Browsing Tag

how to make

Translations and Help with Patterns

Translation Request – M-pattern cape

July 4, 2012

Today’s translation request is from Ritisha who wanted to make a cape. This pattern is from There were quite alot of pages included in this pattern, including some sewing guides but I will only focus on the actual steps and any other important points needed to make the cape. She wanted to make style I, so here are the size chart, materials and steps involved.

Size chart and and Materials needed

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Translations and Help with Patterns

Translation Request – V-neck Straight Dress

June 27, 2012

Today’s translation request is from Ritisha, who needed some help with the following nani IRO pattern. I love nani IRO fabrics, but have never sewn with one (because I cannot bear to cut that single piece I have stashed away), and it was only after doing this translation that I realized it was slightly narrower than the usual fabrics (106cm vs 110cm). So there are two cutting diagrams depending on which fabric you use. Interesting!

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Free Japanese Sewing Patterns Links Free Patterns

Free Japanese Sewing Patterns – Sel et Sucre

June 18, 2012

Have you heard of a bag-in-bag? Do you have a bag-in-bag?

Well, a bag-in-bag is basically a smaller bag that has lots of pockets and compartments that allows you to sort everything out and be super organized! It’s great for keeping all the important things like your mobile phone, cards, wallet. Not only does it keeps you super organized, but it is a great grab and go bag when you can leave your larger bag in the office when you head out to lunch.

Want to make one? Grab your free pattern from this site – Sel et Sucre. This free pattern is provided by a lady named Rica who makes the most amazing bags. You can have a look at the rest of her creations from the main site here

The bag can be carried by the handles from the top, but there are also two hooks at the side for attaching a strap.

Step by step photographs for instructions!

And here’s showing you how to click on the links. The first link is for the pattern download. The other two are for the instructions.

Happy Sewing!


Translations and Help with Patterns

Translation Wednesdays!

May 16, 2012

I know that despite the best translation guides and dictionaries, sometimes it is still hard to deciper a pattern especially when you pick up a book like this. Some books provide great step by step picture, but this book gives me a one page “how-to-make”, with no step by step diagrams. I’m suppose to guess what to do with the numbers pointing at the coat? Actually, all the instructions are on the left, but in Japanese. If you have one of these books you probably bought it for the pretty pictures. But given that these books are not cheap, let’s try to make the most of them by actually making something from it!

I have mentioned before that I am not Japanese, nor am I proficient in the language. In fact, I can hardly speak it except for the phrases that recur in dramas 🙂 But I have learnt enough to read and understand, and when necessary, input the characters into a translation or online dictionary for translations.

As a matter of fact, I have just decided to be more conscientious in my learning of the language since I really love it, and it will certainly help during my trips to Japan. So as part of my learning exercise, I would like help some of you translate patterns/sections out of Japanese sewing books. It will be good practice for me, and you can finally make something out of the book!

In order for the translations to be helpful to everyone, I will only do translations for how-to-make pages like the above, where the materials, preparation, and procedures are listed. Alternatively, you are are stuck trying to figure out the meanings on pages where important information, such as sizing/general know-how, I can try to translate it for you too. Please try to restrict the number of pages to 1-2 pages. As that’s the usual number of pages for how-to-makes in Japanese sewing books. Hope you understand that it takes time and I can only handle 1 request a week! 🙂

To send me your requests, please take a clear picture of 

1. The cover of the book
2. The page you wish to translate
Please also provide the ISBN number so that I can find references of it on the internet and link it up so that others who would like the purchase the book can find it.

Email all of the above information to
I can’t promise to be able to translate everyone’s requests but I will try to do one a week and post it up on the blog on Wednesdays. Send me your requests now! 🙂

Sew-along Sewing Tutorials

My First Sewalong!

May 3, 2012

One of the great suggestions from the Mother’s Day Book Giveaway was to have a sew-along. Originally, I wanted to do a sew-along that will use pattern from a Japanese sewing book so that we can go through the entire process of deciphering the instructions together . However, it will be hard to decide which book or which pattern to make since we may not all have the same books. So I thought about making a bag, as they are usually constructed of simple shapes. But I felt a simple rectangular looking bag will not be “fancy” enough for a sew-along 🙂 Then I wondered, what if the pattern was too difficult, and too complicated to photograph and show the individual steps? I better start with something simple for my first sew-along. Ok I think too much… So instead of thinking, I looked into my bag making bible… I love this book because there are many different basic bags+variations demonstrated with step by step photographs. I need to do a review on this book soon.

