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japanese pattern

sanae ishdia

guest post: sanae from sanae ishida

I’d like to introduce you to Sanae Ishdia, and her amazing (and eponymous) blog. Sanae may only have been blogging for a year, but she has already made mountains of beautiful clothes.  Every Monday she posts a new, handmade outfit for her daughter. And every Monday I am blown away by the beautiful garments: gorgeous fabrics, simple details, and more often than not great Japanese patterns. I’m excited to have her share one of her favorite Japanese patterns with you today! 

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Hello, hello KCW readers — I am beside myself with excitement to be guest posting today! I participated in my first ever KCW Challenge last October, and it was such a fun and invigorating event that really got me motivated to sew regularly. And now I’m pinching myself that I’m joining the other lovely ladies for this pre-kick-off week for KCW Spring!

Meg asked me to write about my favorite pattern, and this was a tricky one for me. I knew I wanted to feature a Japanese pattern since I own so many Japanese sewing books (truly, it’s a hopeless addiction – I actually need to update that post since I’ve added a few since then). I sew for my daughter a lot and am also determined to try as many different patterns, so I don’t often sew the same thing more than once. I mulled over this quite a bit.

I decided to base my favorite pattern on my daughter’s preference. Out of all the things I’ve made for her, these tunics are in serious heavy rotation:


It’s pattern 4 from this Japanese sewing book by Yuuki Katagai and happens to be the one shown on the cover:

daily wear girl clothes by Yuuki Katagai

It’s a really comfortable and versatile design, and I love that she’ll be able to wear these for a long time. The longish tunic is perfect with her beloved leggings for now, and it will become an equally cute regular-length shirt in the near future because of its roomy proportions. She also likes to wear them front-to-back sometimes, and it looks A-OK that way too. The rounded pockets end up looking like a cool and unexpected design element when worn backwards.


And hey, I made two more tunics!

striped tunic

I believe those kickin’ moves are the robot and the beginnings of a moonwalk, respectively. She would have been right at home in the 90s.

This pattern comes together very quickly, especially if you decide to omit the pockets, which I’ve done for two out of the four tunics. I’m not a huge fan of facings, and the one on the front bodice does sometimes get a little floppy, but it’s nothing a little extra stitching to the shoulder seams won’t fix.


tunic with pockets


The directions are all in Japanese but honestly, I only look at the illustrations and one of the little tricks I like about this tunic is the tip to shift the back bodice pieces a little so that one side is slightly higher than the other. See circled area here:


This helps with alignment of the overlapping bodice pieces and you can see that this allowed me to match my stripes perfectly as well (insert fist pump in the air here):



I also like that it’s really easy to modify this pattern. For the tunic below, I chopped off the sleeves, added elastic and a peter pan collar and deliberately made the back side the front. Voila, a whole new look.

The suggested fabric for this pattern is double-gauze, which is what I used for the yellow peter-pan collar version (a yummy Nani Iro I got from the lovely Miss Matatabi). The mustard polka dot and apple fabrics are Kokka cotton/linen blends and the navy stripe is a gorgeously soft woven cotton. I think this tunic would look adorable in almost any fabric: wool or corduroy for fall/winter, knits, even a silky fabric would step it up a notch.

If you were to ask me which one is my favorite out of the four…now that’s an even tougher question. I think it’s a tie between the mustard polka dot and navy stripes. Okay, the navy stripes might be tugging at my heart strings just a little more — I’m a stripes girl after all.

To see all the clothes I’ve sewn for my little girl, check out my blog or my Pinterest board – I’ve sewn lots from this particular book and others too. I love me some Japanese patterns and even if I sew like a sweat shop for the next couple of years, I don’t know if I’ll be able to try all the patterns…

Thanks for having me Meg! I can’t wait for next week, and I’ve been busily planning, prepping, plotting how to get K to model without bribing….:-)