Thursday, 11 March 2010

Inspiration: Japanese Pattern Books

I received many inquiries from readers about Japanese pattern books I'm using in my sewing projects, so I wanted to make an entry on this to share yet another of my addiction J

In this picture are half of the books in my collection. Really, I am a junkie : P

Why I love them? The patterns are just so gorgeous! I am not Japanese and I don't read Japanese. Still, most of the patterns in the books are easy to follow, with the help of pictures and diagrams. Every pattern has its own diagram showing numbers that represent the steps. Example here:

The number 1 means you sew the neckline lace first, 2nd the bias ties, 3rd the elastic back and so on. The book will also show some details on a few salient techniques as well as fabric cutting guide (pattern position on fabric). Sizing for children's clothes goes by the height of the child in cm.

Every book has 2 or 3 designs shown step by step in colour pictures:

Seam allowance is NOT included, you have to add it yourself, there usually will be a picture guide on how to do that :

I used to buy the books according to the designs I see inside. Nowadays I go by how the folded pattern looks like. Because I realized that some books have patterns that tightly overlap each other that gives me headache just by looking, let alone attempting to trace it. Example is this one:

This one makes me breathe easier:

Be careful when selecting the books as I once received a book without patterns, yikes! This one was purchased online and I was surprised to see that there is no attached pattern to trace inside.

It turned out we have to draft the pattern ourselves, with the diagram guide as shown. The measurements in Japanese books are all in centimetre (cm) not inches. I've yet to draft anything from this one *sigh*....

The designs are always cute! I realised most of the children modelling for the patterns don't even look Japanese hmmm….and I think many designs in Japanese pattern books have French influence.

Some books offer mix and match suggestion:

Of course there are many with boys patterns included:

But I'm always drawn to designs such as this:

And I love the mommy and me patterns too! I just wish I am as pretty and slim as the mommy in the books though lol

All in all, these books are fabulous, but I still think that a little experience in sewing is needed as there are quite a lot of guess work to do when you try to decipher the step by step instructions. Complete beginner will have problems trying to make sense of some of the techniques. There are many blogs offering English translation of the Japanese writing on the patterns. Try and have a look at this, I found it really helpful when I first started using the pattern.

If you sew and haven't tried one, I highly recommend them. I buy my first 3 books on Etsy, and later locally when I found out KLCC's Kinokuniya bookstore carries shelves and shelves of these in their Japanese books section (and cheaper too).

Malaysian readers, if you ever find a lone woman making herself at home, sitting on the floor in front of the Japanese craft books shelves, browsing for hours, please say hi! :D

I always spend at least 1 hour browsing before I buy. Lately I am into their bag pattern books, oh my, I am so in trouble, I need to go to fabric and pattern books rehab or something….

(hear that? Me singing "No…No..No…" ala Amy Whinehouse haha).


  1. zura, gimme five!!
    most books yg i ada, u pun ada haha

    eh tapi kan i pun ada yg xder pattern, tp pattern tu kat the cover of the book, cuma ada pening sket nak tgk which is which sbb ada tu xder refer page mana, so kene main agak2 & lukis sendiri..

  2. mai, ahaks *clap clap*

    buku mana ada pattern kat depan tu ek? tapi sejak I jumpa yg satu takde pattern tu I memang careful carii yang ada je..coz tak daya le I nak draf pattern tu hehe...tak pandai... :D

  3. Lucky you! I haven't found anywhere that stocks them around here :(.

  4. bestnye..malangnya saya ni duduk neg. lain..hari2 ngidam nak g kino tp smpi skang xde kesempatan..huhuhu..t lau nak g, nak kirim bleh..hehehe

  5. Hey, I can;t afford another addiction! And these pictres you pout can certainly do that!
    I'll have to check etsy out now!

  6. Great collection Zura.. Though I can't sew clothes, i spend many hours browsing through the beautiful pattern books available here in Japan.. and it's not just clothes, you should see their books on preparing bento.. it's like a religion.. Japanese are such meticulous ppl..