And decided on this…

In the book, it’s called a granny bag. But I think it can look quite girly and pretty with the right fabrics.

The original pattern in the book was too big to fit onto a single sheet of paper, and I didn’t want to just copy the pattern as it would be infringing on the copyright. So how do I provide a copy of the pattern to everyone? I constructed my own pattern, using a vector drawing program, and made it out of simple arcs and lines. The design concept is the same, but the size is smaller (so that it can be downloaded and printed on A4/letter size paper) and the shape is slightly different because I just estimated the arc lengths and positions. It took some additional time because the measurements for the straps and cloth are different from the one in the book and I had to test the pattern out first. The completed bag will have a inner pocket and be just the right size for carrying your little things. You can scale this up to make a larger bag, or longer handles so that you can shoulder-carry it.

My first prototype!

The lining and the inner pocket.

It’s a really fast and easy bag to make, great for beginners. The more advanced sewers will find it a breeze. But whether you are a beginner or advanced sewer, the bag is cute and you want it! The finished size by the way, is about 28cm (W) x 24cm (H) x 7cm (D). It’s a perfect everyday bag for your wallet, keys, a paperback (or kindle), a foldable umbrella even.

I will be breaking down the sew-along into three different days. The project can be done pretty quickly but I hope to be able to go into more details which may be helpful for those making bags for the first time.

In the meantime, get your fabrics ready! For bags, it is better to use thicker fabrics. But bear in mind that at certain points (where bag straps overlap) your machine may have to deal with going through 10 layers of fabric. The fabrics I used for the above were Japanese linen. Which hold up pretty well even though I did not use interfacing. Cotton duck/canvas/twill are great for the exterior as they are thicker and have more body, but medium weight cottons are fine too. I would recommend using interface for medium weight fabrics as the bag may end up too floppy.

Don’t use thick fabrics for all layers to prevent too much bulky sewing – i.e. don’t use the same thick fabric for interior+exterior+handles. Use a combination of thick for exterior and medium weight cotton for inside, but stay away from fabrics that are too thin for the inner lining as it may break easily with wear and tear.

I will list down the materials now so that you can prepare them over the weekend.

1. Exterior bag fabric  – 40cm x 80cm
2. Interior bag lining fabric – 40cm x 80cm
3. Fabric for bias (used across opening as well as handles) 50cm x 60cm.
4. Pocket – 12cm x 13cm* (You can choose either to use the exterior or interior bag fabric, or even another fabric. It’s entirely up to you!)
5. Interfacing (for bag body if using normal weight cotton) – 40cm x 80cm
6. Interfacing for handles (27cm x 12cm)

*Note : For the pocket size, it is also entirely up to you how you large you want the pocket to be. I made this to fit my iphone as I hate having to throw my iphone in with my keys and wallet. But it might be too small for you. As this only requires a small piece of fabric, I suggest that you cut out the main bag fabric first, and decide how big you want your pocket to be before cutting it out. Just add 1cm seam allowance to the right, left and bottom, and 2cm on the top.

In case you are wondering, 1 inch = 2.54cm. I did think about doing everything in inches but I figured, we should stick to the Japanese convention because we are going to move on to  more complex sew-alongs (hopefully!) following a Japanese sewing book, which has everything in cm, and it will be a nightmare to try to convert every single dimension to inches, so we should get used to it! Nevertheless, if you need help converting all those figures, just let me know in the comments below and I’ll list them out for you as well.

I have so much more to say about the fabric choices but I will let you digest this first and go into further details during the sew along when we actually cut out the fabrics on Monday! If you have a large piece of fabric to play with, don’t cut it just yet! There are certain things to look out for when cutting fabrics for a bag. Will do that together during the sew-along. If you are using leftover fabric scraps, then just make sure you have enough as this is the minimum amount required.

If you haven’t seen it yet I have started a flickr group as well  so I would love to see everyone’s sew-along on it. You can post links to your blog there too so that we can all share our progress as we sew-along.

To sign up, just leave a comment below if you are going to sew-along! Happy Sewing! 🙂

Grab the buttons below and post them on your blog if you have one! Spread the word! The more the merrier 🙂 Let me know if you need help putting it up on your blog as well. sew-along