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!


  1. I have that book and the companion too. We should so do a sew along! PS wedding blog post up sooonnn!

  2. It is an amazing and inspirational book! I did take that 1/2 size sloper and blow it up to 100%, then sewed it up. I made just a couple of small modifications, which is great, and it was a big wake-up call that I could probably sew from the Japanese pattern books with a lot fewer pattern mods than from any of the Big 4 patterns. There’s also a Pattern Magic 2 I have not sought out online photos from, as I don’t want to end up tempted to buy it!

  3. Oh I love that book. I have a copy but haven’t made anything from it yet, not that I don’t have plans. It really is amazing.

  4. Cidell, now that you have book 1, you’ll have to get book 2 too!!! lol..

    Someone else made that knit top too and posted the progress on her blog….maybe she’ll comment here, but you’ll find her, I am sure.

  5. There is a Japanese bookstore in Seattle, Kinokuniya, that sells all the Japanese sewing/craft books, including the Pattern Magic books. Maybe you want to visit it when you’re here?

  6. Obviously your father is unfamiliar with Japanese fashion! Wow, this book is fabulous. I like that they appear simple, not overly complicated in design. I don’t mean easy to make necessarily, but not overdone or overworked. Really inspiring and now you have the skills to even know where to start.

  7. Enabling…. has Pattern Magic 2 – it’s $27.99. I’ve bought stuff from them (lots and lots of patchwork and embroidery books, nice!) several times. There is a certain threshold above which you get free shipping. So I browse the english language version of and use the isbn numbers of anything with fab pics to find it on the other site. Worked out way cheaper for me!

    Who said they have access to a japanese bookstore? Oooh, lucky. Or maybe unlucky – depends on your already groaning bookshelves!


  8. Super cool. Must track down copies. Along with everyone else.

  9. I have been lusting after that book, it’s on e-bay along with the other edition of it. Perfect timing for you to use your sloper skills!!

  10. Oops, I posted the comment to the wrong post. Here it is again.

    I will send Pattern Magic on your way soon. I have to head over to Books Sanseido for my own shopping anyway.

    Birgitte of Bubblegum 4 Breakfast sent me a year’s subscription of BWOF. She said to just keep paying it forward.

    If any of your readers live in or are visiting LA, Books Sanseido is in the Torrance Mitsuwa Marketplace shopping center near the corner of Carson and Western. has a link to a map.
    They stock PM1 and 2 usually, and Mrs Stylebook, too.

    Torrance and Gardena are home to the largest population of Japanese-Americans in the 48. Mitsuwa Marketplace is literally midway between the US corp. HQ of Honda and Toyota. There are so many cool Japanese stores and restaurants. It is well worth a visit.

    More pix of Books Sanseido and past purchases here:

  11. Funny, I adore that folded up top too – bought the book because of it :-). And do you think I’ve made it yet?

  12. I don’t know about you, but that bodice with the boxes sticking up is just a bit too weird for me. We all have enough shape issues without adding boxes to our busts!

  13. Wow! What a great friend to send you such a cool book. I saw this about a month ago and got mine, but haven’t had the time (between brides & debs) to delve into it!!! I’m dying to make that criss-cross over bodice and those bow tying collars & dresses are just way too cool.

    You might like to check in with Assemblage ( as she just finished doing the knit top and I’m sure she would love giving you some hints on the trouble spots. Like you I thought these patterns were divinely creative.

    We should have a sew-a-long, but wait till I finish with my clients!!!

  14. The pictures from your book reminded me of two great exhibitions I had seen: a Versace one back in (gasp!) 1998 and, even more, a Capucci one (2003 – another little gasp). I could not figure anyone wearing the Capucci dresses anywhere – except on a catwalk or posing in front of a photographer – but it was great art! Fabric sculptures, really! Stunning.
    Unfortunately the exhibition catalogue was already sold out but I managed to get another Capucci book with pictures of some of the dresses I saw. Those fabric boxes on the Pattern Magic cover compelled me to flip through the pages of the Capucci book. And while I was at it – and it was computer night – I took some photos and downloaded them here: Bad pictures of pictures don’t convey anything of the feeling of seeing those dresses (dresses? fabric works of art) right in front of you, but maybe you’ll like to have a look in spite of that. 🙂

  15. Looking very special, great gift, enjoy. Looking forward to what you will make from it, though I don’t have the urge to buy it. Just a bit too complicated.

  16. yes – that long sleeve twist top is fabulous. i am in LOVE with the one i just made. i drafted my pattern exactly as per the pattern in the book. ended up adding about 12cm extra length to the sleeves as i like looooong sleeves. otherwise, cut and sewn exactly as per the book. brilliant.
    happy to chat with you further if it would be helpful. 🙂
    enjoy the adventure!

  17. I have Pattern Magic 1 and just took a good hard look at it a few days ago. I like a lot of the finished projects but my, my, my they use a lot of fabric to achieve that interesting drape! I decided to turn to other things on my to-do list while I find some serious yardage to tackle any of the drapiest, coolest projects in there.

    I saw you are going to Portland this week — enjoy! It’s a fantastic city, I lived there for a couple of years, I’m totally jealous (I’ll bet you’re going with the Pattern Review people, and I’m totally jealous about that too). There is a Kinokuniya outpost in the Uwajimaya grocery store in Beaverton, which is about 8 miles outside of Portland. They have a great selection of the craft books and it is a fun excursion, though being in the suburbs you might not make it out there.

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