New Pages: Japanese Sewing Books Guide

I wrote a quick guide to start sewing from Japanese sewing books, and a list of Japanese sewing vocabularies ("vocabulary" is such a hard word to pronounce for a Japanese!).  I am hoping that these might help people who are intimidated by books full of foreign language, or when diagrams alone are not clear enough to explain sewing processes.  

 

英語圏の人向けに、日本の洋裁本の使い方について書いてみました。日本語〜英語の洋裁用語リストも作成中(途中ですが公開中)です。英語で洋裁について書く機会がある方や、英語パターンを使ってみたい方には、参考になる・・・かも??

Although nowadays, I mostly sew from new and vintage printed tissue patterns, my Japanese sewing books and I go way back.  Ever since I started sewing my own clothes in 5th grade, I've been collecting (or buying and not being able to throw away) sewing books, and part of my beloved sewing library moved with me when I came to America.  

If you are interested in sewing from Japanese sewing books, or you already own them but puzzled by their sewing instructions, these pages might be worth a look (I hope!).  Also, I'd love to hear about any questions and comments you might have about Japanese sewing books! 

Hover over "sewing" in the menu bar right under the blog title at the top to show links to these pages, or you can click these links here:

日本語〜英語の洋裁用語リストはこちらから。実は日本語の洋裁用語にはあまり明るくないので、自分のメモ的な感覚でこれから気づいたときに更新していく予定です。質問や間違いの指摘など、お気付きの点がありましたらお気軽にメッセージいただけると嬉しいです。

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Toddler's Winter Leggings

I made a pair of leggings for my daughter using a pair I bought for myself.  

The original pair had some problem I could not live with, but I loved its fabric so much that I decided to keep them to use as material for another pair for my daughter.  

 

近くのドラッグストアでレギンスを買ってのですが、どうしても譲れない欠点があるのに気付いて返品しようかとも思ったのですが、生地が気に入ったので娘のレギンスに作り変えることにしました。

I bought the pair of leggings from a nearby drugstore.  They were folded and wrapped in a cardboard band, so I could not see the whole deal before I bought them.  The second I opened the package at home, the problem was obvious--- terrible pattern matching!! The big borders did not match at all---or rather, it was as if the person was trying to connect a snowflake border to a dot border on purpose.  

The fabric had the really cute pattern and warm, furry backside, so I thought it was worth remaking it to something else.  So I just made a smaller pair of leggings, this time trying to match the borders as much as possible.  I was so focused on matching borders horizontally, and I actually forgot about matching the snowflake patterns in the center front and back. 

luckily, the center front doesn't look THAT bad---though of course, not anything close to acceptable if I was actually trying to match... (and the center back is worse.)  But what's done is done, and the problem areas were mostly hidden anyway when my daughter dresses up in her whole winter gear.  

Fabric: poly knit with furry back

Pattern: from a Japanese sewing book: "Mainichi kiru onnanokofuku" by Yuuki Katagai

Size: 100

Pattern modification: since the fabric was thick, I used one size bigger and shortened the legs.  

お店で大人用のレギンスを買った時はボール紙の帯がついていて、全体が見られない状態でした。帰って開けてみると、雪の結晶柄のボーダーとドット柄のボーダーの柄あわせがとんでもなくチグハグ!これは気持ち悪くて着られない・・・と思い、返品しようかとも思ったのですが、あまりに触り心地の良い生地だったので、娘のレギンスに作り変えることにしました。

よこのボーダーを合わせるのにばかり集中して、実はセンターの柄あわせをすっかり忘れていました!一生の不覚・・・!でもシャツを上にかぶせれば見えないし、娘は喜んで着ているのでよしとします・・・

型紙は片貝夕起さんの「まいにち着る女の子服」から。

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Thoughts on Sewing and Sustainability

Last year was a slow year for my sewing and creativity.  Partially (ok, maybe a big part), it was because I was taking care of a one year old baby for the first time.  

However, the biggest reason is that I felt guilty about creating more "things" when I already had so many.

 

赤ちゃんのお世話で忙しい、というのもあったと思いますが、たくさん物を持っているのにさらに物作りすることに罪悪感を感じて、しばらく洋裁から遠ざかっていました・・・

 I know it's such a cliche for a new parent to suddenly become all environmental -conscious for the sake of next generation (= her own kid) , but that's totally how I was and am now.  

Apparently, donating old clothes does more harm than good in some cases. 

I decided to use old clothes as waste cloth and salvage notions as much as possible...

