Bunka Garment Design Textbooks Are Amazing.

I am not selling my books nor do I have access to the discounted price I originally paid. If you are interested in buying these books, please use Amazon Japan. The books are about $40 each plus shipping. If you email asking where to buy the books or asking to purchase mine, I will not respond.

Thank you


You may have gathered from this blog that I have a love of all things international. Through much hard work and calculation, I have struck up a unique relationship with my counterpart in Japan. So unique, that when Trena went to Tokyo, my counterpart actually took her shopping — and we’ve never met!

At anyrate, when this week’s delegation came to Baltimore for three days, with them came four of the five English languageBunka Fashion College textbooks. Ginevra first tipped me off that they were coming and Christina let me know they were out. Oh, BTW, Bunka is pronounce Boon-ka. These look small in the photo, but they are 8×11 size (really A4, but whatev).

I am going to do my best not to gush too hard here. But, I am BEYOND excited about these books. Mostly, because they only cost me $100 for the four. They are selling in the states for $44 each. These are definitely text books. But, what I like about them as textbooks is that they, wait for it, ACTUALLY TEACH SEWING. See that below? Those are directions on how to sew a skirt, where to add lining, how to sew lining, how to cut it out, ways to pretreat, suggested fabrics for garments, places for interfacing, etc.

Yes, home sewers have sewing books that teach you this, but I can tell you that my garment design textbook (which cost $100) DOES NOT tell you *how* to sew.

There is a GREAT deal of information on fit and drafting. Ways to alter your sloper (including for bust)  and EXTENSIVE instructions on drafting one. There is a four page glossary on the little symbols and markings that are used on the Mrs. Stylebook / Japanese drafting patterns

I’m also enjoying reading about the history of garments

And this is all just in ONE BOOK.

Of course, there are things I don’t like. First, according to their charts I’m like the LARGEST size possible. After spending four days with six Japanese women, I would agree. I am huge.

But, what’s interesting about their sizing charts, is they take AGE into consideration. Now, call me crazy, but I suspect I won’t age like a Japanese woman. But, I do like to know that they take that into consideration in their drafts.

The other thing I don’t like, so many new products for me to track down! Mostly a few rulers like the D-curve (which looks like my #6), the reduction ruler, thier sleeve pressing ham (I like that it’s shaped more like an arm than my sleeve roll), and pressing horse.

I am resisting their pressing ham, pressing board, handy mat, crossarm and Yukiwari — our tailoring board. Hmm, but I cannot resist the needle board. It might be good I can’t find it on their website. Or this bobbin holder.

Someone I know is going back to Japan in March. My plan is to save up, do a huge order and pay the $50 extra luggaage fee on Al Nippon Air!

So, to sum up, if you can find at least the first book, Fundamentals of Garment Design, I think it it well worth the money if you are interested in fit and working with the Japanese patterns. If you are interested in drafting on your own, then I would get the remainder. The last, Coats and Capes, comes out in December. And, if you are thinking of ordering from Amazon.com Japan and saving some money. shipping is almost $50 for the four.

The Pink Kimono

Can you believe I was STILL waiting for my June 2009 BWOF when Trena sent me a photo of her muslin of 6-2009-110??  Seriously. Sometimes I think the women at the post office are thumbing through that and my US Weekly before they deliver it to my house.

For this project, I used a light pink suiting from the Carol Collection. It’s darker than it appears in the photo, but is overexposed in today’s SUNSHINE. YES!! My friends, there is no rain today and we finally have SUNSHINE in Baltimore!  But, I digress. To break up all the pink, I made the bands in navy blue. This way, it would coordinate with the navy plaid silk tie fabric I was making the #151 obi from.

The dress is unlined so I serged the inside seams. Because the fabric is see through — and opaque with two layers, I left out the pockets. Also, on me, the pockets didn’t seem to hit at the right spot. I had no interest in lining this dress. None.

I should also mention that I struggled with the facing. It was several inches too small. So, I cut it out a second time and added several inches.

There are four snaps at the top. These came to me courtesy of Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics. I made a plea on PatternReview on where to find HUGE snaps and she answered!  I also needed two more snaps lower on the dress or you could see my vajajay when I walked and sat. For those, I used used light plastic pink ones from NYC. The plastic ones are about a quarter each, hard to open and close and feel like they might break. Ann’s are strong yet lightweight and retail for $3 a pop.

I did start to cover the snaps, but realized it was a big hassle and it didn’t bother me for them to not be covered with lining fabric.

In the photo below, you can see what I mean when I say the obi is too big. The dark solid navy are the side pieces, and clearly start in the middle of my back. I’m not motivated enough to alter it — yet. But, when I make another, I could easily take three to six inches out of the obi. I, um, also forgot to leave a slit for the belt to slip through in the back.

The other thing to be aware of is that the armsyce is super low to accommodate the kimono style. It will also cause some natural blousing of the upper bodice (see above. that’s why my skirt looks crooked) over the belt.  Because of this the, belt rides low, and this hikes the skirt up higher than you might think. Even though I added the correct length to the dress, it’s still a wee bit shorter than I’m comfortable with for work.  So, you want to make it longer initially for safety.


 
When I tried it on yesterday, it felt a little like a robe. But, I think that’s the nature of a kimono-style garment in the west. I QUITE like it and feel very chic and extremely retro. It’s not as baggy as the #107 dress. I’m working on a new Japan related project in the office, so I should fit right in during the next few weeks!

More Mail Goodness

Let’s not talk about the dress for a bit, eh?

I wanted to show another really cool item that Grace from Bad Mom, Good Mom sent recently. Her timing was impeccable as she asked for my addy on my birfday. She sent me a copy of the Japanese language Pattern Magic (I) published by Bunka. If you don’t know, Bunka is a school and supply company in Japan. They also apparently take US students, if you speak Japanese.

It’s similar to the drafting in Mrs. Stylebook. I know this book has been around for a bit, but it was so completely over my head that I just didn’t bother even looking at a copy. Hmmm, same thing with Threads Magazine. I really should subscribe.

Now, I have a better grasp of the concepts. What I find amazing is how unbelievably creative the book is.

Why is this funny? Well, when I was growing up and Americans were just starting to buy Japanese cars, by dear dad would always say, “Americans are the innovators. Everyone else just  copies.”  Well, I beg to differ. There are some extremely creative types outside the US :)

The book does include directions for drafting your  sloper. It also includes a lovely 1/2 scale dress form for you to copy to practice with. I also imagine you could blow this up and have a workable sloper too.

Since this is how we’ve been doing it in school, I like this way first to work out the design elements.

I’m totally making this knit top. And tracking down Pattern Magic II.

Thanks Grace!