collar)
Part 4 (27 Aug) – Step 6 (Finish armholes), Step 7 (Pockets and side seams, Step 8 (Hemming)

Before we begin, let’s talk about pre-washing.

Prewashing 

Do you pre wash your fabric? It depends. For garments I will pre-wash if the final garment is meant to be fitting or if the length of the skirt/dress/pants is crucial. Especially if the substrate is made of natural fibres like cotton or linen that is sure to shrink a little, I will always prewash. Nothing special about the process since you should wash it the same way you would treat your laundry since that’s the way you will wash it after you are done sewing. For me I will serge the raw edges (very important or you will end up with a mess of threads) and also put it in a laundry net. Throw it in the washer and dryer, and always iron it before cutting it out. A crumpled piece of fabric will result in uneven pieces and affect the final outcome.

Having said that, there are times when I do not pre-wash. For example, in this video, the garment is a very loose fitting one. Even the neckline is an adjustable tie collar. So I did not prewash it. Length wise it might shrink a little but for this casual style and such a long dress it may not be very visible so I decided to save time and skip it.

Other than garments, I do not prewash when I’m making bags as well, because I find that certain fabrics especially quilting cottons tend to lose the “shine” and develop a slight worn looking “fuzz” once washed, which ruins the look of the bag. So I never prewash fabrics when making bags.

Ok let’s get started with today’s sew-along video, shall we?

Some notes about today’s sew-along.

Gathering of front yoke
The usual practice when gathering is to divide both the gathered piece, as well as the piece to be attached to, into equal sections so that you can pin them down at equal intervals and get an evenly gathered piece. However as you can see I did not do that in the video. This is because the 2 sections to be gathered are actually quite short so I was able to even out the gathers visually.

Attaching front to front yoke
In the instructions, the front piece is sewn to both the inner and outer yokes in one step by sandwiching the gathers between the inner and outer front yoke. However, as I prefer to adjust the gathers as I sew, I did this in two steps. First by sewing the gathered sections to the outer yoke with slightly less than 1cm seam allowance, then finishing with the inner yoke with a 1cm seam allowance. You can do it either way.

Cutting with Scissors vs Rotary Cutter
If you are cutting fabric with a scissors, it might help to place more fabric weights or even pin your paper pattern pieces to the fabric. I use only two weights because when cutting with a rotary cutter I don’t have to lift the fabric so it doesn’t shift much. The fabric weights are just to keep the piece of paper in place. If you don’t have a rotary cutter / cutting mat, I strongly recommend it, it is a real game changer!

Transferring marks and notches
In the video I transferred all the marks and notches from the paper pattern to the fabric pieces. However some of it might get obscured once we serged the fabrics (especially the side pockets and side seams) so we will mark them again at a later stage. The more important marks and notches are the ones that show you where to gather for the front and back pieces, front and back yoke pieces, and also marking out the seam lines on the placket is important for a neat finish on the placket.

Where to buy (aff links)
Sewing book – A Year of Sewing with Nani Iro – https://amzn.to/3Jw73Ml
Clover curve rulers with seam allowances – https://amzn.to/3oWnHen
Clover long ruler (50cm) – https://amzn.to/3zE5szh
Staedtler 9mm mechanical pencil  – https://amzn.to/3JGkycs
Clover Awl (I can’t find the wooden version online sorry!) – https://amzn.to/3w6UZf9
Leonis Water Erasable Marking Pens. I was surprised when I received these because they were so small but despite it’s size they have outlasted any of the other markers I’ve had and does not dry out. – https://amzn.to/3w6UZf9
Clover Wonder Clips (Mini) good for thin fabrics and smaller crafts as it won’t weight it down – https://amzn.to/3w6UZf9
Clover Wonder Clips (regular) – more sturdy for holding pieces together for example when gathering – https://amzn.to/3bx9GAP
Panasonic cordless iron (it’s a small iron and no cord so it’s perfect for crafting. The shape of the iron also means you don’t have to twist your arm to iron hard to reach places like in between buttons – https://amzn.to/3vICXj8
Olfa Rotary Cutter 28mm – https://amzn.to/3oW8IBg
Olfa 28mm blades – https://amzn.to/3da4VxM
Olfa Small scissors (super sharp and precise for snipping curves and tiny areas) https://amzn.to/3zzCGzW
Olfa Cutting Mat – I join 2 sizes together A1 and A3 to fit on my Ikea cutting table https://amzn.to/3P5rZuy
And that’s it for today! I hope the video wasn’t too fast and the notes were clear enough. See you next week for part 2 where we will start cutting out fabric!

Credits
This sew-along is brought to you by Zakka Workshop. Zakka Workshop is a publisher of distinctive craft books, patterns, and kits inspired by fresh, contemporary Japanese design. They have lots of interesting craft books so do check them out at ZakkaWorkshop.com!

Sew-along Sewing Tutorials Sewing Videos

Sew Along with A Year of Sewing with Nani Iro – Part 1 of 4

August 6, 2022


Welcome to the part 1 of the Sew-along! I’m sure you are as excited as I am! This sew-along is brought to you by Zakka Workshop. Zakka Workshop is a publisher of distinctive craft books, patterns, and kits inspired by fresh, contemporary Japanese design. They have lots of interesting craft books so do check them out at ZakkaWorkshop.com!