I watched this great documentary film "The True Cost" (you can watch official trailer on Youtube here), and I passionately recommend everyone to do the same.  It's about (I think) the raise of fast fashion and the burden that's forced upon environment and people in production (often in the third world countries).  It opened my eyes to something we all knew in the back of our heads but ignored so we could keep enjoying cheap, disposable fashion... for what cost??

I pledged to myself that I wasn't going to buy from fast fashion retailers which exploit worker's rights and do harm to environment.  I tried to up-cycle my and my husband's clothes to make baby clothes.  I wasn't going to buy any new items for myself unless I really, really need them ---then I broke down and bought some cute t-shirts for my daughter from one of those evil retailers.  (She looked really cute in them, and sometimes you don't have time to whip up t-shirts...excuses excuses......)

So my attempt to be a really good, environmentally conscious consumer was failing.  And there was my "stash".  

Is sewing up a clothing item after another any better??  Probably.  It doesn't involve deprived, underaged stitchers in dark buildings with no windows.  But I don't know where my fabric comes from. Chances are that there are many many dark, windowless buildings that produce yards and yards of fabric for $2.  Isn't compulsively sewing up things that I don't wear many times the same as an irrational shopping habit in principle?? 

When you shop, you can really look at the fit, fabric, design, and how they all come together in the final product.  The problem is that it's hard to find something that's exactly what you want.  But when you sew, unless you are really experienced in both sewing and designing, it's again difficult to end up with the final product that's exactly what you envisioned.  

I have been considering pros and cons of these different options, and yet not come to a conclusion. This is the reason for my sewing rut that lasted for more than a year now.

 

 

But the truth is, lately I really miss sewing.  Sewing and creating is directly connected to joy I feel in life, much like meditation for me.  So maybe for now, I settle for a median approach: Consider purchases before actually buying.  Carefully plan and take time to sew something I'll really love.  Take care of things I already own.  Try to buy from small local businesses as much as possible.  

 

 

So in other words, I just settled for some common sense stuff after much ado of thinking and rambling to my husband... (Poor guy. But that's what husbands are for, right?)

 

 

"The True Cost" というドキュメンタリー映画を観て、ファストファッションの陰で汚染された環境や、人権侵害問題などについて考えるようになりました。(オフィシャルのトレーラーはこちらで見れます)

 

どんどん服を買って使い捨てにする、というのは論外ですが、だからって手作りが一番良いかというと、そうなのかな??と考えるところがあり・・・

 

第一布の生産過程に問題があるかもしれないし、結構経験を積んでも、手作りで「これ!」と気にいる物を毎回作れるわけでもない。試作品とか失敗作とか、実は結構無駄になる物もあります。そう考えると、完成品をよーく吟味して買ったほうが結局はいいんじゃないか・・・?

 

と色々考えたのですが、そうしているうちにたまらなくミシンが恋しくなりました。やはり私にとって洋裁は趣味、人生を楽しくしてくれる物・・・

 

じっくり吟味してから買い物をする。手作りも、計画をたてて本当に気にいる物が出来るように頑張る。既に手元にある物を大事に使う。出来るだけローカルの、小さな会社や個人から買う。

 

というのを今のところの目標にしました。ぐちゃぐちゃ色々考えたり夫に議論吹っ掛けたりした割には、ごく常識的なことをちゃんとする、という結論になりました・・・

 

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Yellow Turtleneck shirts for twin babies

I have twin baby nephews who are 2 months younger than my daughter.  I needed gifts which I can send to Japan via airmail without going bankrupt. After thinking about it for a while, I ended up making something my daughter wears daily and I consider to be some of the most useful pieces of clothing I made for her: turtleneck shirts.   

 

日本に住む双子の甥っ子たちに、クリスマスプレゼントとしてタートルネックシャツを作りました。

Fabric: yellow organic cotton knit from fabric.com

Pattern: from a Japanese sewing book: "Mainichi kiru onnanokofuku" by Yuuki Katagai

Size: 90

Pattern modification: the book suggests to just turn and stitch down the sleeve hem, but I did mock-bands to finish with serger.  

 

I used fusible web to baste the hem, and then used twin needle. 

I'm not sure if boys are naturally drawn to tractors or just giving in to the society's expectation, but my nephews are obsessed with them.  So naturally, I added iron-on tractors. 

アメリカからエアメールで送る料金がとにかく高いので、なるべく軽く送れるものを・・と思って、結局タートルネックシャツを作りました。甥っ子たちの大好きなトラックのワッペンをつけて・・・

 

型紙は片貝夕起さんの「まいにち着る女の子服」から。娘のために何度も作ったお気に入りの型紙です。

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