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japanese fabrics

Japanese Fabrics

Japanese Fabrics – Fabrics for Boys from

May 7, 2019

If you have been following my blog over the past few years, then the online store should not be an unfamiliar name to you! For those of you who have yet to discover them, they are an online shop based in Hong Kong selling all kinds of cute stuff, ranging from stationery, accessories, squishies, even stuffed animals, bento boxes and Japanese fabrics!

Most of their cute and kawaii stuff come from Japan, and when they wrote to me again asking for me to do a write up I was delighted! My boy is a big fan of trains especially the Japanese trains. I browsed the Fabric for Boys section and very quickly fell in love with this colorful sketches of trains fabric by Cosmo from Japan.

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Bags or Zakka Sewing Patterns Japanese Fabrics

See Design for Kokka Fabrics

August 8, 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about Japanese fabrics, There are many new collections to introduce so I’ll do it one by one! I’ll need time to sew them up as well you see…

Today’s post is about a fabric from Kokka fabrics, from See Design by Donna Gorman.


I’m usually not really a pink person so I didn’t think very much about it. But when I actually saw the fabric real life, I was immediately struck by how Marimekko it looked! I’ve always been a big fan of Marimekko designs. Especially the geometric prints. In my younger days I used to buy their bags and even bought some fabric for my stash. The fabric was soooo expensive that I can’t bear to cut it up.

And then recently, this popped up in my Facebook feed. About a free pattern project using the latest See Design fabric on Kokka’s English blog. The project is a balloon bag and you can find this and more free patterns from Kokka’s English website here But what really caught my attention…..

The featured project is a puffy bag in the shape of a balloon made with the seedesign series by designer Donna Gorman. Gorman, who worked at Marimekko for 24 years and is now active as a freelance textile designer, expresses her vision and contemporary design through the seedesign series with a variety of products.

So when I know that new fabric is coming in, I suddenly feel more daring about sewing up my existing stash. I even deliberately wanted to make it look more Marimekko like so I surfed around for Marimekko bag designs and found one in my Japanese sewing book. So here it is!


Presenting the tulip bag with two convenient outer pockets. A simple golden magnetic clasp enclosure. The original design didn’t come with any zips/closures but I wanted one to stop things from falling out 😂


As I wanted the bag to stand up on it’s own, I used byAnnie’s Soft and Stable foam interfacing (it’s a sew-in and not fusible). The lining is from Cotton+Steel Basics range – Counting Stars.

The pattern is called a tulip bag and it’s from this book (aff link to cdJapan)

Kantan, Benrina Tezukuri Bag / Boutique-sha

I hope you like what I made and I’ve got lots more yummy fabrics to show you soon! Till next time!

Book Flip Through Videos Book Reviews Japanese Fabrics Japanese Sewing Books

Atelier to nani IRO’s Sewing Closet – Book Review and Flip Through Video

March 1, 2018

It’s the time of the year again when the new collection for nani IRO fabrics ship. And this year there is another reason to be excited. After 10 years, she has finally released a new sewing pattern book! (You can read the review of the first book here. )

All the fabrics used in the book are from the new nani IRO 2018 collection. I will be going writing up on that once I get my hands on the fabric. And since we will be practically talking about nani IRO collection the whole month, I would like to declare this month of March 2018 – nani IRO month again!


I first came up with this idea back in March 2013 where I dedicated the entire month to nani IRO related posts, and oh my has it been 5 years already??? What will I be doing for nani IRO month? First of all, this book review, followed by a post on the new collection this year, and finally my very own makes!

In the meantime, let’s get inspired and hopefully this will help you decide which fabrics to get too! (If you haven’t ordered already)


This time round it’s for ladies only. Sizes S, M&L, L+ and 2L are included. It’s a little confusing, but I will explain later with the size chart at the end of the book review.


There are patterns for tops, pants, skirts, dresses, pantsuit, hats, coats and shirts. Well practically everything. It is the Sewing Closet book after all!


The projects are grouped based on difficulty of making – as indicated by the approximate number of hours you will need to make the garment.

A – Bias collar Tshirt
B – Bias collar Dress
C – Cocoon dress
D – Petticoat dress
E – Free Hat


F – Bias Collar Dress
G – Big Tuck Pocket Dress
H – Big Tuck Pocket dress with half sleeves
I – Tapered pants
J – Wide Pants


K – Tuck Silhouette Dress
L – Side pocket Long Skirt
M – All in one
N – Work Dress


Q – Spring Summer Staff Coat
R – Autumn Winter Staff Coat
O – Work Dress (3/4 sleeves)
P – Work Shirt


The outfits for each page are labelled below. Here is the Cocoon dress with the petticoat dress worn underneath. The main fabric on the dress is Camino in Double Gauze.


Big Tuck Pocket Dress in Grace (Linen)


Dress G in Ripple (Linen)


Dress K in Situation (cotton sateen)


M – All in One. This is basically like a pant suit. It is quite interesting and looks cool on the model. But I’m not so sure I can pull off the look myself 😛 The fabric is Situation (Linen)


Other than prints, there is a range of solid color fabrics under the new range – Naomi Ito Colors. You can find many different subtrates here – Linen Cotton, Cotton Sateen, Cotton Linen Herringbone, Linen, Cotton Linen Brushed Herringbone (something like the the wool used for men’s suits). The above skirt with side buttons, is made using the solid Linen color – French Red.


One of my favourite designs – Fuccra Rakuen is released in new colors and substrates this season. Seen here is the blue linen version, made into skirt L.


Work shirt in Camino linen.


Another one made using Situation linen – this is a lightweight coat for Spring/Summer.

Some pictures of the Atelier to nani IRO in Osaka. If you ever have the chance to visit and need directions, see my blog post here – Directions to Atelier to nani IRO


and now for the size chart. I’ll translate the important information below to help you decide which size is best for you.


