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translation of japanese sewing books

Translations and Help with Patterns

Translation Request – Military Shirt

January 12, 2018

The following translation request is from Shi-wei who was planning to make this shirt

from this book. Click here to read the full review

Patterner Kaneko Toshio No Honkaku Men's Fuku / Kaneko Toshio / [Cho]

Pattern Pieces
1 Front bodice, 2 Back Yoke, 3 Back Bodice, 4 button placket, 5 sleeve, 6 cuffs, 7 collar stand, 8 collar, 9 shoulder tab 10 right flap 11 pocket, 12 left small flap

finished size
(from left S/M/L/LL/3L)
chest circumference
sleeve length (see below for explanation)

The 3rd character in the second column was baffling to me. Thanks to, a kanji dictionary that allows me to search by radicals easily, I found the meaning

裄 (pronounced ゆき yu-ki) –
Noun – 1. distance from the seam in the back of a kimono to the end of the sleeve
together with the word 丈 which means length, so I think it simply means sleeve length, but I’m not sure why this uses the kimono reference and not the usual term for sleeve length which is 袖丈.
I’m not sure where the seam in the back of a kimono refers to here so it may be easier to measure the sleeve length on the pattern for a better gauge.

Cotton Twill (Army Green) 110cm wide x 210/215/220/225/230cm
1.3cm diameter cat eye button x 11pcs
Fusible interfacing – 60 x 80cm
Thread for stitching buttonholes – use #30 thread for upper thread



Click on images to zoom in. The parts highlighted in yellow are the actual steps in point form and too wordy to translate, so I’ve written them below.  In the above diagram, rs refers to right side of fabric, ws refers to wrong side.

  1. Make and attach pockets
    1.1 Place right flap pieces Right sides together and sew.
    1.2 Turn out to the right side and double stitch
    1.3 Make button hole
    1.4 Finish the opening of the pocket with a double fold hem.
    1.5 Fold in seam allowance, and sew the pocket following the marked position
    1.6 Position the right flap in the marked position and sew
    1.7 Cut the seam allowance to 0.5cm
    1.8 Fold the right flap downwards and topstitch
    1.9  Follow the same steps from 1.1-1.8, but refer to the small diagram on the left for the width of the double fold hem to fold down.
    1.10 Same as steps 4 and 5
  2. Sew front edge (refer to page 70 step 2)
  3. Make back bodice, sew shoulders together
    3.1 Place back bodice sandwiched in between the outer and inner yoke pieces, sew together
    3.2 Fold yoke piece up and topstitch
    3.3 Shoulder shoulder seams of inner outer yoke piece to front bodice shoulder (edit to add – the book says to sew inner yoke but the diagram shows outer yoke, it should be outer yoke)
    3.4 Fold the seam allowance of inner yoke piece, top stitch over the first seam
  4. Make collar and attach (refer to page 13-14, except that you should refer to the diagram on pg 72 (under order of sewing) for actual topstitch width.
  5. Make sleeves
    5.1 Fold the seam allowance
    5.2 Place cuffs on the sleeve and sew together
    5.3 Turn the cuffs to the front of the sleeve, topstitch
  6. Make shoulder tabes and attach to sleeves
    6.1 Place shoulder tab pieces right sides together and sew
    6.2 Turn out to the right side and topstich
    6.3 Make button holes
    6.4 Sandwich the shoulder tab between the bodice and sleeve, right sides together, and sew.
    6.5 Finish the seam allowances of both layers by serging/overlocking/zig-zag stitch
    6.6 Topstitch on the right side
    6.7 Foldover the shoulder tabs with a 0.5cm kise (I don’t know how to translate this but I found a good pictorial reference for this term キセ here)
  7.  Sew under the sleeve and side seam (refer to page 15, but refer to diagram under order of sewing for actual topstitch width)
  8. Finish hem
  9. Make button holes, attach buttons

The pattern above is from the following book. You can read the full review here –

Book Review and Flip Through Video – Pattern maker Toshio Kaneko’s Men’s Clothes

Patterner Kaneko Toshio No Honkaku Men's Fuku / Kaneko Toshio / [Cho]

button_buy-now-from-cdjapan (1)

Title : Pattern Maker : Toshio Kaneko’s Men’s Clothes
Author : Toshio Kaneko
Publisher : Nihon-Vogue
ISBN : 9784529056397

Translations and Help with Patterns

Translation Request – Daily Sewing Book

August 23, 2012

I received a translation request for a couple of patterns from this book – Daily Sewing Book

Daily Wear Jibun-de Tsukutsu-te Suki-ni Kiru. Watashi Tachi-no Mainichi-no Fuku daily sewing book / Quoi?Quoi? (Book)

The first pattern I translated was G.02 which is a slip dress with tucks and gathers in the front, and gathers at the back.

Note that when they mentioned border cloth, it’s actually similar to bias tape. The only difference is that for the front and back bodice the border cloth is cut on the grain and not on the bias. This could be the reason why it was not called bias tape and called border cloth instead. It is made in the same way (strips of fabric with the long edges double folded towards the center line and applied to the garment the same way bias tape is attached. However, since the curvature for the necklines is not very great, there is no need to use bias tape, whereas for the armholes the curvature requires the fabric to be cut on the bias so that it has more stretch while sewing.

Well, I hope this helps you Gee, and those of you who have the same book! 🙂


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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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! 🙂