30 September 2010

Learning Japanese [kind of]


Don't you love it when your child finds their passion?  When it's not just "a phase" and they truly love something?  Pearl found hers early. Horses, horses, horses. You should see her equestrian collection. Sally, Blackie, and Jack are her favorites. When I was deciding what to make from my newly purchased Japanese Pattern book, I had Pearl in mind for a some fresh threads. But really, I could spend all my time salivating over the striking photos, the smart, earthy fabric choices, and simple, yet stunning designs.


When I turned to the page with the hooded cape, I started imaging a neutral wool with a bright lining, like a filled donut! I pulled out some brown wool twill and bright turquoise fine-wale corduroy with embroidered horses. I knew they would make a beautiful union. I pictured Pearl wearing her cape, the hood flying off as she galloped on her steed through some damp woods.  I've fulfilled the cape requirement, now about the horse...

Here's a brief how-to on reading Japanese patterns [I know, I know, again with the foreign patterns!]


Once you decide on the article of clothing from the pictures [1], turn to the corresponding page [2], both of which are lettered [with OUR alphabet-hooray!] In the back of the book are the pattern pieces [3]. Usually there are 2-3 large sheets [4]. Find the sheet that lists the letter of pattern you are using. All the patterns I've ever made have the pieces limited to a single side of a sheet. Trace all the pieces labeled with your letter [5]. I use freezer paper, available at grocery stores. Draw on the non-waxy side.

You will need to add a 1 cm seam allowance to the pattern pieces, unless the diagram directs differently, for example along the hem you add 2.5 cm, and on the pieces that are on the fold you don't add any additional amount. Any geometrical shaped patterns are not included, and you'll measure and cut them out without a pattern piece [see the piece cut on the bias below]. The dotted pieces have interfacing. The dashed line denotes the fold of the fabric. The number of pieces needed to be cut is in parenthesis. Label all your pieces with information such as the particular clothing pattern, the size, the grain line, the amount of pieces to cut, and if it is to be cut on the fold. From there, you sew it up like any other regular pattern, except with a 1 cm seam allowance, or 1/2".  It is helpful to have a basic knowledge of clothing construction and studying the diagrams will aid in figuring out how to sew it up.


Sally, Cash, Pearl





Cash trying to eat my lens



Cash wonders, "Want to sew your own Japanese inspired clothes?!?"


You have one day and one day only to leave a comment to win a Japanese Pattern Book!

Pinknellie's Etsy shop is giving away one book [the one pictured at the top which includes both boys and girls clothes] to a clever commenter. I'd like one of each of her yummy selection. Check them out and leave one comment here. It's also nice to know how to contact you. Winner announced tomorrow!!

140 comments:

  1. what?? a chance to win a japanese sewing book??? i am so excited!! your cape is lovely! elizabethlehman@hotmail.com

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  2. Such a cute cape for a cute girl! By the way, the picture of the cape on the instructions page would also have nos 1 - whatever and those are the steps for what seam to sew first. I guess you already know, but it might be useful for your readers :)

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  3. What sweet photos. I would love to win the book! amy.carlson4@gmail.com

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  4. My son too seems to have discovered his passion, at least for the past few years....farming, and horses...all the time! I love the cape!

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  5. I'm not going to horse around - I would love to win a Japanese sewing book so I too can gallop through the pages and make magnificent capes. I've just gotten back into sewing, and this is just what I need. chanehart@gmail.com

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  6. A horse! A horse! A Japanse pattern book for a horse!

    modelmumma@gmail.com

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  7. How fabulous!!! Don't all girls like horses?!
    amyedunn@gmail.com

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  8. these little books have always kinda scared me in that awe-inspired-look-up-to-someone-but-could-never-actually-talk-to sort of way... after taking some pattern making classes, based on european methods, i think i'm ready... rachelanna1@gmail.com

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  9. I too love the Japanese. I taught myself how to sew while living in Malaysia and buying way too many of these books at the big Kinokuniya bookstore. I wish I knew someone in real life who got the lure of Japanese...
    Amy
    kennedyas@yahoo.com

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  10. I started using japanese patterns, and I love it !
    your cape is really so sweet !
    laraignee71@gmail.com

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  11. The cape is gorgeous! I just spent the last thirty minutes perusing through pinknelie's etsy shop. I now think my life is incomplete without a Japanese pattern book. shastagrant at gmail dot com

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  12. Good morning!
    Your daughter looks as though she has wandered into a different world. A ginger-haired elvish princess tending to her steed.
    Or something like that. I'm jealous of her boots. And her horseback-riding time.

