Sew Japanese Day.1 / Talk about FU-KO Basics. and the Origami Dress

This is my very first sewing series on Nutta and so far, so many things had happened already. Today is the first day and I needed to write my post today!

It was originally scheduled for 9th, Day.2 of Sew Japanese. Anyway, I already finished making this dress and did a photoshoot last evening. Phew!


This is a dress named “Classical Collar Dress” in the book below but I thought the name would be “Origami Dress” because it has pretty straight lines and the fabric has design of Origami (I thought one online shop said this pattern is called Origami but I didn’t see that name on Cotton+Steel site).


Today, I talk about this book and its author. The actual Japanese title is a “Girls’ Clothes I’d love to make”(affiliate link). This book was published in 2014 April and it is the first book for this author.

The author and the pattern designer of this book is Mayumi Minoha. She started sewing after her girl’s birth as same with me! And this girl, who is taking a cute pose on the front cover is her daughter. Wow.

(This is totally off the topic, but I’d been wondering why Japanese Sewing Books were using foreign girls and boys for their models. ‘Cause they are cute? They are cuter than Japanese girls or boys? But these are sewing patterns for Japanese kids, aren’t they? Well, Japanese people still have some complex about foreign (especially Western countries and cultures) countries and people. People behind those Japanese Sewing Books might think that using foreign models made their books sell more than using Japanese models. Maybe.

Anyway, I had that strange feeling about JSBs, so when I saw the front cover of this book, I felt like “this is the one!”. And knowing she was the daughter of the pattern designer made me like this book more.)

The size range is from 90cm – 130cm (almost 2T- 7T or so) and a few patterns have 80cm (18month or so) options. The book comes with the pattern paper which you need to trace adding seam allowances!

The author, Mayumi says she loves neutral colors, like navy, beige and gray. She doesn’t like printed fabric much, like one with small flowers or that kind of girly one. So most of the garments in this book are made with these neutral colors and solid (or with some geometric patterns) fabric. This is one of Japanese Sewing Books’ characteristics. Simple style, simple fabric and simple colors.

I love them too but I want to use more bold colors and more bold prints. I’ve been thinking there are great and beautiful fabrics out there which are suitable for Japanese patterns. So I used Cotton+Steel fabric and sewed up this dress.

I think the combination of the pattern and the fabric is just PERFECT.


And I’m going to ask myself same questionare which other bloggers will answer in their posts during this series.

1. When did you start sewing Japanese Sewing Books? And why?
I started sewing Japanese Sewing Books in Spring of 2013. I started sewing in December, 2012 with PDF patterns (in English). I searched for Japanese PDF patterns but I couldn’t find. Later I noticed some of famous and my favorite sewing bloggers used JSB. I liked their simple style so decided to give it a try.
2. What was the most challenging thing about this pattern (these patterns)?
Definitely the collar!! This pattern recommends thin fabric and I thought this fabric was enough thin. But it was still very hard to get crisp corners of the collar.
The photo above is the front view and the photo below is the back view of the collar. I especially love how the back of the collar looks.
3. What do you like the most about this pattern (these patterns)?
Very simple shape of the dress and again, the collar.
I’m sure this dress pattern will be great for many fabrics (as far as they are thin enough). And you can dress down coordinating it with leggings.
4. Did you learn something new from this pattern (these patterns)?
The author, Mayumi uses her own way to finish pockets.
This is how the pocket look inside of the dress. Yes, this is inside of the dress. Mostly, the pocket shows the wrong side of the fabric inside of the garment and you can see the seam too. Mayumi turned right side out and hide the seam inside of the pocket. It’s bit tricky and may be hard to understand (especially from the book written in Japanese). I’m not sure I like this way better (cause you can touch the seam inside of the pocket), but if you are planning to sew something from her book, be mindful about the pocket!
And the sleeves of this dress is finished with French seams.
Mayumi says “it is comfortable when you roll up the sleeves cause they are finished with French seams”. Hmm.. but it was hard to finish these small sleeves with French seams!
Let’s see inside of the book.
This is the instruction pages of this dress. The seam allowances are basically 1cm (3/8″). The under sleeve seam allowances are 1.5cm (1/2 + 1/16″). The hem of the sleeves are 2.5cm (3/4 + 1/16″) and the hem of the dress is 3.5cm (1 1/8 + 1/16″).
This book has photo instruction for the dress of the front cover, so it might be easy to understand her sewing style from making that dress. I was thinking to make that one but when this fabric arrived to me (it came by mail), I knew what I was to make.
The author, Mayumi lives in Kyoto, which is very old city in Western Japan. It has more than 1200 years and many historical archtiectures. I had lived there for four years when I was in the college. Mayumi lives in a historic home, which is called “Machiya” and she writes about the life in Machiya in this book. She also has a blog about her life and sewing ( of course in Japanese though…
I threw this photoshoot in the shrine as a respect for this book. In this book, the photos of this dress seemed to be taken in some shrine in Kyoto (there are soooo many shrines and temples in Kyoto).
We went to local shrine last evening. That was the first time (at least in her memory) to visit a shrine for A. I told her to wash her hands before meeting “Kamisama” (Kamisama is God in English but they are not same). She did so as in the photo above.
We walked through the woods… and met Kamisama.
Hope this post helps you getting know more about Japanese Sewing Books!
Tomorrow, there will be Ajaire (Call Ajaire) here and will show you her creation from Yuki Katagai’s book. So stay tuned!
Happy Sewing!

