Japanese Pattern Books – Part 1

So, I have a lot of Japanese pattern books. A lot. Today, I thought it might be fun to show you my library of beloved kids’ pattern books (I also have a lot of pattern books for grown-ups…an intervention may be in order). 

I’ve gotten quite a few requests for recommendations, and though I can’t claim to be any sort of expert, I have sewn a fair amount from most of these and have my faves (which I’ve shared with you at the very bottom).

I plan on doing a more elaborate review that includes what I hope to be helpful information about each book as well as all the items I’ve sewn per book all laid out in a pretty way, but for now, just a simple listing because it’s already novel-length as it is…

Girly Style Wardrobe by Yoshiko Tsukiori
Publisher: Bunka

Onnanoko no Fuku, Tezukuri no Fuku (Clothes for Girls, Handmade) by Yoshiko Tsukiori
Publisher: Bunka

Happy Homemade vol.2 Kids no Fudangi (Every Day Clothes for Kids) by Ruriko Yamada
Publisher: Bunka

Happy Homemade vol.5 Kids no Genki na Fudangi (Fun/Active Every Day Clothes for Kids) by Ruriko Yamada – (I have not yet sewn anything from this book yet – that will change soon!)
Publisher: Bunka

Sunao de Kawaii Onnanoko no Fuku (Innocent and Cute Girl’s Clothes) by Akiko Man0
Publisher: Bunka

Oshare ga Sukina Onnanoko no Fuku (Clothes for Stylish Girls) by Akiko Mano
Publisher: Bunka

Heart Warming Life Series: Oshama na Onnanoko no Oyofuku (Fancy Girl Clothes)* by Yuki Araki
Publisher: Nihon Vogue

*This one is not available on the Kinokuniya site but I found it on the Japanese Amazon site.

Heart Warming Life Series: Mainich Kiru Onnanoko Fuku (Daily Wear for Girls) by Yuuki Katagai
Publisher: Nihon Vogue

Onnanoko no Oshare Fuku (Stylish Clothes for Girls) by Yuki Araki
Publisher: Nihon Vogue

Heart Warming Life Series: Onnanoko no Odekake Fuku (Girls’ Clothes for Special Occasions or the literal translation is Girl’s Clothes for Outings) by Yuki Araki
Publisher: Nihon Vogue

Heart Warming Life Series: Chiisana Onnanoko no Oyafuku (Clothes for Little Girls) by Yuki Araki – This book focuses on knits and I haven’t made anything from it yet.
Publisher: Nihon Vogue

Heart Warming Life Series: Honnori Sweet Onnanoko no Fuku (Girl’s Clothes with a touch of sweet) by Yuki Araki
Publisher: Nihon Vogue

A Sunny Spot: Oshare de Kawaii Onnanoko no Fuku (Stylish and Cute Girl’s Clothes) by Mayuko Murata
Publisher: Nihon Vogue

Kantan Sukkiri Onnanoko Fuku Otokonoko Fuku (Quick and Easy Girls’ and Boys’ Clothes) by Polka Drops
Publisher: Nihon Vogue



1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

These are my favorite ones – I love them all, but I’m drawn to the patterns in these books the most. They’re all simple designs, but I like that many of them have subtle unexpected details like angled pockets on a tunic or a knit top with ruched sides seams. Ultimately most of the books have at least a few patterns that are so similar to ones in other books as to be interchangeable, but I get these books for styling inspiration as well, so I don’t mind the duplication.

I get all my books from Kinokuniya here in Seattle. I find that the Nihon Vogue books by Yuki Araki have more advanced techniques compared to others, which I am liking more and more. For a beginner testing out the waters of Japanese patterns, I think the first four listed (in the beginning of the post, at the top) have the easiest patterns.

By the way, the English translations in the parentheses are approximations that I came up with and I included the phonetic representation of the Japanese titles because isn’t it fun to know what they’re supposed to sound like? No?

Goodness, this turned out much longer than I meant it to be! Are you as addicted to Japanese pattern books as I am? Let’s commiserate…


19 thoughts on “Japanese Pattern Books – Part 1

  1. Great collection, and I look forward to the review! I own five Japanese pattern books, four of which are in your collection too (1, 6, 10, 14). The fifth one is one of my favorites: “Style Petite Fille” by Yoshiko Tsukiori – it’s the French translation of this book
    Really simple and elegant clothes, and beautiful photography.