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  13. I love my Japanese pattern books. I have been scoping this one out for awhile. Would love to win!! cmwark(at)telus(dot)net

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  14. Pearl sounds like a girl after my own heart! I still have my horse collection after all these years. What a sweet little cape! :) I have been doing a lot of sewing lately. Would love to win this!

    Trendymeg@msn.com

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  15. Oh I have been wanting to try a japanese pattern book for so long. I am just to chicken to spend the money and not be able to do them. I would love to try the cutes girls pants book. This book has a lot of cute clothes too. thanks for the chance
    lbroadstreet@tds.net

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  16. Thanks for sharing! I must admit that I'm often bamboozled when it comes to Japanese sewing patterns. But now, look out Japan! Here's to hoping I actually win! Cheers!

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  17. i wish that september last longer... i really enjoy your projects and tutorials...the book will be good for me... I love the color you choose for your cape.

    joseesevigny@hotmail.com

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  18. your foreign patterns sound like such a delight!
    jessicaaverett@gmail.com

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  19. Thanks for taking some of the intimidation factor out of the Japanese pattern books. Such lovely designs, but a teeny bit scary without being able to read Japanese! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  20. Just the pattern I was looking for. A cape for my little edie-pie. Halloween project that will extend through the year!
    I was hoping it was a tutorial... However, chance to win Japanese Sewing Pattern Book, is that just as easy??? Not quite. But maybe just maybe I will win!!!
    melaniesenko@yahoo.ca

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  21. Thank you for the explanation! I have 2 Japanese pattern books that have been sitting on the shelf for a long time. I bought them while we were living in Los Angeles, I had no idea where to start so there they sat....I should have bought more!

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  22. If I win the beautiful book then I am very.....
    "Hontouni un ga ii".

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  23. I would love to win a Japanese sewing book...but if I win, can you send it to Iceland? :)

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  24. The pattern books are so cute. I love the clean lines on all the patterns.
    roberkann@gmail.com

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  25. this is gorgeous- i'm sure Pearl loves it:O)
    my nephew's name is Cash and he is a HOSS of a 1 year old. i dunno, seems pretty daunting to decipher the japanese pattern book! but what a fun resource.

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  26. I've seen so many nice things made from the very book you have. I'm rather sad that my daughter is reaching the end of the size range of the books I have.

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  27. Gorgeous cape, and you are a gem for posting tips on reading Japanese patterns. I have such a soft spot for them, and you've made working with them it seem much more doable!

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  28. So when I showed my kids the cape and asked what they thought, they all yelled, "We want a horse too!"
    I guess I haven't passed down my passion for sewing and material to my little ones quite yet. :)
    It's my birthday today, so I really hope I win!

    christinejohnson77@gmail.com

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  29. oooh, I have always looked at these books and how beautiful they are but, have always been really nervouse about sewing a pattern. Not anymore! You made me need to try it. Thanks, I hope I win!!

    jillderosa4 at gmail dot com

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  30. Japanese clothes are so simple yet beautiful. The cape is gorgeous!! Must be great to have a mom who can sew!!

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  31. I took Japanese in college for 2 semesters. I wish I could have taken it for more, but engineering doesn't allow much free time. From class I learned to love a lot of their simplistic and sophisticated looks. The clothes are no different, just darling.

    charlinicole@gmail.com

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  32. Just found your blog, i love it, I have three girls so I love making them stuff too. I'm not sure I could handle these patterns but would love to try!
    jenniferpeay@yahoo.com

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  33. would love, love, love a Japanese sewing book, thanks!

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  34. Great, now all I need is a sewing machine and I can read Japanese! Does it work with other languages too?

    :)

    Love the cape!

    Estee

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  35. I've always been intimidated by japanese sewing books, love the looks just nervous about the construction, I always worry about wasting my super cute fabric. I will just have to jump in so I can make my own fairytale cape like pearl's, your pics look like they came straight from Hans!

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  36. 私は日本人のためにパターン本を勝ち取ることが好きでしょう! なんと面白いことでしょう!!
    Translation: I would love to win a Japanese pattern book! How fun!!

    emcdonald@interiority.org

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  37. I have several Japanese sewing books and patterns from living over there. It is a good challenge but the Japanese are so smart with their pictures and numbers. I wish American patterns were better. Hope I win this one :)

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  38. I would love to try something new.....this seems like the perfect new challenge.
    Thanks for the chance.

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  39. Woah! What a giveaway! I got the 1st volume of the Stylish Dress Book a while back and am so, so, so in love. The Japanese way of writing and printing patterns is so deliciously efficient. It makes me so very happy.

