Sew Japanese Day.3 / Talk about Akiko Mano Featuring Teri and Marta

Today is the Day.3 of Sew Japanese and I have two bloggers to feature, Marta (Do Guincho) and Teri (Climbing the willow).

Today’s Japanese pattern designer is Akiko Mano. She had published two books.


“Cute girl clothes” was published in 2008 (in Japan). There are 23 patterns including bags and underwear. Size range is from 100cm – 130cm.

I had made this blouse from this book using thrifted linen shirt as a fabric.


The second book is Linen, Wool, Cotton Kids: 21 Patterns for Simple Separates and Comfortable Layers. And this book will be published in English this November! (and it is already translated to French)


I had made the dress which originally had the ribbon around neck but changed it to linen pieces and added Sashiko stitch on it.


This book has 21 patterns, which includes dresses, tops, pants, skirts and even a jacket. There are patterns for the vest and the poncho other than the jacket, so it must be great to sew fall and winter wardrobe from this book. This book also comes in 100cm – 130cm size range.

The author and the designer, Akiko Mano was born as a daughter of an apparel manufacturer. She started sewing with her baby’s birth and learned the pattern making. Now it seems like that she makes women’s garments to sell occasionally. Her site is here but seems not so active.

Her style is very simple and layerable. Like other Japanese Sewing Books, most of the fabric used in the books are linen and it seems like she likes to use wool (ウール or リネンウール) fabric too.

According to Cherie’s Japanese Sewing Series, the layout style is 5 (you can see it here). The diagram in her book is simple too. It might be a bit hard to understand whole instruction (as Teri said so in her QandA). The author prefers to finish seams and attach interfacing first, so the instructions say so. Let’s see inside of both books.

In “Cute Girls’ Clothes”, step.1 in the instruction of most of the patterns is “Attach interfacing. (接着芯をはる)” (orange underlined sentence). And step.2 is “finish the seams.(縫い代を始末する)” (green underlined one)


In “Linen, Wool, Cotton Kids”, there is separate instruction for attaching interfacing and finishing seams as “Preparation(準備)” (orange rectangle area).


Now it’s time to see what Marta and Teri made from these books!

First, you will see what Marta had made for her two daughters. Please read her Q and A too. Then, you’ll see Teri’s creation next!



When did you start sewing Japanese Sewing Books? And why?

Right after I started sewing, I spotted a couple of Japanese Sewing Books (French editions, can you believe it?!) in my local store. I completely fell in love not only with its patterns but also with the photos, the styling and the sweet look of all Japanese kids! So I’ve been sewing Japanese patterns for quite a while. Maybe about 4 years… And, what a coincidence, my first sewing book was the one I’ve today: Jolies Tenues Pour Filles Coquetes, a French edition, of course!

(note: actually, as I wrote in my post yesterday, most of models in Japanese Sewing Books are not Japanese 😦 I think some of them are half Japanese and half Eurasian. They are cute, anyway)

What was the most challenging thing about this pattern (these patterns)?

I have to say theses tunics were quite easy to make. Of course I cheated a bit as I was sewing with French instructions…

What do you like the most about this pattern (these patterns)?

The ties on the back are definitely my favorite detail! I also love the way the back panels show just a little bit more skin then usually. It gives such a fresh touch to these tunics!


Did you learn something new from this pattern (these patterns)?

I’ve learned something really important: the fabric influences greatly the final garment! The photo on my book showed a tunic made with a very light fabric but I’ve decided to use this lovely Japanese linen (from my favorite Japanese online store: Miss Matatabi). My fabric is a lot thicker and drapes in such a different way… But I have to confess I love these tunics and so do my daughters!





I’m Teri from Climbing the Willow.  I just want to give a big thank you to Shino for inviting me to be part of this series!  I love Japanese sewing books, and they are quickly becoming my go to source for patterns for Mae.  Although I have sewn from several Japanese patterns in the past, this was my first time sewing anything from the book Cute Girls Clothes.


I originally saw a version of this shirt over at Sanae Ishida and absolutely loved it.  In fact, all of her cute projects often help me choose which Japanese sewing books I want to purchase next!

I don’t know if you caught Ajaire’s post yesterday, post I agree with her 100% that Japanese Sewing Books has a wonderful reference for Japanese sewing terms.  I used to it several times while finishing this project!


