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Bags or Zakka Sewing Patterns

Zakka fabrics – Ness Home

May 9, 2013

While searching for Zakka fabrics, I stumbled upon this site. Ness Home is actually a Korean brand and it’s all about Zakka fabrics and other Zakka stuff which is in line with our theme for the month. Even though it’s not Japanese fabrics, I just had to rave about it because their fabrics are just way too cool!

There are two sites – one in Korean which is probably their official site – and the Japanese site

I have bought Korean fabrics off Etsy before, and I really like how they present their fabrics. Most of the time you get lots of sample goods pictures which gives you an idea of what to do with them. In the Ness Home site you get lots and lots of finished projects pictures. Gives you all kinds of crazy ideas! Many of the photos are user contributions, as seen from the watermarks on the photos. All the photos below are taken from the Ness Home site. Do check out the links to the fabrics to see lots more finished product shots! There are so many cool fabrics and I’m not even done scrutinizing every single one. So I just picked out a few that I really like.


One of the bestsellers at the moment. 6 in 1 pack fabrics based on themes. There are 4 different packs and these two – Zakka and Sewing are especially cute (IMO)
I sometimes go blank when I see fabrics like this. I know they are cute but what can I do with them? Just look below for ideas. Lots of ideas.

Visit the website to see the pictures close up. I had to resize it to fit in my blog.


Many of the fabrics are printed in such a way that they can be used in multiple ways. Such as this cafe curtain print. You can use it as a banner or cut up the different parts to make small goods like bags, pouches, coasters, even skirts!

Coffee theme fabrics used for the skirt –

This would be a real conversation piece!

Crossstitch print –

I love this one. They look like food posters, so you can frame them up to brighten up your walls, or use them in your own zakka projects. The ipad cover is really cute! And imagine making a series of lunch bags that actually tell you what’s contained inside ;P

How about these quirky looking owls? They are sold in 55x55cm squares and you can make your own stuffed owls out of them. There are also co-ordinating owl prints in the printed fabric section as well.


This is a Nordic stamp print. The colors are so bright and cheery. Can you spot the tissue box cover and floor mat? All made with the same series of fabrics. Click on the link to see more completed projects made with this fabric.

Another cool fabric for the kitchen or house, or may even a bag!

There’s a lot more on their website. The korean site and Japanese site have different layouts and shipping options and I’ve not purchased from either before, so it will be great of any of you who have done so, do share with us your experience with Ness Home in the comments below.

Giveaways Japanese Fabrics Translations and Help with Patterns

March is nani IRO month!

March 4, 2013

I first discovered naniIRO fabric more than 5 years ago while fabric shopping in Odakaya in Shinjuku which is a craft and fabric store. Located near the cashier was a row of fabrics. The colors were colorful yet muted in a way, and the water color effect was just too gorgeous to resist. I stood there for quite a while deciding which to buy (because they were pretty expensive). I finally ended up with a red + turquoise polka dotted fabric. To be honest I have not made anything out of her fabrics yet because her fabrics are works of art and I can’t bear to cut them up! But I intend to overcome that this month by making something using her fabrics for the free sewing pattern+tutorial+video. Wish me luck!

Picture from Pochee 2007 Summer

I had the book (Pochee 2007 Summer) for a while and it was not till last year while flipping through my old books that I noticed this interview with the designer of naniIRO. Her name is Naomi Ito and in her profile she describes herself as watercolor painter+textile designer. You can view her works and gallery here. Other than fabrics (which include double gauze, quilted cottons, laminates, knits, canvas), there is even has an online store on the naniIRO website selling products for the home, kitchen, zakka goods and more. Check these lovely aprons out!

Image from

So what is naniIRO month all about? There will be a book review (on her patterns book), pattern translations (using the free patterns from her site), and fabrics of course. On the last week of the month there will also be a free pattern of my own that I will create and sew using naniIRO fabric, and a giveaway! The details of the giveaway will be up as soon as I get the details firmed up. 🙂 Be patient!

In the meantime, you can get started with a quick project using a pattern I translated a couple of months ago for a reader. The pattern is an women’s smock from the 2009 free patterns page.

Happy sewing!

Japanese Fabrics

Japanese Fabrics – Decolello by Yuka Saji

September 11, 2012

Have you heard of Decole? Well, truthfully, I hadn’t. Till I stumbled upon this sale item, and it was so cute I had to buy it. The discounted price helped too of course. 🙂

It was not till I searched for more information before I realized that Decole is actually a company that owns many “brands”. If you visit their website you may recognize some of them before. One of my favourites is Otogicco.

But I digress. So back to the designs by Yuka Saji, the brand is called Decolello. And her designs are full of cute little smiley faces 🙂 It’s bad for me because I cannot resist cute fabrics! I always end up with too many. And they are usually thick linen/cotton mix which is great for making bags and accessories but not for clothes or dresses.

These two designs seem to be from the latest collection. How cute is the cactus! One more for the wish list. Plus all the new brands and objects of desire I discovered on the decole website. I better write them down for the next trip!


Guides Translations and Help with Patterns

Fabric names translated from Japanese

March 28, 2012

I come across many comments while surfing for Japanese Sewing Books, that Japanese patterns are very pretty, the photos in the books are gorgeous, but the results always look shapeless and sometimes pajama like?

Not true. First of all, there are books with properly fitted bodices/dresses that are not loose and airy. It’s just that they seem to like this style alot (both adults and kids) so we see them very often. Secondly, when choosing a book, you may get carried away by the pictures, but you also have to look pass the beautiful pictures and actually think about the end product. Envision on you or your child and think if its a style that suits you. If you can’t carry off cap sleeves, or A-line skirts, then don’t buy it just because it’s pretty! It is pretty much like online shopping. You can’t try it on so you have to imagine. Sometimes the best patterns are made in prints you don’t like. But don’t dismiss it yet! With a plain solid fabric or just a change in print, it could become your favourite dress!

So the reason for this post is that I believe fabric choices are very important when it comes to constructing a garment. More so for Japanese patterns. The wrong weight of fabric, or even a different type of fabric can give it a different drape and not do justice to the pattern. So I try to make the garment in the recommended fabric and once I’ve made one, I can tell if I can use a different material as a substitute. Most Japanese Sewing books do include this information, so I hope this list will be helpful to you!

レース lace
ローン lawn
リネン linen
ガーゼ   gauze
ダブルガーゼ double gauze
シャンブレー chambray
ボイル voile
クレープ crepe
シルク silk
シャンタン shantung
サテン satin
タフタ tafetta
ブロード broadcloth
ギンガム gingham
ギンガムチェック gingham check
ソフトデニム soft denim
シーティング sheeting
チノクロス  chino cloth
フラノ flannel
厚手デニム thick denim
帆布 canvas
持ち手テープ acrylic tape for bag handles
カツラギ  katsuragi (something like twill which is thick cotton but lighter than denim)
ワッフル waffle
スウェッド suede
ジャカード jacquard
チュール tulle

Combination of words
Obviously the list is not exhaustive, but these are the more common ones I’ve come across in my books. There are also instances when they add the word 綿 in front of the fabric. The word 綿 simply means cotton. So if  you see 綿ローン it means cotton lawn.

Sometimes you will see the words 無地 in front of a fabric name, this simply means that this is a solid color with no print or pattern. When you see the words プリント this means “Print” which in turns means that the fabric is printed or has a pattern.

For example,
無地サテン Solid color satin (i.e. no prints or patterns)
プリントサテン Printed Satin (i.e. with patterns)

If you come across any other words that you need to translate, you can drop me an email with a snapshot of the word, I’ll try my best!

Last updated 25th April 2015