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  40. oh, please enter me in your very generous giveaway ! thanks !!!

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  41. I've been thinking about investing in some Japanese sewing books for awhile, but I'm always so nervous to dive in. I'm new to sewing anyway, so sewing from a pattern in a different language seems frightening, but I still want to try. Thanks for the giveaway!
    Jbaileycassin (at) gmail (dot) com

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  42. Love love love the cape! thanks for the chance at the giveaway - I've read about Japanese pattern books but never actually seen one in person!

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  43. I would love to win a book! I have yet to try a japanese pattern but have been wanting to for a long time. Love the horses, my 2 year old is obsessed with them atm
    katie
    agean_baby at yahoo

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  44. WOW!! I would love to learn Japanese and sew out of that book. How cool.

    I love your cape! It's perfect.

    colescreations at live dot com

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  45. ooh, it'd be really fun to give a japanese sewing book a try. I heard ottobre was supposed to be wicked-hard to figure out but not until after I'd already tried out some patterns and had no problems. So hopefully a little blind faith would have me sailing through those adorable patterns as well! They just seem so carefree and kid-perfect. :)

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  46. Clever is as clever does. Pick me anyway please! awoffinden3@yahoo.com

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  47. This is so cute. I would love this pattern book! Pick me!

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  48. I love Japanese pattern books! I have 4 girls myself (no boys) and the youngest has Pearl for a middle name- named after her great grandmother.

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  49. What a fantabulous cape! I love how stylish yet understated Japanese patterns are! :)

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  50. I wish I could win the cape! I absolutely LOVE that cape. The dress is so cute too.

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  51. How exciting I always love a chance to try something new. I hope I can win and make adorable things like the cape you made. heidicrawford at gmail dot com

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  52. This sounds like a challenge I might be up for thanks to the motivation I have received from this sewing month celebration!

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  53. I love the pictures in the Japanese pattern books! That cape it so cute, I bet your daughter loves it.

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  54. Japanese-Shmapanese! I am more than ready for the challenge of deciphering the patterns in that darn book, and I love all things Asian (except maybe eel sushi). Bring it on, Long John!
    hayshendricks@charter.net

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  55. That cape makes me wish I had a daughter to make it for! Here's to hoping that when we start a family, I get a baby girl to dress up. andria{dot}carnell{at}gmail{dot}com

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  56. I have wanted to try some Japanese sewing books but have been to intimidated! This gets me motivated again!
    brookelebaron@hotmail.com

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  57. Holy guacamole! I would love experiement with Japanese patterns! I see them everywhere and never thought it could be so do-able. Crossing every finger and ever toe, but not holding my breath because it is too hard to sew if I pass out. :) katymabbitt@hotmail.com

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  58. I've always wanted to learn another language... but I think sewing is a language if its own. I love that you can take a pattern, written in another language, and still put it together!

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  59. I'm always up for new and exciting patterns!

    kimchistoker@gmail.com

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  60. Sometimes I wish I were Japanese. I have wanted a Japanese craft book since I saw one in a little craft/sewing store in Portland about 4 years ago, here's to wishin'!

    rachfullmer at gmail dot com

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  61. My daughter is obsessed with horses too. She turns 6 on Saturday, and we are going to a stable for her party. She cannot understand why we can't keep a horse in our backyard.

    I am definitely thinking she needs one of those capes as well.

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  62. i'vre been dying to learn how to use a japanese pattern and would love to win this book and try it out!!

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  63. You've opened up a whole new world to me! Thank you. I am intrigued by the feminine wardrobe book and the linen book.

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  64. I have read many blog posts that create beautiful clothing from Japanese patterns. They look gorgeous, but I have been too intimidated to try one. Thanks for explaining this to us...and for sharing this giveaway.

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  65. I would love to win! I see bloggers talking about these books but have never seen one. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Angela C.

    accoupons at gmail dot com

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  66. Cool Jessica would like more patterns to try!

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  67. Oh my how lovely! I want to try them all!

    inderidge@gmail.com

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  68. Oh, my goodness, I would LOVE the chance to win a Japanese pattern book...they are so full of darling patterns! I've been wanting to try a Japanese pattern for quite some time. I love the cape you made for Pearl...simply gorgeous, both cape and daughter! :)
    Emily
    emilyclark@wildblue.net

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  69. Your notes are helpful!
    mmc220 @ comcast.net

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  70. In any case, can you tell us where to get Japanese pattern books without having to order directly from Japan?

    It'll be a miracle if I win AND succeed at acutually sewing up a garment from this book. Even Ottobre has defeated me over and over again.

