Back in the days when I was a teenager and the internet did not exist to make ideas and products as readily accessible as they were today, I remember my mother’s pride in some beautiful Japanese knitting pattern books that were sent to her by a friend in the Japan. The glossy photos of feminine and elegant designs were presented so differently to the english speaking magazines I used to see about- presentation was everything.
Recently I ordered a copy of the Girls Style Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori (Tuttle Press) and decided to give Japanese sewing patterns a go. There are a number of these books which have been published by Tuttle in English- despite the fact there was pattern tracing involved (and adding seam allowances, a bit of an extra investment in time), I was undeterred. The patterns start at a size 2, I figured I would simply make a slightly smaller version of “Dress A” for a one year old in some pretty floral cotton I have had in my stash forever. Admittedly, I barely had enough fabric (!) so the ruffle is a bit narrower than I would have liked… ah well… next time).
As you can see, the design is simple- had I not needed to constantly stop and start sewing, it probably would have taken less than two hours to put together (but anyone out there with a toddler knows that sometimes such blocks of time are hard to come by- I have to be satisfied at times with doing things incrementally)!
The book is beautiful and the photographs are very inspirational and worth having for that reason alone… if you haven’t tried sewing with Japanese pattern books, I do encourage you to try them, particularly now that some of them are available in their english translations… I have to admit, I couldn’t help perusing a few in Japanese online and have bravely ordered a few… I am hoping I can decode the instructions armed with a little internet searching! I definitely plan to make more designs from this book.
Does anyone else have a favourite Japanese sewing book they would recommend? Would love to hear… I have also found a great flickr group, for your reference…