Wednesday 25 February 2015

Japanese Sewing Books...

I love looking through sewing books, but my latest additions are a little different. They're Japanese sewing books. 

On a recent trip to Kinokuniya I just couldn't help myself. There were rows and rows of sewing books to choose from; all with beautiful photos and almost all of them written in Japanese. I bought three books full of kids' sewing patterns and one with women's patterns.

I usually find that sewing books only contain one or two projects that I really like; or a handful if I'm lucky. Look how many variations are in the one book. The first book is all about skirts, shorts and pants. Each project has a basic version and a slightly more advanced version, with suggestions as to how to change the style.

There is one detailed set of instructions showing how to make a pair of pants...

... followed by diagrams for each individual project. Both photos and diagrams are clear, making it easy to see the intended step.

All four books have the patterns on large sheets of paper. These, of course, will need to be traced.

The second book contains girls' tops and dresses, again with basic and advanced versions for each project. The pictures are a mix of photos and diagrams.

Sizing on all the kids' patterns is done via the height of the child. I've never made a pattern just with this measurement. Not sure how this will pan out, as I can't see any other measurements.

The third book contains enough projects to make a little girl's entire wardrobe.

This one has no photographs; only diagrams, but as with all the books, they are very detailed and as far as I can tell, show each little step.

The last book is for ME!!! I don't do much sewing for myself, but there are several patterns that really appeal. Think I'll start with the kids' patterns, though. It's easy to get away with clothes that aren't a perfect fit on kids - not so with adults.

I've never before sewn a pattern that's not written in English. I'm hoping that a combination of my existing sewing skills and the very clear pictures will produce some wearable garments. Wish me luck!!!

If you've ever used Japanese sewing books, I'd love to hear your experiences - good or bad.

... Pam


  1. I'm drooling!!! Eek. I need to get somewhere where I can buy books like these. I bought one for my daughter through Amazon and it is limited compared to these. What a find!

  2. I love Japanese sewing patterns! These look great! I'll have to add them to my gigantic wishlist... :) I co-admin a Facebook group for Japanese sewing patterns lovers. We share our sewing experiences from Japanese patterns and help each other. If you would like to join us here is the link: Can't wait to see what your're doing from these books!!

  3. I envy you! There are no Kinokuniya in southern USA :(
    The third book looks lovely and I had to look it up on Amazon JP for preview. The bow neckline dress has my attention! But there I found this book has so many errors. If you did not get the latest edition (I think 5th?), and your book did not contain the list of the corrections (usually a separate piece of paper), you will need to check the author’s blog( or the publisher’s site( for the corrections. The publisher’s site asks you to enter the code to check the edition. One reviewer says the instruction did not make sense but could work on the pattern using her experience. Some said the neckline is designed too small. Perhaps the model (the author’s daughter?) has a small head. I think when you trace the pattern, you should compare it with the patterns or clothes you know fit well. Good luck!!

  4. I have a nice collection of bag design and crochet pattern books. The Girly Bag book had me hooked just with the title, and the adorable designs inside were a plus. ;-) I dislike how much hand sewing is required though and will tweak the patterns so I can do it all by machine. Oh my, I can spend hours standing in the sewing aisle of the bookstores here in Kyoto...

  5. I've made a few things from Japanese sewing books, including the first book in your post and they've turned out great. The patterns are really simple so you can work them out easily enough. The size by height fit my kids really well, but they are both skinny half Chinese kids and fit the Japanese body style so that might help!

  6. I have seen patterns and books online written in Japanese for clothing and bags. I love the Japanese designs/styles. I have never purchased a book or pattern in another language though. But I know the Japanese do have a lot of photos to help you follow it. There is also a nice blog I follow all about Japanese designs and she has translated several into English. I bet if you get stuck with your pattern, you could at least email her? Here is the site:

  7. What a find! The pictures of the little ones modeling the clothes are so sweet too. You are going to have some fun with all those books. I hadn't thought about it before in those terms about being able to fudge with the fit on the little ones, but they grow so fast that it is much easier to fit them. In particular, if things are a little large, it can actually be a big plus! Have fun with those new books!

  8. These are gorgeous, really looking forward to seeing what you make from them. I love Japanese books too, the style of their crafting and making is so often incredibly elegant and simple. I've got 2 favourite quilting books with beautiful applique, that I couldn't resist purely for their pictures, they're not translated either so I can't understand a word of them, I blogged about them ages ago here -, if you fancy a look at some of the pictures. And I recently bought myself a book of grown up patterns - Stylish Dress Book: Wear with Freedom, Yoshiko Tsukiori, I haven't made anything from it yet, but like yours it looks great, with full size patterns and so much versatility - plus this one is translated, hurray!


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