Japanese (sewing) book review

31. Dezember 2006
I found out that my blog often is viewed by people seeking for japanese craft books (like my Mrs Stylebook o.o.) and I´m pretty sorry that they might not find what they want - Some information about the books they´ve seen on flickr or elsewhere.
So I decided to give (subjective!) reviews about my latest finds of japanese goodies, hoping you enjoy it.

travaux et mode

"Travaux et mode" ... Skirts, skirts, skirts. All based on the same, simple Pattern which is altered and embellished different ways.
There are no patterns in original size. You´ll have to draft the skirts pattern from your own measurements as well as you´ll have to play around with the embellishments, appliqués and embroidery. A nice book with cute pictures - quite inspiring to see what one can do with a plain skirt.
Drafting and sewing the skirt is pictured very well, so everyone can do it.
Also very nice ideas how you can refashion some of your old skirts!
Rate: Worth the money.

Black is beautiful

I can´t read the title, but I call it "Black is beautiful", because all clothes in this book are BLACK. Perfect for me, obviously.
Patterns are given in original size from S to LL. Measurements in the charts are taken from the finished piece, those are NOT body measurements.
This book features blouses, skirts, jackets and a coat. All things have a very clean, clear look and are somehow "Yamamoto", if you know what I mean.
Rate: Four of five stars. Though there´s nothing really "new" in it it´s very stylish and I´ll surely have an eye on getting more from Watanabe Sato.

sewing talk

"Sewing talk" by - guess! - Yes, by Machiko Kayaki. Another book from her, and again filled with beautiful clothes in a very simple style. This time, she features linen and linen blends with a crinkly look.
Rate: Well. She´s my queen, but this book surely isn´t her best.

crochet motif item

"Crochet motif item"
A book I ordered "blind", and that´s what I might have been.
Many things made from granny squares or crochet flowers and stuff. Pincushions, aprons, shawls, scarfs, handbags... I really like what´s inside (and I know you do!), but they use about 100 colors for each single crochet motif (okay, maybe that´s a little exaggeration). Hey - where´s the fun part? I´ll have to "weave in loose ends" till I die!
Rate: Beautiful. Wonderful. A feast for the eye.
I never ever will make something out of it. Still waiting for the fairy goodmother to bring me an automatic "weave-loose-ends-in-thingie". Then I might give the apron and the hoodie a try.

pattern magic

Last, but not least: "Pattern magic"... What to say about this magical book? It´s all about unusual ways to cut apart and alter a pattern, to insert pieces and to give pretty normal things a one of a kind style.
There are no patterns in original size. You´ll have to draft a basic sloper from your own measurements. On this base you´ll be able to draft and alter the patterns for blouses, pullovers and dresses.
Though the pictures in this book are pretty good, it´s not the "typical japanese step by step style", so be careful.
The photographs are very beautifully made and concentrate on the fashion. No fuss, no decorations. I love it!
Rate: THIS. IS. WHAT. I. WANTED. Worth every damn dime.

More pictures from the books can be seen on flickr.

*** FYI: Patterns will be too short if you´re taller than 160 cm, you´ll have to alter them. This counts for almost all japanese patterns except those you draft yourself! ***


  1. Quite a collection.
    As for queens: You're mine when it comes to dealing with those Japanese riddles. Your will to fight your way to the finished piece is amazing.
    Thus said I add: Don't make such a fuss about these ridiculous loose ends... they are done so quickly once you've stopped complaining about them ;-)
    And, yes, it's true, I love it, even those loose ends... I do, I do, I do, I do, I do....

    Guten Rutsch!

  2. charlotte01:43

    you wanted to see the quilt shows in heidelberg, yes, you do. don't forget the books, honey - and come soon!

  3. anea20:38

    what is size LL in German? 34?

  4. LL seems to be a 42 or 44, if I interprete the measurements right.
    It fits my sister, and she´s usually a 42...

  5. could you tell me where can i find these books (in the net)? thanks

  6. ana, it´s no secret, if you check the sidebar you will find links to great sources atcrafting japanese. they have linked to some great ebay-sellers there.
    you can also order very nice books at kitty craft or yesasia.

    hope this helped :)

  7. thanks madhatter! it was very helpfull. :)

  8. Hi Katrin

    I just found your blog - it's wonderful, thanks for so much interesting and fun information. I'm very interested in the book you call "Black is Beautiful" and I went looking on the two sites you mention, but I couldn't find it. If you have a moment and you remember where you got it, could you let me know please? I would really like to try the coat on the front...

  9. amanda, you're welcome.
    the special book you want is from yesasia.
    you may find it by using the name of the author as search term, that was the way i found it back then.
    if you can´t find it there it might be out of stock temporarily and you may want to check back again later.

    good luck!

  10. I already have 3 of the books and I was recently drooling over the pattern magic one at japanese amazon, but was not sure if it was what I wanted. I found your review accidentally and it helped me decide that I want this book. I think I should get the second volume too. thanks

  11. I'm looking for Japanese pattern books that are in English. Heard of such?

  12. Hello,
    I just discovered your website and I love it! This year is my sewing year. Now that I have written that down it is officially official and I have an obligation to make it come true. Anyway, the book that you call 'Black is Beautiful'looks amazing. The title is kinda hard to translate exactly but I think it is something like 'exciting (or heart-fluttering) black clothes'.
    A great Japanese book that I got recently that is available in English is "Carry Me: 20 Boutique Bags to Sew" http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781596681842/Carry-Me
    It has all the patterns in there too (way beyond my level though). Wow, this is a long comment!

    Amy in Australia


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