Choosing the right size
* The attached pattern sheets are for the 4 sizes – S/M&L/L+/2L
* Some items may be grouped into 3 different sizes S/ M&L, L / 2L
or grouped into 2 sizes
– sizes S / M&L, L+, 2L
– S, M&L, L / 2L

Size table (units in cm)
Japanese Text in Left most column
Body part / Size

Confusing???   I was confused too… until I looked at the pattern sheets. Basically, first find out which size you belong to, first refer to the size table (above). You will notice there are overlaps in some of the measurements for some of the sizes. My guess is that it is done this way because most people don’t fall neatly into a particular size, so the table gives you a better idea if you should choose one size up or down based on all of your measurements.

The next thing to note is that, not all the pattern sheets come in the 4 sizes listed above in the table. Certain items have patterns that come in 2 sizes and some in 3 sizes – which means that some of the sizes are grouped into one pattern sheet.

For example, the first pattern A – bias neck T shirt, comes with 2 pattern sizes only. Sizes S, M&L and L+ make use of the smaller pattern, and size 2L uses the larger pattern.
The second example is more straightforward F- Bias neck dress – this comes in 4 separate sizes patterns, S / M&L / L+ / 2L.
The 3rd example is N – Work Dress. This comes in 3 sizes. S / M&L, L+ / 2L

The easiest way to tell is from the material list in the how-to-make pages. If there are 2 sets of numbers, there are 2 pattern sizes, and so on…  The other way is to look at the sizes separated by the backslashes. I don’t know why it has to be so confusing… but that’s just the way it was written.

There are many more garments in the book that I could not post here, so have a look at the book flip-through video!

ATELIER to nani IRO sewing closet / Ito Naomi

Title : Atelier to nani IRO’s Sewing Closet
Author : Naomi Ito
ISBN Number : 978-4579116270

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Girls Sewing Patterns Japanese Fabrics

Japanese Fabrics – Border prints

February 21, 2013

On Monday I reviewed two single pattern sets for Girls’ Dresses. Did you notice the fabric? It looked as if there were ribbons sewn on to the bottom skirt hem. But it was actually a printed fabric.

This type of fabric print is called a border print ボーダープリント (bo-da-pu-ri-n-to) The print repeat runs parallel to the selvedge. Note that in Japanese, it also refers to horizontal stripes. So if you search using the Japanese term don’t be surprised to find lots of stripes in your search results.

There are many interesting things you can do with border prints. You can use different parts of the fabric for the bodice of a dress and another part for the skirt, you can use it in tops, skirts, even pants to create an interesting effect. Some border prints are designed specially (such as heavier weight fabric for bags) so that you can use the different parts to co-ordinate the different parts of a bag. But since this month is Girls’ dresses month, lets look at a few border print fabrics suitable for girls dresses!

I have this fabric in my stash. I can’t even remember how much of it I have because I cannot bear to cut it up. So it stays in the stash 😛

This fabric was featured in Cucito, Spring 2012. It’s really sweet and I like how the bottom border is beige instead of a pink or red. I would love to use this fabric for myself!

Looks like flowers is a very popular theme on border prints. I like this one because the flowers look like they are from a watercolor painting. This was featured in Cucito 2012 Spring too.

Flowers again! But I had to show you this one. It’s so colorful and the flowers look like they are embroidered on. I love the colorful strips near the selvedge. Very folksy and happy fabric! Would be lovely on a girl’s dress!

This one has flowers too but it is a little different, because it has a scallop lace edge. I saw this fabric last year, with the pattern by Yuki Araki. The fabric alone looks more suitable for an adult. It’s cotton lawn and a little thin, but it does look cute on the girl’s dress too.

Something a little less flowery. This one is called piano polka, if I’m not wrong I have seen this in Cucito too.

I know many of you have asked about buying fabrics online from Japan especially the fabrics I have featured on my site. I hope to post a guide soon about how to buy from Rakuten shops that do not ship out of Japan. I am waiting for my fabric order to arrive so I can tell you all about it!

Next week will be the last week of February, so there will be a free pattern+tutorial+video for you to sew-along to. See you back here on Monday!

Girls Sewing Patterns Japanese Fabrics

Japanese Fabrics – Double Gauze

February 7, 2013

In line with Girls’ Dresses month, I will be talking about some fabrics used for making girls’ dresses. Have you noticed that in most of the Japanese sewing/pattern books for girls, they tend to use rather muted colors, plain solid color fabrics or simple prints like geometrics and florals. When I first started buying fabrics, I used to get attracted to these cute characters and girly features like strawberries and ribbon bows. But these are hardly seen in books. Character and cute prints are usually used in magazines like Cucito where the projects are used to showcase new fabrics for fabric stores.

One commonly seen type of fabric in many of the books and patterns, is the double gauze fabric. I have never seen this fabric in Singapore other than the shops that import Japanese fabric, and even then the selection is very very limited. In Japan this fabric is very common and it comes in all kinds of prints and colors.

Japanese word of the day – ダブル(da-bu-ru) ガーゼ (ga-ze). Directly translated from the word “double gauze”, it is sometimes labelled as W-ガーゼ on fabric labels, I guess “W” is a short cut way of saying ダブル. 🙂 Double gauze is exactly what it is, two layers of gauze. Gauze alone is too sheer and too thin to have considerable “body”, but two layers is just right, and oh so soft! The draping of the fabric is a little like linen, where it has some “body” but while linen takes many washes to soften up, double gauze is already soft. It does have a little bit of a crinkly look after washing though, you can iron it but it is not easy to get all the crinkles out.

Here are some double gauze fabrics I found on the internet. Click on the images to see the source and other color options.

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