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).