Browsing Tag

back to school sewing

Japanese Fabrics

Japanese Fabrics – Printed Cotton Linen

January 17, 2013

There is a Rakuten fabric shop  called Stylistgoto that I follow on Facebook, and every so often it just tempts me with the new goodies they have in store. 😛 And right now it seems to be back to school sewing season in Japan because they keep posting these gorgeous cotton linen fabric perfect for making back to school goods.

A collection of fairy tale characters, in stamp-like boxes. Super cute. Check out the selvedge in the top picture!

I love these simple but colorful illustrations of fairy tale characters on a plain unbleached linen background. There are many many many variations in this fabric + print combination. Little red riding hood and the big bad wolf is a really common theme, but Pinochio is cute too. Can you read the words? It says ” I’ll be a good boy” and “You look very happy”… Mothers of little boys will love this print 😛

Another ballet fabric from Petit Ecole. I still have last year’s fabric, unused. But still cannot resist looking at more ballet themed fabrics.

Just to show you one more. I cannot resist cute+pink+ballet fabrics!

Ok, enough with pink. Here’s something for the boys too… Trains, and boats. It looks very much like something out of a little Golden Book doesn’t it?

I have yet to meet a boy who is not crazy about cars. So here’s a car print for the car fanatics 😛

There are lots of train fabrics every season of course. But I think this is so interesting. All the different types of train fronts. And some train crossing signs too.

For the animal + dinosaur lovers. I don’t know how they make the dinosaurs look so cute. I particularly like the color combination of the fabric on the top.

This fabric above is apparently a hot seller. All types of heavy duty vehicles. I have 3 nephews, I can’t quite understand the obsession with vehicles. But I know they will love this fabric.

I have to finish this post off with a fabric great for both boys and girls! Recognize the bear fabric below that I posted on my FB page? I bought it on my recent trip. It was not part of the shopping list, but when I saw it I knew I needed to have it. I don’t know what I will make with it yet I just needed to bring it home with me. Anyway, I took some time to decide between the pink one and another color (not shown here). Pink won in the end. again…

All the images above are from the Rakuten shop – Stylistgoto. Click on the pictures to access the corresponding item on their website. Or like their Facebook page to see their latest fabrics.


Back to School Sewing Patterns Japanese Fabrics

Japanese Fabrics – Character Fabrics

January 10, 2013

What makes a handmade back-to-school accessory even more special? The fabric of course! I have a weakness for Hello Kitty and Sanrio characters in general, but they are pretty common and in a way not so “special”. So today instead of talking about the popular characters, I will feature some famous characters from all over the world that have made their way to Japanese fabrics.

Image from Kyoto Kanariya on Rakuten

The Very Hungry Caterpillar! My kids love this book. I’ve read it countless times and we’ve even went to watch the theatre version by Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. See the “Example of Use” diagram? The fabric is printed with different illustrations all on the same fabric so that you can cut up different parts for the handles, bags and pouches. Cool huh? The fabric is made by Kokka in Japan.

Image from Kyoto Kanariya on Rakuten

Pénélope Tête en l’air – We first discovered this TV show on ANA’s in-flight entertainment and despite it being in Japanese, it was the only cartoon that my daughter watched over an over again. She loves the little blue koala!

Image from Kyoto Kanariya on Rakuten

Shinkansen is a character from Sanrio. It’s literally named after the 新幹線 which is the Japanese bullet train. This print is for the boys (and girls who love trains!)

Image from Craft Dream on Rakuten

My all time favourite. I remember watch Barbapapa as a kid on TV. I never thought I would see it again till I went to Japan. It seems pretty popular there going by the number of merchandise I can find there. I bought a new Barbapapa schedule book, and Kinder Surprise figurines. But I wasn’t so lucky to find the fabric this time. I would love to get hold of these!

Image from Craft Dream on Rakuten

The bears’ school is  about the life of 12 living bear cubs at the dormitory on the top of a mountain. Sounds cute already! I haven’t read the books but I keep seeing these bears in magazines like Cucito and Pochee, and I see the fabrics pretty often online. Both the author and the illustrator are Japanese but apparently the books have been translated to French and other languages.

Image from Kyoto Kanariya on Rakuten

Suzy’s Zoo is by an American illustrator but it’s also very popular in Japan. This is also produced by Kokka.

Image from Kyoto Kanariya on Rakuten

Last but not least, let me introduce you to a show called みいつけた (Miitsuketa) I’m not sure if this TV show is available outside Japan, but while we were there, it was showing everyday in the afternoon. My kids didn’t understand a word they were saying but they were nonetheless fascinated by it. There are 3 main characters. A weird looking cactus (or at least I think it’s a cactus), a chair, and a kid. Strange but true 😛 Take a look below…


Back to School Sewing Patterns Free Japanese Sewing Patterns Links Free Patterns

New Year, New Schedule

January 7, 2013

This is my first post of 2013. I’m sorry it has taken so long. This year we took our holidays one week later than usual. When we got back, there was only 1 week to finish preparing everything for the new school year, not to mention having to do it in between meeting up with friends and family for the holiday season.

For the first post of the new year I would like to share with you some changes in the blogging schedule as well as what I hope to achieve this year. For the whole of last year, I stuck to a 3 blog post a week schedule. Those of you who are bloggers will know that preparing for a single blog post, including the research and photographs, will take at least a few hours. When it comes to preparing free patterns and tutorials, it takes even longer than that. But I have always wanted to include more free patterns and tutorials because it would be more meaningful to have sew-alongs. In order to do this, I have decided to cut down the number of blog posts a week to 2. This is so that I can devote an entire week to preparing a sewing video and free patterns for download.

Also, to make the blog posts more organized, I am also going have different themes for each month. All the sewing projects, free patterns, book reviews and fabrics (and even some giveaways) will be related to the theme of the month. I will be posting mainly on Mondays and Thursdays, and the posts will rotate between free patterns, book reviews and fabrics as usual. I will still be taking in translation requests so keep them coming. In addition to that, on the last week of every month there will be a free sewing tutorial/pattern/video based on the theme of the month. I hope I can find time to pull it off. Wish me luck! 😛

For this month’s theme, it was a no-brainer. I have been doing nothing but back-to-school sewing for the past one week. I made a new pencil case, new wallet, new art apron and a new lunch bag is in progress. So the theme for this month is Back to School. 🙂

And to kick this off, here are some free patterns I found on back-to-school projects. These patterns are from a craft shop called Pirol that is located in Kyoto.


This is the link to the free pattern list.  There are tote bags for art, shoe bags, bento bags, water bottle carriers, simple drawstring pouches, rucksacks, pianica cases, messenger bags etc.

Browsing is easy, just click on the thumbnails of the projects you want to make and you will be directed to the individual how-to-make page. The patterns are usually simple geometric shapes so you can just draw them out directly on your fabric like I do, or you draft them out on paper first using the measurements given.

The instructions are not always very consistent. Some are quite brief like this one below, with most of the steps in point form and some diagrams. There are also some simpler patterns that have clearer diagrams. But if you have had some experience in sewing, it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out?

I know that not all of you are preparing for the new school year but this should come in handy sooner or later. You can’t have too many bags! 🙂

Well, that’s my post for this Monday, see you on Thursday with post about fabrics suitable for kiddy bags!