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At long last, a book that I have been wanting to review ever since I received it in the mail. This is by far the most comprehensive Japanese sewing book for Menswear that I have seen. The book is titled Toshio Kaneko’s Men’s Clothes.
This is Toshio Kaneko’s second pattern book. The first – All Season’s Men’s Clothes, was also favourably reviewed on Amazon. The previous book included more daily wear, with a couple of variations on shirts, t-shirts, pants and even home wear. This book is more like a Essential wardrobe for Men’s kind of book. From outerwear to shirts to pants to accessories! You really have to watch the Book flip through video (below) to see what I mean.
The sewing patterns included are for sizes S,M,L,LL and 3L. There are 21 projects in all, with 4 detailed step by step lessons in full color photographs.
I can’t quite decide which ones to show you because there are so many but I want to highlight the details of certain garments, just to show you what high quality patterns these are. Details which can’t really be seen in the book flip through video. I will also translate the contents page as I go along so that you have an idea of what’s included.
The projects are grouped by Tops / Bottoms / Outerwear / Accessories
A. Cleric Shirt
B. Button down shirt
C. Military shirt
D. Denim shirt
E. Outdoor shirt
F. Boatneck Cut and sew (Cut and sew in Japanese terms usually refers to tshirts/easy garments made of knitwear)
G. Polo shirt
+ Point Lesson – 4 detailed pages with full color photographs on how to make the A. Cleric shirt
Only found on tailored shirts – Gussets for reinforcing side seams.
There is a Point Lesson for the Cleric Shirt – this is called the point lesson because they only show certain “points” in full detail, and these are usually the ones related to the detailed shirt finishings, for example the sleeve placket, the collar, attaching the sleeves, as well as the side seam gussets. The easier steps like sewing shoulder seams, attaching pockets etc, are detailed in the how-to-make page and not shown here.
F. Boat neck Cut and Sew
G. Polo shirt
The next section is for
H. Dress Pants
I. Chino pants
K. Sweat pants
+ Detailed lesson for Dress Pants
Yup, you read it right. Jeans. Honestly, I have no idea this is possible, making your own jeans that is. I glanced at the 2 page full of instructions and wonder if I will ever be brave enough to attempt it. I don’t think so, but for those of you who have ever been ambitious enough to make all of your own clothes, you might want to give this pattern a try. Look at the detailed finishing in the inside seams.
But the one pieces I wanted to highlight the most, is the dress pants. My DH has always lamented that it’s so hard to find a good tailor. Recently he asked me if it was possible to widen the waist of his tailor made pants. I’ve always thought of this as a tailor only project but can you believe it there are 8 pages of full color photos instructions for this project. At least 9 photos on each page. Again, not for the faint hearted, but if you have always wanted to try it, I can say the instructions are excellent, although I must admit that you will need some translation help because there are so many parts to it. 14 pattern pieces to be exact!
If you have ever flipped a pair of tailored pants inside out, yup it pretty much looks like this.
If you are impressed by what this book contains so far, you haven’t seen nothing yet.
The third section covers Outerwear
L. Wool Jacket
M. Denim Jacket
N. Knit Jacket
O. Duffle Coat
P. MA-1 Type Blouson (also known as a bomber/flight jacket)
Q. Stand collar Coat
+Lesson – Wool Jacket
This is the wool coat on the front cover. No I didn’t steal those photos from some tailor’s website. These are from the book and yes this is what you will be making! A proper wool coat.
There were only 8 pages of instructions for the dress pant. This wool coat has 16 pages of full detailed instructions! 21 pattern pieces to trace and cut and transfer. Impressive!
Other than formal looking coats, there is also this
MA-1 bomber/flight jacket – apparently the sage green color and orange lining is the standard color. Look at the details – sleeve pocket and lining.
I like this too, duffle coats never go out of style and always look so cozy for winter.
A more regular looking Stand collar coat. Something that looks more suited for mild winters and business trips!
The last section is for Accessories
S. Tote Bag
T. Work Apron
U. Knit Trunks
Lesson – necktie
The last section is probably the easiest and if you have completed something in the earlier sections, you can probably sew these with your eyes clothes. Having said that, this might be the section I feel more confident in starting out with 😛
There is a detailed lesson for the necktie too (forgot to take a picture but you can see it in the book flip through below). Great for handmade gifts especially if you use a luxe fabric like Liberty (as seen in 2 of the 3 neckties above)
An important aspect to tailored men’s clothes, you do need to ensure good fit, but as most of us don’t fit neatly into a particular size for dimensions, it is important to know how to adjust parts of the pattern for your own measurements. For example, it could be that the sleeves are too short although the rest of the shirt/coat fits well. The above shows you an example of where you should make the extension to the sleeve pattern. The book devotes a couple of pages showing you how to make size adjustments for chest, body width, length, sleeve length , length and width for pants.
This is the size chart for the patterns in the book. The Japanese terms on the leftmost column are :
Size / Height (from the midline) / Bust / Wasit / Hip / Shoulder width (from shoulder tip to shoulder tip)
There are diagrams in the book to show you how to take these measurements properly.
The above is an example of a typical how-to-make page.
This book comes with 3 full size, double printed pattern sheets which makes it a total of 6 pattern sheets in all. No wonder, since there are so many parts for each garment.
Here’s the book flip-through video of the entire book. You will notice more gems in there!
I bought this book knowing that some of these patterns may never be used, not because they are not good but because they really look too complicated for my level of sewing. However, I bought it as a reference because I have always been fascinated by the great workmanship that goes into a proper Men’s coat or dress pants. In particular how the lining is added on so that you can’t see the stitches (hand sewing is involved I think). I believe that this may help me unravel the mystery of how to make adjustments to my DH’s tailored pants (if I ever get the guts to do it). There are some easier patterns that I will start with though, probably the button down shirt which is more casual and looks easier for a first project. So there are quite a number of easier patterns and I hope to work my way up to finally being able to make a proper shirt.
Title : Pattern Maker : Toshio Kaneko’s Men’s Clothes
Author : Toshio Kaneko
Publisher : Nihon-Vogue
ISBN : 9784529056397