  2. Ahhh… I’m so jealous of your collection! Doing a book review series is an awesome idea. I have several Japanese pattern books (#6 is my favorite) and now that Lala is big enough I’ll be making a ton of things.

    I was wondering… do you know if there’s any pattern books for teenagers?

    1. Funny you should ask, Venus, because I’ve been on the hunt for teenage-geared pattern books as well. So far I haven’t found anything specific for teens (there’s a magazine that occasionally has patterns for older kids but the name is escaping me right now), but the adult pattern book sizing tends to run very petite, so I can see those working for a teenager. I will do a post about the non-kids pattern books I own too!

  3. Uh oh, I have more than you- 15 and a half (the half is a book with women’s and kids clothes). And that’s not counting the 3 I have with sizes too small for C. Intervention, indeed!

    1. Is the half the french-themed one? I’ve been looking for it and it keeps selling out at Kinokuniya’s! Glad to know that I’m not alone in my addiction 🙂

  4. I love it when you talk Japanese pattern books:) How fun to have a peek at your bookshelf and the ones that inspire you the most. Not living anywhere near a Kinokuniya, I like to hear the recommendations of others before ordering on-line where the S&H can increase the price quite a bit. My friends tease me about sewing from Japanese pattern books – it’s so nice to have on-line friends who “get it”:)

    1. Totally! I get odd looks from friends whenever I talk about Japanese pattern books…I just became acquainted with a crafty woman (a fellow mom from K’s school) who got as excited about these books as I do, and I realized how rare it is for that to happen offline!

  5. Okay, so I’m new here (and love it!) and relatively new to sewing. New enough to have caught bits and pieces of Japanese patterns and Nani Iro fabrics, but not really putting much together. These books…are they in English. Do you all just happen to read Japanese? I’m feeling a little out of the loop here, but too excited about the look of these to not ask questions (even if they are ridiculous)!

    1. Hi Monica! Not ridiculous at all! These books are written in Japanese. I believe most people who own these types of pattern books outside of Japan do not read the language. I think what makes them so popular is that not only are the books lovely in design and styling, but the illustrations are very good and if you’ve acquired the basic sewing skills, the patterns really are not that difficult. I can read most of the text, but I actually rarely look at the written instructions and rely on the illustrations. Hope that helps and I’ll be putting together some resources to help demystify Japanese pattern books!

      1. Thanks for clearing that up…the simple designs and styling are calling to me… I’m probably a bit too noviced, but I have a mother who I’m sure will be willing to help me out! (PS: Love your blog and styling as well!)

  6. I have been looking at Japanese pattern books for a long time but I’ve had no idea which ones are good. Love that you posted about these! I like to try checking sewing books out from the library before buying, but very few of these are available. 🙁

    So I see which are your favorites- are there a few patterns that are similar within those books or are these very solid recommendations on what you would highly recommend someone put in their sewing library? I’ve got them all in my shopping cart – just want to be sure!!

    1. Hi Mary! As someone who sews from Japanese pattern books a lot, I would say that it’s pretty hard to go wrong with any of them and yes, many of them have similar patterns. There’s usually a skirt, a pair of pants/shorts, and some kind of tunic in most books. The ones I’ve listed are my personal favorites, but if you don’t read the language, I would start out with the Happy Homemade or Sunny Spot series since they tend to have a bit more illustrated instructions. Hope that helps!

  7. Oh! I have the ‘Kantan Sukkiri Onnanoko Fuku Otokonoko Fuku (Quick and Easy Girls’ and Boys’ Clothes) by Polka Drops’ one. It’s soooooo great!
    I have a boy so I’m always on the look out for a Japanese pattern book with a lot of cool BOY patterns. Can you recommend one?

    1. Hi Stephanie! The Polka Drops book is great! The Happy Homemade (volumes 2 and 5) are also good, and I recently acquired this book that I haven’t tried out yet, but there are some awesome looking pants and tops for boys.

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