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Sewing Patterns for both Girls and Boys

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Boys Mandarin Collar Shirt

January 9, 2018

Today I am launching a new pattern for Boys – A Mandarin Collar Shirt which is a matching piece with the Girls Qipao.

I made the first version of this Boys Mandarin Collar Shirt two years ago, when I was trying to come up with something festive for my 1 year old. I made a top with the same fabric for my oldest girl, and I had some fabric left, so I mixed and matched with some bias and co-ordinating fabric and the result was pretty cute! I then posted it on Instagram and then people started asking me where they could get the pattern. I hadn’t even jotted down the steps! I promised some of my readers I would release the pattern in time for Chinese New Year last year, but you know, having a toddler in the house just throws all your timing off. Fast forward 2 years later, I finally got round to doing it. 🙂 Luckily I still had the original shirt, but I actually had to scrutinize the original shirt to remind myself how I made it. 

So here it is! A boys Mandarin Collar shirt which is festive looking if you do the full works of contrast cuffs and collars, but can also be toned down to a single palette for a more subtle/sophisticated look.

This pattern is for Boys sizes 2-12 years, and includes A4/Letter size tiled PDF for home printing, as well as a convenient A0 size pattern for printing in a copy shop if you hate to piece patterns.

Boys Mandarin Collar Shirt
This pattern is now available at my PDF sewing pattern online shop – Porcupine Here is the size chart for your reference.


Here are some photos of the shirts made by my testers for your inspiration. Enjoy!














For 2 days only, there will be a special launch price of 20% off the pattern.
Key in LAUNCH20OFF at checkout to make use of this special offer!

For Customers who have already bought the Girls Qipao, you will get a special discount for the first two days as well. You will get 30% off the price – key in GQP30OFF to claim this offer!
Note : This discount requires you to have purchased the Girls Qipao pattern previously. The shopping cart will detect your eligibility for this offer. If you have and are unable to use this code, please email me at

Last but not least, those of you who have not purchased any patterns, but would like to buy both the Girls and Boys pattern as a bundle, I have created a separate listing for you.


This amounts to 50% off the second pattern! This will be a permanent bundle price item in my store.

Click here for more information


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Book review – Kana’s Standard for Kids 2

May 6, 2017

I know many of you have been excited about this one. This book was recently released in March, and the cover was so inviting that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. And boy was I glad I did! I actually missed out on the first one that was published last year, because at that time I had too many new books. The reviews on the first KANA’S STANDARD for Kids on wasn’t fantastic despite the raves about the designs, because apparently there were problems with the pattern sheets. Let’s see if this book does better.

Disclaimer : This blog post contains affiliate links.

Many of you have asked me about books for boy sewing patterns. Sadly, other than a few old and maybe out of print books dedicated to boy sewing, I have not seen any new books with ONLY boy patterns. However, I do notice that there seems to be more variety in boys clothes nowadays in kids sewing books. This book for example, contains quite a fair bit of boys patterns.

This book has patterns for co-ordinates derived from 4 base patterns (2 tops and 2 bottoms), into a total of 25 possible garments including shirts, dresses, blouses, a whole bunch of different pants with different features, even skorts and salopettes. I initially thought there were 57 different garments, but I did a count and it was actually 25. The number 57 on the cover refers to the number of actual styling examples they provide in the book. Here’s a look at some of my favourites! You can see the rest of the book in the book flip-through review at the end of the post.


The first base pattern A is a shirt pattern. The variations include
A1 – Sleeveless shirt
A2 – Shirt dress
A3 – Puff sleeve shirt


A4 – Half sleeve shirt (above)


A5 – Frill sleeve combination (above)
A6 – White shirt (the formal type)
A7 – Gingham Checked Dress

Pattern A is basically your go-to pattern for all kind of shirts. From the formal white shirt to shirt dresses, sleeveless, sleeved, puffed sleeve, frills, round collar, pointed collar… you can probably do a mash up of any of these patterns to create your own unique outfit too!

Pattern B is a Tuck pants pattern, featuring tucks at the waist line, tapered pants, a waist band, fake fly and belt loops even.

B1 – Dotted print pants


B2 – Denim pants (above)


B3 – Corduroy Short Pants


B4 – Salopettes. Love the frills on the straps!


B5 – Belt loop half pants


Pattern C is a more casual top pattern, also named the Pullover. Easy to wear for kids who hate fussing with zips and a whole placket of buttons.

C1 – Henley Shirt


C2 – Smock Blouse
C3 – Henley half sleeve
C4 – Yoke dress
C5 – Blouse with pockets
C6 – Frill sleeve dress


C7 – Frill collar dress


Pattern D is another pants pattern, but this time it is a straight cut, which means wider legs and roomier bottoms
D1 – Check pattern half pants
D2 – Inner pants skirt
D3 – Cargo Half Pants
d4 – Chino pants
D5 – Salopettes (picture above)
D6 – Belted short pants


Styling ideas for the different patterns and variations.

Now for the how to make section.

There is a whole page of numbers and text before the actual how to make section.

The size guide was kind of hidden on this page. Check to see if this book contains the sizes you need.


Japanese terms from the top : Reference dimensions  100/110/120/130/140 Sizes)
Reference age … 3.5 yrs / 5.5 yrs / 6.5 yrs / 8.5 yrs / 10.5 yrs
For added reference : The boy model is 110cm and the girl is 111cm, and both are wearing 110cm size garments.


In the same page, there is also a reference “table” for all the dimensions of the finished garments.  You have to refer to the Pattern name and number and check the corresponding dimensions based on the size you are making. For the different patterns, there are different dimensions given. Some are bodice length, some are pants length, or waist dimensions. You may want to refer to the dictionary of Japanese sewing terms to decode all the terms listed.

I thought it was rather odd to place this info in one page instead of on the individual pattern pages, but it is just a minor inconvenience. The rest of the book is laid out as per usual.


Sample of how to make page. This is just page 1, there are more pages with detailed diagrams.


Close up of diagrams.


2 large double sided printed pattern sheets.


A quick note about the pattern sheets. There were a couple of reviews on that complained about the pattern sheets. I can understand why, as some of the lines are really drawn close together. It will be a nightmare to trace! However, you can use a frixion highlighter to highlight the lines before tracing. I use these pastel ones because I like how it is not too bright, but visible enough under the tracing paper.


Here’s the full book flip through review. 

Personally, I find this book a great resource for both boys and girls patterns. Lots of wearable patterns and daily wardrobe basics. However, it is not really meant for beginners. Despite the easy to read diagrams, most of the techniques (like shirt making) may be more advanced. The pullover top is probably the easiest of the lot, and it is also the pattern that the kids on the cover are wearing. All the pants in the book require the making of the fake fly. A nice touch for making easy to wear pants for kids look more grown up and less “home-made” if you know what I mean. I will still recommend this book though, especially if  you have both boys and girls to sew for. The designs are classic and stylish, and I think I will get to use it a lot!

Stylist Sato Kana Ga Tsukuru Otokonoko Ni Mo Onnanoko Ni Mo Kisetai Fuku / Sato Kana / Cho

Title : Kana’s Standard for kids II
Author : Kana Sato
ISBN No. : 9784579116003

Get yours today from

Check out her other books too!


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Throwback Thursday – Free Chinese Dress / Qipao pattern for girls

January 19, 2017

Every year just before Chinese New Year, I see a renewed flurry of activity in our local sewing community -The Sewing Network, from mothers/aunts/crafters sewing and making Qipaos /Cheongsams for their little ones. This year I’ve decided to compile some of them to show you all the amazing things that they have done with my simple template as a base.  From adding sleeves, to tulle sleeves, going collarless for comfort, adding gathered skirts, romper style, matching doll sets. All you need to give your little girl a wide smile for Chinese New Year is a simple and free pattern, plus lots of love and creativity. 🙂


This pattern had its roots 9 years ago, when I first made attempted to make a mash up dress+chinese collar for my then 3 year old daughter. Being inexperienced, I created a front flap opening, but sewed up the gathered skirt at the waist line. Needless to say, it was a struggle getting in and out of it, haha… That idea was revisited a few years later, you can imagine how traumatized I was at my failure, but I was determined to get it right, by copying the side opening from a store bought Qipao my husband bought for us from his business trip to China. I finally understood how it worked and so created a free pattern (click here for the free pattern) and launched it in January 2014, plus sewing video tutorials (click here to watch the videos on youtube) to make it easier to understand.

Anyway, this year, Chinese New Year falls on 28th Jan which is rather early. It seems like Christmas just came and went and I just got settled in the new school routine. But it’s based on the lunar calendar so it’s not up to us to decide ;P  I am still struggling to spring-clean, and am still sewing our new outfits for CNY2017. I have lowered my personal expectations for this year and I’m probably only going to make one outfit per person instead of 2. I just hope I can make it in time!