I started with the size 100 pattern which is still a little big for Mae, but we have long winters, so if I make stuff that fits in September, there is no way it will still fit in April.  I think it’s better if her clothes start out just a bit too big!  I did make a few changes like adding a snap placket to the side.  I also chose to eliminate the buttons on the straps (I didn’t have any I liked) and instead ran the straps through button holes in the skirt and used more snaps to hold them in place.  I’m not thrilled with how the button holes turned out in this thick denim so I’m planning on going back and finishing them by hand.


If you want to see more pictures (or any of my previous Japanese sewing book projects) head on over to Climbing the Willow 🙂

Shino also asked each of the guest bloggers to answer a few questions about Japanese sewing books, so here you go:

When did you start sewing Japanese Sewing Books? And why? 

I purchased my first Japanese sewing book in May 2011, and while I loved some of the patterns included in the book, my big pregnant belly made tracing patterns rather uncomfortable, so I didn’t actually get around to sewing anything until sometime in 2012 🙂  As to why I chose to purchase a sewing book in a language I have absolutely no knowledge of, I honestly don’t remember!  I’m sure I saw an outfit I liked on a blog somewhere and followed a link.  It’s amazing how often following a single link can make such a difference in my sewing.

What was the most challenging thing about this pattern? 

The instructions provide a lovely diagram (see the picture below) showing the parts of the garment that correspond to each step in the instructions.  Then the next picture on the page shows step 5 which does not even coordinate with what step 5 should be in the diagram.  Over on the left side of the page are written instructions … in Japanese of course.  Some of them include a page number in the book where you go to find more information, but steps 1 & 2 have no page numbers of any kind.  And step 1 is installing the zipper, which is a step I feel should at least have some sort of corresponding diagram!  Thankfully I looked at the book ahead of time and modified the pattern for a snap placket since there was just too much missing information for me to use a zipper this time.


(note: Teri, you could have asked me about this! Sorry to say, step.1 is not installing the zipper, it is attaching the interfacing. Installing the zipper is in step.3 and the reference for step.4 in p.46 is written there. And in p.47, you see the diagrams for installing the zipper at the side of the skirt. Well, it might be still hard to understand, though!)

What do you like the most about this pattern?

I really like the every day wearability of Japanese patterns, and this one was no exception.  It is a well made, nicely finished denim skirt that Mae should be able to wear all the time.  The fit is also perfect!

Did you learn something new from this pattern? 

I did not learn any new sewing techniques since the pattern was actually quite basic.  I have never installed a side zipper the way shown in this pattern, and I really would have liked to learn how, but there’s not much I can do about that since I speak absolutely no Japanese.  Maybe next time!




Oh, I love both projects! The matching tunics look so adorable on Marta’s daughters. And Teri did a great job using snaps instead of the zipper. I love the result! I’m sure that understanding the instructions written in Japanese must be hard and challenging. But you guys totally rock!!

You can read Day.1 (my post) and Day.2 (Ajaire).

Tomorrow we will have one of non-Japanese Japanese pattern sewing expert, Marisa (thirtynine)! Come back again!

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9 thoughts on “Sew Japanese Day.3 / Talk about Akiko Mano Featuring Teri and Marta

  1. Rita Vasques says:

    Marta’s tunics are adorable! I love the fabric! 🙂

  2. Teri says:

    Thanks for doing this series Shino! I love learning about all the designers!

  3. marta says:

    Thanks Shino for inviting for your wonderful series. It has been fun to know more about the designers behind my beloved Japanese sewing books!

  4. Beautiful work Marta and Teri. Is very interesting how each one of you propose a different style. Very cute! Good choice of fabrics too. I would like to make some day something from a Japanese book, but I’m not so brave to follow the instructions! I get tangle in the middle.

  5. marisa says:

    Marta I adore those peplum tops. And don’t things always look even cuter in twos! I like the contrast fabric details and agree that the deep opening in the back is lovely. Teri, Mae looks gorgeous in her skirt and I like your improvisation with the snaps. I’m sure your beautiful denim skirt will get heaps of wear.

  6. Sara Soares says:

    Love both creations!!
    Marta – that fabric… {swoon}

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

  8. […] 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 Marta Day.4 Talk about Mayuko Murata featuring Marisa Happy Sewing and see you again with another Sew […]

  9. […] was also guest post of my Sew Japanese series, she had made two outfits, this and […]

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