(pictures from Sanae Ishida)
Shortly after I started following sewing blogs, I started to notice that some of my favorite seamstresses were sewing gorgeous clothes from Japanese pattern books. I was drawn to the classic, simple and beautiful style and aesthetic, but I didn’t understand how people could construct such elaborate pieces without being able to read Japanese. Since most of them seemed like they were able to figure it out using the diagrams, I thought I should give it a shot too. So I picked up a couple of books (and trust me, this is one of the harder tasks when you start looking at all the adorable choices that are out there!) and as soon as I cracked them open, I felt completely overwhelmed and lost.
I picked a simple garment, one that I could do even without directions, but left and right, I was faced with questions – what size should I make? How much fabric do I need and will I need other notions? Where do I find the pattern pieces I need on this crazy puzzle of a pattern sheet? (OK, they fit pattern pieces for like 20 garments on one piece of paper, it’s intense!) I have to add my own seam allowance!? And so on . . .
I clumsily worked my way through the directions and ended up with the tank top in the top picture. It was way too big. But it was an accomplishment and (now that it actually fits her) is one of her most worn tops. I just wished I had someone to walk me through the steps and answer all my questions as I tried to decode each piece of the pattern and directions.
So that’s where this series comes in! Like I said, there are TONS of amazing Japanese sewing books out there and I feel like they are a largely untapped resource – intimidating and not accessible to many of us. So I’ve invited 5 friends to help answer some of the most basic questions about sewing with Japanese patterns and basically walk you through the entire process! Isn’t that sweet of them!? I think you’ll be pleased with my line up . . . I know I am! The lovely and talented ladies who will be joining us from March 25-29 are:
Between the six of us, we represent a pretty wide range of experience with Japanese patterns, from total beginner (me) to super advanced pros (umm . . . some of these other ladies). So no matter where you fall, I think this series will have something for you! Not only will they be sharing their knowledge with us, but also some of their own handmade goodies from Japanese sewing books to provide us with PLENTY of inspiration.
And to get us started with some inspiration, I’ve started a Japanese Sewing Book Inspiration Board on Pinterest that the ladies have helped fill up with beauties for your viewing pleasure.
You should also check out Sanae’s blog post about her amazing Japanese Pattern book collection. After you finish drooling over her books maybe you can even order a book or two now so you can sew along with the series? And this flickr pool has tons of kids clothing sewn from Japanese patterns!
Next week, I’ll start off with a little “pre-party” and share some of the things I’ve made from Japanese sewing books. So until the series starts in 2 weeks, please go check out all the gorgeousness on my guests’ blogs and the pinterest board to whet your appetite. And stay tuned, because I have a couple of giveaways coming up too! You really aren’t going to want to miss any of it 🙂
So tell me,
– Do you sew with Japanese patterns?
– What big questions do you have about sewing from Japanese patterns?
– Do you have something you’ve sewn from a Japanese pattern that you want us to add to the pinterest board? If so, leave a link in the comment section!
Please feel free to spread the word about the series. I really hope that this can become a great resource for seamstresses everywhere. I can’t wait!