In the meantime, have a look through and get inspired by these creative ladies from our local sewing group – The Sewing Network. Click on the arrows to see the next slide. The copyright of photos belong to the owners as stated in each picture. If you wish to be included in the gallery, just message me on Facebook or email me with your photos.  Enjoy and be inspired!

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

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Sew-Along for Boy’s Stand-Up Collar Shirt Day 3

January 11, 2017

Day 3 and final day of the sew along. If you haven’t , go to the first post here.

The book we are sewing from is


In the previous post, I covered steps 1-3. In the following video, you will see the rest of the steps – 4-8.  Even if you don’t have time to sew it now, bookmark this page and you can follow along any time you want.

You will noticed that I used snap buttons instead of buttonholes and buttons as stated in the pattern. But this is for a good reason. I needed to add some color to the shirt since it is for Chinese New Year, so I chose snaps in colors that will go with the pants I am making to complete the outfit. More on the pants soon!

I also wanted to make a note about the instructions in the book. The terms upper and lower collar were used for this pattern. Even though I’m not entirely sure of the correct terminology, it seems that the terms switched in some of the diagrams, which was quite confusing. In my video, I used inner and outer collar instead. With inner referring to the inside of the shirt and outer referring to the outside of the shirt. The interfacing for the collar should be applied on the outer collar (I think!). The other mistake I made, which I only realized later, was that I added seam allowances to my collar interfacing. The collar interfacing should be traced without seam allowances. This is to prevent bulk in the seam. Luckily the interfacing I used was quite thin, as I didn’t want a stiff collar since it was a for a toddler, and it I think it turned out quite alright.

I hope you learned from my mistakes too and make a great shirt of your own. Happy sewing!

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Book Review – Cotton Friend Kids! Summer 2016 – Summer Sewing Patterns for Kids 100 to 150cm

July 21, 2016

The weather has been crazy hot these days and even with the occasional thunderstorm, it is still really humid. Times like this, you need some cooling down. What better way than to indulge in some ice tea (our current craze at home is Korean barley tea) and a nice Summer sewing magazine!

For those of you who are fans of the old Cucito magazine, this publication Cotton Friend Kids! is published by the same company – Boutique-Sha, which is also the publisher of Cotton Friend. Since the Cucito magazine has been phased out, it has been replaced by the following publications. Cotton Friend Kids! Published twice a year in May and October. A School Goods sewing special, and Easy Handmade Clothes for Kids (published twice a year in April and September). Keeping in mind that these are more of sewing magazines than books, expect to see ads for fabrics and sewing machines. I hardly mind, since it updates me on the latest fabrics and machines and sometimes even other crafty stuff in Japan.


On the cover – Pretty and Cute Handmade Summer Kids Clothes. Sub-headlines include : Summer Liberty Print Sewing, Let’s enjoy a birthday party, Remake paradise for kids, Cute accessories for kids, and lots more in the book. Let’s have a look!


A quick glance of the 61 projects in this book! From clothes to cute accessories. A big plus point – sizes 100-150cm are covered in this book. Which is why I bought this book because I really need more books with sizes > 140cm. Most kids sewing books stop at 120/130cm.


The first project – a cute peplum top with a chevron print. There are cross back straps at the back which makes it a really cooling top for the summer, unfortunately there were no photos of the back view in the book, but the back cross straps can be seen in the sewing pattern instructions.


Got-to-make summer staples – T-shirts with variations for boys and girls.


I’ve blogged about books on the Jinbei before but never attempted to make one. I am thinking about making one for my boy if I can find a book with his size. Unfortunately he can’t fit into a 100cm yet.  These look really cute and comfortable.


Another Summer bottom staple – Shorts! Perfect for running around the playground on hot sunny days. The girls get a more feminine scalloped edge around the hem, and don’t you love that contrast band on the front of the pockets?


A cute parka suitable for both boys and girls. Love that fabric from Cotton and Steel. I have never bought any Cotton and Steel fabric before. Yup I know, I’m so behind the times!


Girls will love these cooling summer blouses made with fabrics from Panduro Design. I must say it’s the first time I’ve heard of this company. This is not a Japanese brand, but if I googled correctly, it is a company from Sweden. Which explains its beautiful simple geometric prints. My girls will love the top on the right made with Emma Turquoise. I don’t have any idea where to buy this fabric though, if any of you know where to get this online, do leave a comment below and share!


