Monday, March 28, 2011

Japanese Sewing Patterns

I love Japanese sewing books.
Sewing using the wonderful Japanese pattern books like Drape Drape is economical-14 patterns for around $28.00- that's less then $2 per pattern. Also, the designs a beautiful and modern. 
So allow me to share my passion for these great books with a walk through of garment making.

Frightening at first, a dozen patterns on one sheet takes a little getting used to. Pattern pieces are always numbered around the edge of the sheet. Looks like modern art or the Nazca Lines in Peru.

Highlighting the pattern pieces makes the whole process a lot easier. Use a different colour marker for each new garment.

With Pattern Magic, there is only instructions- it's up to you to create the patterns from scratch. This is highly rewarding and time consuming. Most books have patterns ready to go.

Using a French Curve and a straight edge is the best way to duplicate the pattern onto tracing paper. Freehand is just not accurate enough. 
This is the best time to add seam allowances. You will find most are 1cm (It's all metric). If the fabric layout image (in the book) has no indication then it is 1cm, otherwise seams will be indicated with a number- 0.6cm for necklines or perhaps 3cm for hems.

Mark all details on the pattern pieces. Eventually you will have a mountain of patterns so it pays to stay organised from the start.  I keep all my patterns flat in a very large card folder.

(Wearing a Circle- Pattern Magic 2)

Next it's muslin time. Cheap fabric can always be found at thrift stores for making samples. Sometimes I hem the edges, most times not. It's really about do the pieces fit together? (Pattern Magic!) and does the garment fit? 
(Twist turn turn top- Pattern Magic 2)

Better to mess up on $2 a meter than a $20 wool jersey. 
I'm loving the dress below on my partner and looking forward to finding the perfect fabric for the project.

(Twist turn dress- Pattern Magic 2)

The French site (Thank goodness for Google Translator !)  Japan Couture Addicts is a good place to see many of the great clothes from these books. 

Here is some common sewing terms in Japanese, translated. 

Hope you are inspired to explore these great pattern books!

For more Japanese patterns...
Check this post too.
Wearing a Triangle pattern 
wearing a Square.