Thursday, February 28, 2008

Using Japanese Pattern Books - A Tutorial

Since I love preaching the gospel of Japanese Pattern Books, I thought I'd give a little tutorial about my process finding and making felt stuffie patterns from these books. If your computer can't handle lots of pictures, you probably don't read my blog. To paraphrase Amy Sedaris: I use big pictures for illiterate people.

I'm looking for felt food patterns for my new swap partner. I love these little books. ISBN 4834763897

Aha! Food patterns! They look cute and easy, but I've made all these before and they are sort of miniature.

This book and others like it have the full sized patterns right there on a separate page. The instructions are on the left side.

That other little book is cute, but I have a book with food patterns galore. This is ISBN 9784529042659

There's hot dogs, hamburgers, cakes, sushi, and much more in this book, but let's try some of those breads. My partner lives in Malaysia, so maybe that Western style slice of white bread will be a good place to start. (And easy enough for this tutorial)

In the back of this book there is a page with the instructions for breads. My bread slice is in the center of the left page. This book is helpful because it has a thumbnail of the bigger photo inspiration page up in each corner.

Okay, that was the easy part.. now I have to go to these inserts and find the patterns for my slice of bread. This book has two inserts that are printed on both sides.

Yipes! I can't read any of this, but I do know that they usually organize the patterns in groupings according to how they are presented in the book.

Egad! This sort of thing is for people with very strong visual perceptual skills, the sort of folks who do well on the section of an aptitude test that measures spatial reasoning. You may be this sort of person if you love putting together Ikea furniture or gas grills.

This is me all the way, so I can see pretty quickly that that bread slice shape is not on this page.

Aha! There it is on the other insert! I can see how this thing will go together. I should cut two white slice shapes and those two long strips will be like gussets, the longer one will stitch along the rounded top and the short one will go around the square bottom.

I trace the shapes onto card stock or white paper. My friend uses a different method, she traces onto tissue or tracing paper and cuts the paper and the felt all together.

Use your lightbox if you have one. I use the sunny window. If it's nighttime, I use the television screen.

Cut out your cardstock template.

Trace onto felt using a light marker or disappearing marker. Layer your felt so you cut 2 shapes at once.

I used a Sharpie... I just carefully trim off any leftover color and turn this side to the inside of my object.

Two white bread shapes. I'll bevel off that little green spot with my scissors.

Parts are all cut! Time to start stitching!

I matched up the center of the brown piece with the center top of the bread slice and I started stitching there.

I use the whip stitch, although blanket stitching is my favorite. I'm using 2 strands of embroidery floss. Floss separates into six separate strands. I use about a 24-inch length on my needle.

Here I've done two matching sides. I'm trying to keep it from going wonky by making sure it'll be lined up.

Hide your knots on the underside. I like to keep my knots close to the seam.

But wait.. let's look and see if there are any special instructions for this thing.

Nope .. no special instructions... I can see where the seams are supposed to go. Again, I can't read Japanese at all. I can read that this is pattern letter "E". That might have helped me find the pattern on the inserts a little bit earlier.

I've gone all the way around on both sides leaving an opening for stuffing and a length of thread for closing it up.

All finished! I like happy faced foods.

But maybe I'll just do a dollop of jam.

That's it! it's not so hard! Mmmm... I think I'll have jelly toast for breakfast this morning....


Sarah Moore said...

this couldn't be any cuter!!!

m. said...

This is a great tutorial, but I can't help but be greatly attracted to the blankie in the background. Did you hook it?? Is it a pattern - I am a D-class crocheter at best, but this looks like something I could do. What is it made out of??

IamSusie said...

M- Its a crochet striped blanked made out of Sugar 'n Cream cotton. It's an unfinished epic project of double crocheted stripes. It's super easy, but it takes me 20 minutes just to one stripe. It currently only covers one of us in bed and It renewed my resolve never to do big projects.

Here's the free pattern link:


that is way too cute!

Nan and B.A.G.S. the pug said...


Lotta said...

Fantastic tips. And I laughed that the spacial reasoning comment.

Anonymous said...

So cute, where do you get your books from? I did a google search with the ISBN but came up with nothing.

IamSusie said...

Anonymous Michelle- Here's a link to the book with the sandwich pattern at YesAsia:

It looks like they left off the beginning 978 numbers from the isbn, Finding books at Yes Asia will make you old before your time...

The smaller one with the piggies on the front is here:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, I just put my order in. Agree with you about Yes Asia, I probably spent about 1.5 hours last evening browsing their site.

Anyways, thanks again, your crafts are wonderful by the have inspired me to start again after a too-long hiatus.


Melisa Sriwulandari said...

Hi, your tutorial makes me feel like making a whole range of food stuff!