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  71. In any case, can you tell us where to get Japanese pattern books without having to order directly from Japan?

    It'll be a miracle if I win AND succeed at acutually sewing up a garment from this book. Even Ottobre has defeated me over and over again.

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  72. In any case, can you tell us where to get Japanese pattern books without having to order directly from Japan?

    It'll be a miracle if I win AND succeed at acutually sewing up a garment from this book. Even Ottobre has defeated me over and over again.

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  73. Oh mercy. I'm intrigued and in love and in fear that I might freeze up with said Japanese pattern book in my hand. Oh but it would last for but a hot second before I dove in...headfirst.

    I adore your cape. Beautiful.

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  74. very fun! cute cape!

    cristy_curuncha@hotmail.com

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  75. OOOOO a Japanese pattern book - bring on a challenge!! I would love this. Thanks for the opportunity.
    lisaabare@gmail.com

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  76. So lovely. I love Japanese pattern books.

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  77. This book would be way too cool to have! Thanks for all the awesome September giveaways. My birthday is in September and I love sharing it with National Sewing Month :)

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  78. I would love to add this book to my tiny collection of patterns.

    I am obsessed with challenging myself right now, and with my kiddo starting preschool I need a good challenge.
    -Paty

    angel.baby.paty@gmail.com

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  79. What a fantastic tutorial. It makes a whole lot of sense!
    Love these books and I'm no longer intimidated by them!

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  80. Hey, I even read Japanese! (Okay, I did in high school and college now I mostly slaughter it when I come across someone from Japan.)

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  81. I have seriously always wanted to buy one of those books...but I'm too scared I'd screw it up. I'd love to try it though!
    ky.jackson@gmail.com

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  82. Thank you so much for the explanation. I have 2 adorable Japanese pattern books for girls and now I can finally tackle a pattern before my daughter outgrows the size!

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  83. i would love the chance to try my hand at reading japanese! or, at the very least, attempting to make something that appears remotely like the photos from a japanese pattern book.
    i'll settle for the latter.
    ;-)

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  84. Thanks so much for the opportunity to win a Japanese sewing book. maxthebull@hotmail.com

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  85. Hurray hurray! How fun to win this one!

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  86. I also have a horse-crazy girl. Thanks for the opportunity to win!
    taralbird@yahoo.com

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  87. this is terrific! i'd love to try some of these terrific designs.

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  88. Ummm I am in love!! That cape is perfection! Love, love, love!!!!

    kristen.walker106(at)gmail.com

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  89. I am looking forward to that moment when my children discover there passion. Right now....well I think its just being loud. Would love the pattern book it would be great since I have boys and girls.

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  90. what a terrific giveaway. I would love Japanese pattern book.

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  91. Beautiful! I'd love a pattern book, and lucky for me, my sister-in-law is from Japan. I might have to recruit her if I get stuck!
    emariehannon at gmail dot com

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  92. i've debated buying this exact book for months! how fun!

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  93. I have been eying this book for awhile now; it's on my Amazon wishlist. I sure would love to win it!

    rebekahricker@yahoo.com

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  94. My 11 year old daughter would be so excited if we won this. She is totally into all the Japanese sewing things.

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  95. Oh my god! I love this book! Can't wait to try it out!!!

    katherine_flaherty@mspp.edu

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  96. Ahhhh!!! These are AMAZING giveaways! These Japanese books are on my Hallowbirthgivingmas wishlist! ;0)

    Leiselp@gmail.com
    www.sugarnspicecreations.blogspot.com

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  97. all the patterns are so beautiful!

    I love the cape, the horses on it make is spectacular!

    justagirlnamedstormy@yahoo.com

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  98. Thanks for the tips! I would love to try a pattern from this book it looks great, thanks for all your help!!

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  99. Love, love, love Japanese sewing books. The pictures are fantastic! On to trying to find such fantastic fabric! Hope to win - fingers crossed
    db - ilvtoys@aol.com

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  100. Japanese shmapanese - I don't think I ever really read a pattern that much anyway, until I mess up :) Guess my knowledge of shmapanese won't help me there.

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  101. oh my word...i have only ever seen these on different blogs...never ever have i seen i real one...ooooh i would love to have one. can just imagine how wonderful the clothes are judging by the cape you made...thanks for this chance.
    becky bpbajona(at)maltanet(dot)net

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  102. I have been wanting to get a few of the Japanese pattern books but have been to afraid that I wouldn't be able to make any of it! I would love to win one so I can try it out! Thanks for the chance.

    bsavinda1980@hotmail.com

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  103. I have wanted to try a Japanese clothing pattern since I discovered them last year. I would dearly love to win one.

