I collect antique kimono sewing books, ranging from Taisho (1912) all the way through to Early-Mid Showa (1950-1960). While I can barely read Japanese, and most certainly can’t read older Japanese text, I love collecting these books for the illustrations and photographs. They are true snapshots of the fashions at the times. Also, most books – the measurements are in centimetres, so while I may not be able to read the directions, having grown up with metric measurements in Australia, I can understand to a degree what the diagrams are explaining, and therefore sew from them.
One day while hunting around for more, I stumbled upon a gem of a find – a sewing book from Showa 17 (1942) for yofuku (Western clothing)! I’ve never seen one of these before in my many years of browsing Japanese online auctions, so I was rather excited.
This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for around 4 years now and I think it’s about time to dust it off, scan it in and let it live a new life inspiring those online.
Information about the book:
This book essentially instructs how to create an entire women’s wardrobe, including:
- Undergarments and corsets
This book is in Japanese, but the really wonderful part is that for each outfit – it shows the pattern pieces that need to be drafted very clearly marked in centimetres and with grain lines showing – and gives sample pattern layouts on fabric. The measurements given are average, I assume, as the beginning of the book shows how to take your measurements and create your own sloper. This means for those experienced seamstress and drafters, you should be able to easily adjust the given measurements to yours.
If you’ve been sewing for quite some time – especially with vintage patterns and feel very comfortable with drafting, I think you’ll be able to easily work from this book without needing to read Japanese. If you’re a beginner sewer – I certainly don’t want to discourage you from attempting any of these wonderful outfits but I do highly recommend reading and studying sewing literature and pattern instructions from around the same time in English to get a feel for the natural steps of garment construction.
This book is a large book – 400+ pages and will most likely take me a good week or so find the time to sit down and scan it, so I will share it in installments by uploading the images to a Flickr set. Once I’ve scanned the entire book – I’ll create a PDF of the full book available for download.
Anyhow – enough typing, let’s look at the illustrations of the outfits! Be sure to click on the images to view a larger size.
And as a teaser, here’s an example of the pattern drafting and fabric layout (oops, I realize I chose a slightly complicated example!):
If you make any of the pieces from this book, please let me know about your experience and share photos!
Likewise – if you’re an experienced pattern drafter/seamstress (Japanese or not) and would like to work with me on an open source project of converting the pattern pieces to English and providing English instructions and steps, free for all, please do let me know!
Last, but not least. For those concerned about copyright infringement, Japanese copyright law puts this book in the Public Domain, therefore it’s perfectly fine for me to share the book in its entirety with you. While the scan copyrights are mine, you are more than welcome to share this, repost scans, etc with anyone providing it’s done in a not for profit capacity. All that I ask is that you kindly give credit back to me.