  7. Oh, I'm a junkie too..big-time :)
    sweet addiction.. yay yay!! great collections u have.who know,we might stumble upon someday, browsing in japanese craft books corner :)
    *yup,they're much more cheaper in Kinokuniya than in etsy or ebay..*

  8. wow banyaknya collection u!
    i belum ada buku japanese ni. yg english pun tak terbuat let alone nak tambah jap book pulak.
    tapi, teringin pulak nak beli buat collection. can u suggest one for me pls, esp yg pattern dia tak overlap tu :)

  9. Gosh! That's an amazing collection! I too love the Japanese books. The photos as so delicious and I just feel like making everything! I only have two books though... and haven't tried them yet. Better check if the patterns are clearly laid out, not like that one you show with a million lines!....
    I really love your colourful sewing and it really inspires me! In a couple of weeks I'll have more time to go back to sewing!
    I do like that pleated mummy skirt and the girlspleated dress! Which book is that from? (With mum and daughter holding the little birds, swallows, I think?). The kids clothes are just irresistible!

  10. Oh I love Japanese pattern books. It all started with a copy of Cucito and it never stopped since! I've bought all copies of Cucito since I bumped into it at MPH (which sells less than RM30 whereas in Kino sells at RM50+)

    You can buy the books online from Kinokuniya. Click here to buy your favourite titles.

    I've bought a few other titles but nothing seems to beat Stylish Dress Book 1 & 2. I heard there is a 3rd book out...

  11. zura,
    bestnyer tenggok collection you nie. Iena ada gak japanese books collection. More to Child boutique & Cucito.

    Untuk info bersama kalau nak tau buku tu ada pattern ke tak you gi ke laman web nie
    klick kat buku yang berkenan pas tu ada description so tenggok kat situ kalau ada Full-Scaled Patterns means ada pattern. Mcm buku yang you beli tu memang di beritau tiada pattern.

  12. wow.. i love this post. i always wondering how and where to find the Japanese sewing/craft book. i've seen from some blogs but never found one for myself. i think the concept is the same with my Burda (BWOF) sewing magazine that i've subscribe. thnx for introducing these. i'm sure i'll be looking these soon :)

  13. Hi. I'm so glad I found this post. I've always been curious about Japanese pattern books, now I know what to expect. I think I'll have to go buy one now. See ya later...

  14. wow! Im jealous of all those patterns, and I dont know where around here that sells ones like those, but again i haven't looked that hard. You have some incredible patterns to play with, again Im jealous!

  15. hi zura, now I know why semakin berkurang jap books for kids !! dulu masa I first bought there were 2 rows, now there's only 3/4 left, one day we compare books eh :)

  16. zura which you rekomen? i nak try but nak design yg susah and detail sikit. i ni subscribed to ottobre so banyak pattern but i nak slim fitting nyer pattern cause si Ava ni kurus kering!

  17. Thank you for all the wonderful comment ladies! I'm totally feeling the love for Japanese pattern here lol...As for recommendation, so far I've only attempted patterns that's easier to trace. They come from the same publisher I guess. You'll find the ISBN in my previous sewing posts. These books' usually come with "One Day Sewing" or "Half Day Sewing" titles.

    FYI, books with highly styled patterns are usually the ones with tightly overlapping patterns (e.g: Girl Clothes, Girly Style Wardrobe, Francesca Amam etc)...but their designs are to die for! Hope that helps! :)

    p/s: Yes, I think I've depleted Kinokuniya's supply of kids pattern books lol, once there was a 20% sale on craft books I practically took them all. Oh well, I could always get back from Income Tax rebates right? *grin*

  18. sukanya tgk collection buku akak...

  19. Hi, can I know which book is the one containing the mommy and me patterns you showed above. I love it!


Hi! Thank you for taking the time visiting and reading. I love to connect with my readers and it's wonderful to receive comments from you. I usually reply here in my blog and sometimes through email.

I really do appreciate your comments, thank you and *hugs* :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails