4 June 2013

Japanese Sewing Books


Don't you just love receiving a surprise parcel in the post? Particularly when they contain Japanese sewing books. Laurence King sent me these lovely books a few weeks ago and I thought you'd like to join me in drooling over the pictures (not literally, that would be hideous), with the pretty colours, covetable hairstyles, rabbit-in-the-headlights facial expressions and great line in clogs.


Above images from Feminine Wardrobe by Jinko Matsumoto


Above images from Stylish Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori

These are slimline paperbacks, with simple construction instructions, annotated diagrams, and a pull-out sheet in the back with full-scale patterns in four sizes (xs, s, m, l) to trace off.

Now, while I love a good smock (in fact, I'm wearing a smock-style blouse as I type this), and while they look just darling on these cute-as-a-dolly models, I do believe that if I wore one of these dresses I would look even more teeny-tiny than usual. Yet I really do love these designs - particularly that bow-front dress, the black embroidered peasant top, and the blue utility smock in the last image. What do you think? Shorten the hemlines and maybe the sleeves a little? They're just so cute!

37 comments:

  1. Giggle, rabbit in the headlights indeed! The styles are so cute, but seem so oversized on the models :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I`m whit Anna. Allthough I really love the designs, and wanted japanese sewing books forever (dont have anyone...) I cant stop but wondering if the clothes look as oversized in a size L as they do in the book, wich is probably a size s/xs....?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had my doubts too but I made a dress from Stylish Dress Book 2 and it was surprisingly wearable and I really love it. I did have to shorten it a fair bit to be flattering though (around knee height for me). I did also add a waistband but that was only because the fabric I chose was a heavier weight than suggested so the dress didn't drape nicely.

    I think the model in the book is scary thin. I am pretty small (160cm, size S in the book) but I have broad tennis shoulders and I filled the dress out pretty well actually. I really wasn't swimming in it like the pictures suggested I would.

    Anyway I hope you don't mind me linking to my blog, but here is the dress I am talking about: http://tifftoffee.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/salvage-mission-stylish-dress-book-style-a-dress/

    Let me know if i'm not allowed to that, I just thought it would add to the discussion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi. I just had a look at your salvage mission stylish dress - I love it. It looks great. I was in Tokyo recently and bought a pattern book - I'm inspired to try on out.

      Delete
  4. Gosh I would love to be able to make something like that one day!

    ReplyDelete
  5. oh YES!

    Helpful Blogs are:
    http://japancouture.canalblog.com/

    or in german:
    http://tanoshii-schneidern.blogspot.de/

    greetings from germany
    anke

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've made Japanese patterns for myself and they look dreadful without a lot of refitting. They are just too boxy,like a childs dress made big.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I see lots of very positive comments about Japanese sewing books...but personnally, I don't especially like what I see in these books. I'm not especially eager to look like a giant doll or an overgrown little girl. Does that make me odd?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh goodness, I want that Feminine Wardrobe book now! I'm always hesitant about Japanese patterns because although I'm quite small I've got curves which these lovely Japanese models don't seem to have. I'm sure the designs would look nothing like as good on me.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a surprise to see a post about japanese sewing books! Especially about the "Feminine Wardrobe" book - I have ordered "it 2 weeks ago (didn't receive it, yet - bookdepository.com is sooooo slow). I'm also having thoughts if these patterns would look good on me. I shall see. Otherwise, I'll just use the book as a source of inspiration. I'm sure interesting alterations can be imagined.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Everyone blogs about Japanese pattern books and it always gets me craving one for myself. There is just something about their simple style. I may have to find me one and try out a pattern.

    ReplyDelete
  11. i love them for the same reason as the above reader - simplicity and style know-how. The most workable one is the blouse with big bow, but all of them are fun and 'eye-candy' for anyone who sews.

    ReplyDelete
  12. They do look rather startled don't they! I can see the appeal if you've got the figure for them but as I'm tall and curvy I think the necessary size plus extra length would make me literally look like I was wearing a tent!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Just go for it. It's all about proportion, as you fit you will see what works for you. This advice is from someone who is the ultimate beginner sewer but I have seen all kinds work on short people like myself that would be a prima facie no, no. GO FOR IT. I reckon you will look adorable.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I know what you're saying, being vertically challenged myself, one has to be wary that one does not look aged 10. However I have read that the Japanese patterns are great for relaxed styles without looking pregnant (sorry, couldn't think of another way of putting that!) - apparently they have just the right amount of shaping. Maybe try something close to your current style then I can see how you get on!

    ReplyDelete
  15. so lovely to look at, I have made a smock style top from another similar book. I personally love them but rarely get round to making more than one or two items. The patterns themselves work really well if you prefer to make in natural fabrics.

    ReplyDelete
  16. NICE! Are these in English? I LOVE that massive bow tunic. Looks like they are a good resources for design details, if not for the whole pattern. I agree, I think you need to be careful with a smock dress style, on petite women they can sometimes look a bit child-like, and on larger or curvy women they can look a bit 'I'm heading to the fields to bring in the harvest', you know? xxx

    ReplyDelete
  17. Stunning Tilly just love them. Thank you
    Lots of love
    Dorothy
    :-)xxxxx

    ReplyDelete
  18. Lovely. Japanese designers do get the drapey thing so very nicely I think. I am sure whatever you make will look wonderful on you. Looking forward to seeing the pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have tried to make some blouses from another Japanese book. Everything was so tiny, and yet these women are swimming in the clothes. Even my petite cousin is too big for these, and she can wear girls clothes. Nuts I tell ya

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love the bow tied shift dress. I have spent this week grappling with a vintage pattern (size 16 my a**e) that has all gone wrong or maybe is was my bottom so I switched to my beloved crochet to make a summer shrug instead. Love your books. Jo x

    http://joeveryday19.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love the smock with the big bow! I agree about the smock dress, though. I'm 4'11" and I look like I'm wearing a feed sack when I try to pull one off!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Like all Japanese sewing books, they look ultra stylish, but I also have my doubts about the wearability of some of those designs. I love the craft books but, as yet, hardly any are in English so I have had to work with diagrams and fiendishly small print which I don't understand but need to peer at for the measurements. I did find a Japanese book on cartonnage recently which had been translated into French so hopefully there will be more translations in future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These ones are in English, mercifully!

      Delete
  23. I love the look of those designs so much but I do wonder if they're quite the right shape for me - things like tunic-y dress can make me look kind of short and dumpy. In saying that, perhaps time to take the plunge and mix things up? Books appropriately bookmarked.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love the Japanese crochet books they are amazing and I can use them because they use symbols for stitches which is great. I also have a Japanese friend if I get stuck too. I really love the simple way in which they shoot the projects too, thanks for sharing the pics.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Can I be a voice of dissent?! I'm kind of over these looks (ducking now). Yes, the styling and publication is nice, but I expect nothing less of the Japanese (they're really into presentation). The clothes are just too girlish and voluminous for my tastes and figure. I really like the first two though (kind of sixties and with more scope for DARTS!) and I'd be straight there with my debit card if there was a book full of those. Anyway, dissent over, have you thought about going down a size or two from the one suggested by your measurements? I'm doing this with a flowy top I'm making, in the hope that it turns out less swampy.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I love the giant bow tie tunic - so cute!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Perhaps try the smocks with an obi/sash/belt to make them a little more shapely and not so little girlish? The smock with the contrasting front button placket and an obi in the same contrasting fabric I imagine would look terrific!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Love the clothes in these books! I got the 'Manly Style' Japanese patterns book for Christmas but still haven't sat down to decode yet. Have fun with these Tilly : ) x

    ReplyDelete
  29. I JUST bought the feminine dresses book and I love the patterns! But, yes, I was noticing that the 'ease' was very, ummmm, easy? They seem to fit very loosely. I was thinking to just grade down the smallest size, the same amount as is the difference to the next larger size. What do you think about this? It should keep the same shape, just make it one size smaller.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I love the photos with the rabbit in the headlight look - so sweet! The clothes are beautiful xx

    ReplyDelete
  31. These are really cute and I think you need a petite frame like yours to wear them. They would look great on you, whereas I would look like I was wearing a tent lol. I think you should definitely give the sleeveless dress with bow sash a chance.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Those are adorable. A lot of those designs could be easily tweaked to flatter different body types. For example you could add darts to the waistline for a shapely figure (or simply a great belt). Or if your short than I agree it would be very cute if you shorten the hem and made the sleeve 3/4. In a bright color that would look kinda 60's mod which is having a moment. very cute. I agree with Thea though, these are designed for a small frame but I can think of so many ways to play with those designs to make them great for a wider variety.

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/CurvyTiffy?ref=seller_info_count

    ReplyDelete
  33. I've just bought this and a warning that the giant bow tie tunic we all love seems to be missing from the instructions and patterns :(
    I'm hoping to contact the publishers in the next couple of weeks to see if they're aware of this and can make them available. Bit gutted about that but having said that there are 16 other patterns I've bookmarked to make in this book. I am a size 12-14 (and as we know UK sizes tend to be flattering so probably larger in the way other countries would define that size). So - I'll be choosing wisely but I wear lots of dresses and tunics over leggings or jeans so am optimistic they'll work for me.
    It's pretty easy to enlarge patterns with tracing paper and compasses if need be but hopefully it won't come to that.

    ReplyDelete
  34. wow! I love smock-style dresses, and love the styles in these books, especially the tied-blouse with coat and cropped-pants..

    ReplyDelete

Feel free to chip in! Please don't comment anonymously though - you can leave your email if you don't have an OpenID. Comments on older posts are moderated for spam so won't show up immediately.