The Sew-along will be broken down into the follow sections.  The videos and blog posts will be published every Saturday night at 9pm Singapore time (GMT +8) so be sure to look out for it if you can! No worries if you are unable to sew on Saturday itself because you will have the whole week to catch up. The entire process is divided into easily manageable chunks that you should be able to complete within a week. Here’s a quick summary of what we will be covering.

Part 1 (6 Aug) – How to use the book, locating the patterns on the pattern sheet, tracing and adding seam allowances.
Part 2 (13 Aug) –  Cutting out your fabric pieces, preparing the pieces for sewing, steps 1 (front to front yoke) and 2 (making the placket)
Part 3 (20 Aug) – Step 3 (Back to back yoke), Step 4 (Sewing front and back yokes together), Step 5 (Attaching the tie collar)
Part 4 (27 Aug) – Step 6 (Finish armholes), Step 7 (Pockets and side seams, Step 8 (Hemming)

Without further ado, here is today’s sew-along video

Some notes about today’s sew-along and for fabric / materials purchase.

Dress length adjustments
I traced the patterns as-is and did not make any adjustments. I am 160cm tall and the dress is 123cm long. The dress ends at the ankle for me which is perfect. To adjust the length if you are shorter/taller than me, you can adjust the length by varying the width of the hem than the 7cm hem as instructed, or just add/substract directly from the bottom edge of the pattern to your desired length since the side seams of the front and back pieces are straight lines from armhole to hem.

Fabric requirements
I know we didn’t cut any fabric in this video, but since many of you might need to order fabric for this project, I thought I should mention that I actually used a 3m cut of fabric even though the instructions asked for 3.9m. I realized that for M size, even with the standard width of 110cm (or was it 104cm?) I was actually able to fit the yokes side by side, and the pockets were also cut in a row instead of staggered like in the pattern layout diagram. I also saved on some fabric by cutting the tie collar along the long scraps left from cutting the front and back pieces. I’m not sure if this will apply for sizes larger than M though, plus I’m short, so it’s best you finish today’s video and with the actual pattern pieces (including length adjustments if any), you can test out the placement on your fabrics before deciding how much fabric you might actually need.

Bias Tape requirements
The materials list states 1m of 1.2cm wide single fold bias tape. This was not included in the pattern layout so I am assuming they mean store bought tape. This is for finishing the armholes. You can use store bought tape of course, but because I was using thin linen, and I didn’t like the difference in weight of cotton bias tape vs thin linen, so I decided to make my own.  As the bias tapes will not be seen from the outside, you can use any fabric strips of similar weight and color for bias tape. If you want to make them using the exact same fabric as the dress, then please use the recommended fabric required as that will safely allow you to cut extra for bias tape. I only manage to squeeze it out of 3m by not cutting it at 45deg. It’s unorthodox but it worked because the armholes for this dress is not extremely curved and is for the most part, straight lines so I managed to get away with it. But it’s entirely up to you if you want to do the same, and this is based on M size so the scraps I had left could accommodate this.

Where to buy (aff links)
A Year of Sewing with Nani Iro – https://amzn.to/3Jw73Ml
Clover curve rulers with seam allowances https://amzn.to/3oWnHen
Clover long ruler (50cm) https://amzn.to/3zE5szh
Staedtler 9mm mechanical pencil  https://amzn.to/3JGkycs
The tracing paper I use is from Taobao so it’s probably not useful to link it here but there are lots of options on amazon and online for rolls of tracing paper.

And that’s it for today! I hope the video wasn’t too fast and the notes were clear enough. See you next week for part 2 where we will start cutting out fabric!

Book Flip Through Videos Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Books in English

Book Flip-Through of A Year of Sewing with Nani Iro

July 2, 2022

It’s finally here! The long-awaited English translation of Naomi Ito’s latest sewing book – 季節をまとう 一年の服 . The English title of the book is “A Year of Sewing with Nani Iro” and it even has a brand new cover! I was so excited when Zakka Workshop sent me the book for a review, and as usual, they’ve done a great job with this one!

(Disclaimer : This post is sponsored by Zakka Workshop, but as always, the opinions are my own!)

I’ve shown the contents of the Japanese version previously, so yes at the risk of repeating myself, here’s the list of patterns included in this book. Oh wait, now I don’t have to translate it, it’s all in English!

Other than the obvious fact that everything is in English, I really appreciate the increased font sizes, black print (Japanese version was light blue) and also the more reader-friendly layout across the whole book. I can tell lots of thought has gone into the layout of the book, in the original book the number of pages was 96, in the English version it’s 136. Many of the diagrams were enlarged, and are not packed tightly in a single page in order to save space.

I reviewed the Japanese version in March 2021, when it was first released with the 2021 nani IRO collection. I did not refer to the previous book review, but randomly took a few photos from the English version, just to show you a few favorites as well as what the new layout looks like. Coincidentally there are quite a few patterns that remain on my to-do list. Looks like these are the ones I really have to make!

