Saturday, February 28, 2015

Handmade Clothes for Girls: A Sewing Pattern Book Review

One of my favourite Japanese Sewing Book authors/pattern designers is Yuki Araki. I have 3 of her books in Japanese (one which was translated into French) and previously sewed from 2 of her pattern books here and here.


Recently one of her books 'Sew Sweet: Handmade Clothes for Girls' (that I happened not to have in Japanese) has been translated into English. Tuttle Books sent me a copy to review.





Though I always love the pictures In Japanese pattern books, I usually have to skip straight to the pattern instructions as it is these diagrams and line drawings that I understand, despite the language barrier.





With this book it was a treat to finally be able to read Yuki Araki's words and understand her designing and sewing process. The patterns in the book are interspersed with little personal notes about sewing or her daughters, and being able to read and understand these added immensely to my enjoyment of the book.






Sew Sweet is a sewing pattern book with 22 patterns (as well as extra variations) for dresses, camisoles, blouses, bags, a hat, a jacket, shorts/leggings, skirts, and even two tops for women.






The layout of the book follows that of most Japanese pattern books. The pictures of the designs are at the front and the pattern instructions with clear, detailed diagrams are towards the back. The centre of the book includes general information or 'Sewing Notes' on sizing, tracing patterns, fabric layouts, marking and cutting, as well as sewing tips. There is also a picture tutorial for one of the patterns which includes details on how to construct a strip placket and stand-up collar.



The sizes in this pattern book are approximately from 18months to 6 years. (There's a very useful size chart on the finishedgarment blog which compares sizes across children's patterns, though Japanese patterns are not specifically included)




As part of my review of Sew Sweet, I sewed one of the patterns from the book, pattern 'C' which is a double-layered skirt with a waist casing and a ribbon casing. It is one of two patterns in the book that are not on the pattern sheets, and I was able to cut it out easily by marking the included measurements on the fabric. All the other patterns are easily identifiable on the pattern sheets and need to be traced.



To coordinate with the white/pink spotty fabric, I chose a chocolate and pink ribbon from janemeans. The ribbon casing is not sewn into the waistband on the inside which means the ribbon colour can be easily changed whenever the wearer wishes!

My daughter can't wait for warmer weather so that she can wear this, though it looks like she'll have to wait a few more months.




(Tuttle Publishing sent me this pattern book free. All opinions are my own. I have been happily sewing from Japanese language pattern books since 2009)




Pin It Now!  


  1. What a cute skirt Angela. I'd say your daughter will be wearing this with tights or keg gongs long before the weather warms up. I'd love to get this to sew for my niece (the only girl in family). She's just coming up to 18 months so would get lots of use out of it.

    1. Thanks Maeve, just to warn you that sewing for girls is very addictive ;-)

  2. So cute! I love the gathering detail with the ribbon.

  3. Thanks Cindy, I've seen the same detail on an older Modkid pattern so it great to try it.