24 thoughts on “Sew Japanese Day.1 / Talk about FU-KO Basics. and the Origami Dress

  1. Annika says:

    very beautiful! i really love how the pattern and fabric go together…

  2. marisa says:

    Shino it’s divine! Such a perfect match of dress and fabric. The collar looks great, and those shoes coordinate beautifully! Now I’m extra, extra tempted to get this book.

    Regarding the child models in the Japanese books – I’ve noticed that the ones I have mostly use models who look (to me) Eurasian, and from what I’ve seen of Asian media, this is quite typical. While the Eurasian kids are lovely looking (of course they are! They’re models!) it’s a shame they don’t use ethnic Japanese. I really like that the author of your book used her own daughter as the model – she’s a cutie.

    • Shino says:

      Thanks so much, Marisa! I’m sure you can tackle this book easily 🙂

      Yes, I guess most of models used in JSBs are half Japanese and half Eurasian. This book uses other models but they are all Japanese and the author’s daughter is really a cutie.

  3. […] can also read Day.1 post, Day.2 post and Day.3 post […]

  4. Wagyu Burger says:

    I came here via Marisa’s blog! Thanks for this series and I am particularly happy to see this book has patterns in the smaller sizes (my daughter is 16 months old)!

  5. This dress is amazing Shino – the collar especially. You have matched the pattern and the fabric together perfectly!!

  6. […] wall behind your girl? It looks so beautiful. You can read another posts of this series. Day.1 Talk about Fu-Ko basics. and my Origami Dress Day.2 Talk about Yuki Katagai featuring Ajaire Day.3 Talk about Akiko Mano featuring Teri and […]

  7. […] those Japanese pattern designers. In case you missed what was going on last week, you can read it here. And during that series, I finished making a dress for A (Origami Dress). So. Next up is sewing for […]

  8. Piia says:

    Really love this dress. The fabric and the shape of the dress suits together and it is perfect also with a pair of stocking as well as without of with leggings 🙂

  9. I think your collars look wonderful and the fabric choice was perfect.
    Deborah @ Sew Much to Give

  10. joycandrian says:

    I just may have to look at Japanese patterns when I go visit my daughter…love your dress & the fabric!

  11. Olga Becker says:

    I love this, Shino! What a gorgeous dress in gorgeous fabric! loved reading your post too!

  12. wow, I’m so interested in this series! I’ve never sewn from a Japanese sewing book, but whenever I see projects like this I want to!! Maybe I have a daughter ;o) Love this for your signature style! I just linked up my all boy style and I’m loving all the other links! Emily

  13. […] (Origami Dress for A in September) […]

  14. […] This is pattern K from Akiko Mano’s book, “Girls Clothing”. The pants were based on this pattern (and the back belt too) but I thought it was too baggy so I used another pattern to modify the width. The pattern I used to modify the width is this next one from Mayumi Minoha’s book which I told about in this post. […]

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