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  104. Oh man, do I hope you pick me cause I really want to try a Japanese pattern. Best of luck to us all! Thanks for the opportunity to try. thewilliamshousehold@mac.com

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  105. Japanese pattern books are just so lovely- I could look at them all day! This is such a great giveaway. The cape turned out lovely! I am so impressed with all the books in Pinknellie's etsy shop, it is great to have a resource to get them.
    mecbruno(at)gmail.com

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  106. I love Japanese sewing books. In the beginning it was just because they were so lovely to look at, but then with a little help from a friend - I actually started sewing from them and LOVE it. That cape is darling!

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  107. These patterns are so darling! I think the idea of Japanese patterns is foreign to me, but I'd like to try!

    kaeasn93@gmail.com

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  108. I want this book soooo bad

    mindymtaylor@yahoo.com

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  109. I would love to be bold and try a Japanese pattern. Sarah skubinski@mac.com

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  110. Katy,

    This month has been so crazy busy for us, now I realize that your sewing celebration is on its last day. You've done an amazing job! I should send you some of these books, but instead I will enter this giveaway.

    (We are leaving Japan soon. I will blog post about it this week. Let me know if you want anything from here, pattern books, fabric, high quality Chinese-manufactured goodies from the 100 yen store...)

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  111. How awesome would it be to win this amazing book!! LOVE your cape! csharri@comcast.net

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  112. Um wow. It looks seriously challenging. But, hey I would love to try.

    Jessica@theschneebergs.com

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  113. Ohhhh, I love the cape pattern! Ahhh.... Fleece lined for our 25 degree days! :)

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  114. What a great pattern book! How fun to use BOTH the Japanese pattern book AND Japanese fabric! I'd love to make some for a baby girl I hope to have next year (boys are not nearly as fun to sew for)!

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  115. If the rest of the clothes in the book are nearly as cute as the cover, I am so wanting that book.

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  116. So neat! Thanks for the chance...
    missus.m@gmail.com

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  117. Wow, that cape is beautiful. You are so full of inspiration, thanks for such a great month. Keep up the great work.

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  118. Love Japanese sewing books, wish I still lived in Seattle, where there was a Japanese book store!

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  119. I am such a fan of Japanese sewing books, I can visualize what I'm sewing as I go along. Thanks for a great giveaway!

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  120. I've always wanted a Japanese sewing book. I just haven't purchased one yet!
    terridawn.ek@gmail.com

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  121. Yes, please!
    Could there BE a better excuse to NOT read the directions. Gorgeous patterns!

    traci(dot)landry(at)gmail(dot)com

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  122. This past month has been full of inspiration. You have demonstrated many techniques in sewing that I have never ventured. I also love all the different venues that your family posses. You all have been blessed in your individual talents and enjoy each person for whom they are! The Japanese book looks fun! bnkwagaman@msn.com

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  123. So very cool and perfectly pearl!

    I love that there are horses on the inside, perfect for your horse loving girl.

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  124. I've said this more than once I'm sure; Pearl has such stunning mysterious eyes.
    Great book! Now I need some sewing skillz...got plenty of inspiration.

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  125. Japanese clothes are so cute! I absolutely love it. Thank you for all you've done. I have been trying to sew again (it has been a long time) and your blog has been inspiring!

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  126. I'm hooked on Japanese Cotton Voile. Now all I need (or just really, really want) is the Japanese sewing book!

    jrint21@hotmail.com

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  127. Oh man, I'm so glad I got a chance to check my reader tonight! I've always been curious about Japanese sewing books. Pearl's cape is absolutely fantastic, and if you can get past those instructions, I can too - right?

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  128. I just got my first japanese sewing book from the library and love it. I would love the chance to have this one!

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  129. my daughter would look adorable in these - would love to have it!

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  130. SO many great ones!! I love the fashionable dresses and the polka drops ones!

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  131. What a beautiful horse- cape- and absolutely lovely child! I love Japanese craft books- everything looks so cool.

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  132. i have to admit, i want to win, but i'm also terrified that i'll win and won't be able to make a single thing. there's only one way to find out... pick me! ;)
    -jess

    scrappingwithjess at gmail dot com

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  133. Oh how lovely it would be to win!

    kaler.sarah@gmail.com

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  134. I would LOVE this. I have actually been taking a dressmaking course so that I will able to make the patterns in the one Japanese sewing book that I own.
    johanna.burnett@gmail.com

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  135. Oh wow! I am sure I would want to pull my hair out at the end but that cape would be perfect for my niece... now I know I MUST have the book!

    Bugcreator@yahoo.com

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