What’s different from this and the Japanese version, other than the language of course, is the addition of Imperial measurements alongside the original metric measurements. The measurements as well as fabric yardage, are provided primarily in yards and inches, with the metric equivalents in brackets. The size chart has also been updated to reflect international sizing standards, which is why in the original book you will see 2L instead of XL. This will benefit those who are unfamiliar with Japanese sizing which tend to run small.

In any case, due to the generous ease of the garments, the best way to decide which size to make is by referring to the Finished Sizes chart that is included in every garment’s set of instructions. You can see an example of the finished sizes in the image below. For garments with fitted details, like collars that have button enclosures, I would recommend not to size down more than 1 size in case they end up being too small.

On top of the usual patterns and instructions, there are 3 added sections to help you make use of the patterns in the book fully so as to fully utilise the patterns across all seasons. To be honest I did not pay much attention to these sections in the original version because there was too much text to translate and wade through, but now that it’s in English it makes for much easier reading.

“The Fabric” is based on all the fabric used in the book. The showcase is primarily based on nani IRO fabric of course, but also includes a few other substrates that were used to adapt the patterns for all seasons. For each substrate/print, the corresponding pattern is also listed below for easy reference.

There is another section called “Experimenting with the Patterns” which to us sewists, is like a pattern hack section. The designer herself, provided some creative ideas on how to make the patterns more interesting and unique. From simple hacks like length variations, to adding contrast details to the garments, lots of ideas here!

“Exploring the Garment Designs” brings you through each pattern and discusses the possible fabric variations as well as styling options. As mentioned previously, the fabric options are not limited to nani IRO’s range of fabric and include substrates like wool gauze and even faux fur to adapt the patterns for use during the cooler seasons. The use of different fabrics with different drape, finish and print can also lead to a very different look in the finished garment, and make it suitable for not just different seasons, but different occasions as well. There is also a difficulty scale which can help you decide which project you can probably handle given your skill level or time constraint.

Last but not least, here is the book flip-through of A Year of Sewing with Nani Iro. Enjoy!

Book Details

Title : A Year of Sewing with Nani Iro
Language : English
Author : Naomi Ito
Sizes : Ladies S-XL
No. of sewing projects : 18
Publisher : Zakka Workshop
Published date : July 5 2022
ISBN-13 : 978-1-940552-69-9

Where to buy
The book will be released on July 5th 2022, but you can pre-order your copy now from Zakka Workshop

As part of the book release, Zakka workshop will be giving away a copy of this book! More details on my Instagram post here -> “A Year of Sewing with Nani Iro” Book Giveaway

New to sewing Japanese patterns? I will be following up this post with a how-to-use Japanese patterns, using this book as an example. I’ve had a couple of blog posts on this topic before but nothing like a video tutorial to see how it’s actually done! Subscribe to my YouTube channel and you will be notified when the video is ready to premiere!

I’m also preparing for a sew-along for one of the patterns in this book. Stay tuned to my Instagram for more info! It will be some time in August and the sew-along will be at a very relaxed pace, so do join us for it after you’ve purchased the book!

Book Flip Through Videos

Book Flip Through of Aoi Koda’s The clothes to another 10 years from now

September 28, 2021

Book Flip Through of Aoi Koda’s Clothes that can be worn up to 10 years from now

 

Book Details

Japanese Title : 10年先まで着られる服
English Title : The clothes to another 10 years from now
Author : Aoi Koda 香田あおい
Sizes : Ladies S-LL
No. of sewing projects : 21
Publisher : Nihon-Vogue
Published date : Sept 8 2021
Language : Japanese
ISBN-13 : 978-4-529-06110-0

Where to buy

Here are the usual places I buy my books from, just compare the shipping to your own country and make sure you get the best deal!

  1. cdJapan – Click here to buy now (Affiliate link)
  2. Amazon.co.jp 
  3. Or search your local Kinokuniya (http://www.kinokuniya.com/) using the ISBN number. (they have different websites for different countries, so you have to search from the one located in yours. If they don’t have it in stock they can order it for you at no extra cost, but you may have to wait.

Book Flip Through Videos Japanese Sewing Books

Book Flip Through Video of Sew Basic! – for Boys and Girls

April 16, 2021

Book Flip Through Video of Sew Basic! – for Boys and Girls

 

Book Details

Japanese Title : SEW BASIC For boys and girls 反抗期手前の君に着せたい服
English Title : SEW BASIC For boys and girls
Sizes : 130-160cm (height)
No. of sewing projects : 34
Publisher : Boutique-Sha
Published date : Dec 22, 2020
Language : Japanese
ISBN-13 : 978-4834780611

Where to buy

Here are the usual places I buy my books from, just compare the shipping to your own country and make sure you get the best deal!

  1. cdJapan – Click here to buy now (Affiliate link)
  2. Amazon.co.jp 
  3. Or search your local Kinokuniya using the ISBN number. (they have different websites for different countries, so you have to search from the one located in yours. If they don’t have it in stock they can order it for you at no extra cost, but you may have to wait.