What’s summer wear without a bright and colorful shirt for the boys. Fabrics from Dashwood Studio – Street Life collection, a UK based textile design company.

Next up is a Liberty Fabric special. Liberty needs no introduction. This feature showcases fabrics from The Liberty Story Book Collection. I searched on the official website but could not find this group of fabrics, so I think this is just a marketing term rather than a real “collection”. These are mainly fabrics inspired by story books, such as the Elodie Bea, Fairyland, Land of Dreams and so on.



Simple clean designs for gorgeous fabrics. Fabric from top – Strawberry Feast, Toy Garden, Hiding.

The next feature special is on Birthday Party Clothes and cute accessories.


Not your usual formal party wear, but still looking cool and comfortable. The length of the pants makes it easy for kids to still have a whale of a time even though they are dressed up!


A matching collar and skirt over a simple white blouse. Comfy and cute!

I seem to be seeing these clothes Reform/Remake themes quite frequently nowadays. So hold on to your old clothes and check out these ideas for turning your old into new clothes for your kids.


These pants are made using Ladies size M pants. My girls are thrilled taking over my hand me downs, but my boy isn’t of the age where he can protest my wardrobe choices for him yet, but I have this feeling that boys won’t like it that much? Lol, I don’t know, let me know what you or your boys think about this idea?


If they have a favourite pair of jeans that they have outgrown but can’t bear to throw away, turn it into a keepsake by converting into a cute backpack.


Not a new idea, to turn an old shirt into a girl’s dress, but I like how this is done back to front so that the original buttons lie to the back. I love this idea because I hate making buttonholes.  The added frills on the front are cute and really makes full use of the fabric and minimises wastage.

What’s summer wear without hats?


Check out this cute ten-gallon hat. Ok, it’s just another fancy name for the cowboy hat.


Don’t you just love these super cute bags and pouches in the shape of summer fruits!

The next feature is about hand towels. Wait what…Hand towels??


Yup, Tenugui or Hand towels. These are usually thin cotton hand towels, usually 35cm x 90cm and usually printed with a repetitive design. They can be found easily in the 100 yen shops and also upmarket souvenir shops (with better quality fabric of course) and have many uses. You can use them as headbands, aprons, gift wrapping etc. They are so pretty and come in so many designs that you can buy them as souvenirs too. I can never resist them. In fact, I just bought some last week from Daiso.

It is a cute idea, but are they are pre-cut, you have to buy a few to make up one garment. The above examples in the book were made with 3 pcs each and are for sizes 100-110cm.  Tenugui from Hamamonyo.


These were the ones I bought from Daiso, the fabric is pretty thin though, I doubt you can make clothes out of these.


Another fabric special feature, this time by Andover fabrics. I am so loving the flamingo print on the rucksack that the girl is carrying.


It’s only a small picture in the book, but here’s a closer look.The grey bias and gold hardware goes so well with this beautiful print.


As usual, there will be a sewing machine feature. This issue’s feature is a Brother Sewing Machine – Compal 1500Q. We don’t get a huge variety of sewing machines here, so it’s always interesting to see ads and all the new features. Well, one can always dream. 🙂

Now for some details on the sewing instructions for the sewing projects.


First up, the size chart for all the projects in this book. 100-150cm. The size is in the first column in colored numbers, followed by the measurements in this order
Bust / Waist / Hip / Back length / Sleeve length / Rise / Inseam / Height. All units in cm.


For each project, the materials and completed sizes are presented in a very clear table and color coded as well. The first table is for Materials, i.e. how much fabric + materials you need for each size.
The bottom table is for the completed size of the garment.


As you may have noticed, many of the blouses and dresses in this issue are based on the raglan blouse pattern, so there is one detailed lesson for making the raglan blouse and dress.


Close up of step by step photos.

For the majority of the patterns though, the how-to-make is presented in colorful diagrams, which are just as easy to follow. The added touch of color and fabric print in the diagrams makes it instantaneously easy to differentiate between the front and back of the fabrics.



 Close up of the diagrams.

Cotton Friend Kids! 2016 Summer / Boutique-shaBuy now from cdjapan (affiliate link)

Title : Cotton Friend Kids! Summer 2016 Edition
ISBN No :9784834742152
Publisher : Boutique-sha