happy homemade vol. 2 in english!

November 20th, 2013

happy homemade vol.2

I have been blathering on for years about how much I love the Japanese sewing book Happy Homemade vol. 2.

clothes made from happy homemade vol 2 on elsie marley

All of the clothes pictured above (and below) are made from patterns in this book. Happy Homemade patterns are my go to for pajamas, hoodies, pants, and tops. Without a doubt it is my most used pattern book.

clothes made from happy homemade vol 2 on elsie marley

And now Happy Homemade is in English! Only they renamed it Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids. They changed a few other things too (mostly for the best):

remade pattern pages in Happy Homemade

1. the pattern pages don’t induce vertigo

This came as quite a pleasant shock. I had resigned myself to spending a solid 15 minutes finding the pattern I need on the very chaotic Japanese pattern sheet. I actually wrote a whole post about locating your pattern for Cherie’s series on Japanese patterns.  No more! The patterns in the English version are given a generous amount of space. They have also been redrafted to fit American sizes! Every pattern comes in 4 sizes: 2, 4, 6, 8.

Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids

2. the measurement are in inches.

This is obviously only exciting for the Americans, because we are ridiculously anti-metric. But there are a lot of us and we do all understand 3/8 of an inch much better than 1 cm. It’s silly, but true.

3. the directions are in english

This is, oddly, not a 100% improvement. The first thing I did when I got the English version was to flip to the bits that had stumped me in the past. After reading them in English, I still didn’t understand what they wanted me to do. Sewing directions are notoriously difficult to comprehend. Sometimes it’s better just to draw pictures. Japanese sewing books have perfected the art of the sewing diagram. Turns out their written directions can be just as confusing as everyone else’s.

That said, the sewing tips, the fabric recommendations, and the general instruction are all so much better than I had ever imagined.

Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids

4. the clothes are just as adorable.

One thing they didn’t change: the clothes. They are as simple, stylish, and adorable as they are in the Japanese version. Now if I can make tons of clothes for my kids without being able to read any of the directions, just image what you can do now!

Be sure to put Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids on your Christmas wish list, because I’m planning a sew-a-long next year. We could even have a whole Happy Homemade month! February sound good?


*I was given a copy of this book to review, but my opinions are, as always, my own.


Posted in library.

30 Responses to happy homemade vol. 2 in english!

  1. Got my copy the other day. Literally drooling over the patterns. I love sewing Japanese patterns and I can’t wait to dress my children in these stylish clothes.

  2. Yeka says:

    I have been ordering this book via Amazon! Lucky I never read instructions when sewed my children’s clothes :). Sew-along? it’s good idea! Btw, what age is size 8 for? Thanks for this review, Meg!

    • meg says:

      The book says you can sew the patterns for 3-9 year olds. I’d say that was about right. My daughter is 8 and the largest patterns (in the Japanese version) just fit her. If she grows any more I’ll have to alter them a bit. Alterations are actually pretty easy because the patterns are so simple.

      • kendra says:

        Thanks for answering the sizing question Meg. My boys are 7 & 9 and I’m finding that’s just about the cut off age for a lot of the cute kids patterns. I never had time to sew for them when they were younger and now they’re too big for some of the patterns! Good to know that you can make them bigger easily. This book is getting added to my Christmas wish list!

  3. gail says:

    this makes me sooooo happy! i love the sew along idea, too. are the seam allowances included on the pattern pieces? (please say yes, please say yes)

  4. Shino says:

    This is great for all English Native Japanese Sewing Lovers! But I just want to let you know I found one translation error in the hoodie diagram. I think there must be some more… I only have Japanese version so cannot check every pages though. Anyway, I’m definitely in for Sew Along!

  5. Sarah M says:

    YAY!! I am so glad to see this is in English. I had resigned to never buying one because of 1) the vertigo patterns (!) and 2) the crocodile tears that happen when I try to understand them. Just added to amazon wish list!
    Sarah M

  6. Crys says:

    I got my book the other day as a gift from my best friend. I’ve already made 5 of the 20 patterns! I LOVE it so much.

  7. I’m excited Meg!! Your use of colour is very inspiring. Now I just need to work out a foolproof way to add seam allowance. I’ve previously traced the patterns off as is and then tried to remember to add the SA when cutting – didn’t always remember, do you have a better solution?.

  8. marisa says:

    I’ve only ever used English versions of this book – first, an Australian publication which I borrowed from the library, and now the Tuttle edition which I bought recently (the two are identical). But as Shino mentioned, there’s at least one error, which had me going crazy trying to work out the hoodie construction. Turns out I would have been better off using the Japanese version! Apart from that one issue, the other garments I’ve made have been trouble-free.

    • meg says:

      I’m curious…what is the error in the hoodie pattern? Because that bit with the elastic in the front drives me mad every time.

  9. Ana Sofia says:

    I have my copy coming my way tomorrow – I pre-order it a couple of months ago and I just can’t wait to try some of the patterns!
    I’ve been drooling over the Japanese version for quite a while – still, I made myself wait for the English version :)
    And yes, a sew-along would be so nice!

  10. --anu says:

    I have been thinking of getting this book since I use Happy Homemade vol 1 quite a bit. You have me worried by saying that the patterns have been redrafted for American sizes though. Did they really change the actual patterns? The only reason I love Japanese books is that the patterns fit my daughter (who has very narrow shoulders and is petite overall) with no modifications. If the changed anything then I’d rather just get the Japanese version.

    • meg says:

      Maybe redrafted is the wrong word. But I’m not 100% sure the pattern are the same (I’m 99% sure). I’ll compare a few and get back to you…

  11. Lena says:

    I’ve bought it in English 2 years ago, it was published by penguin as well as Girl’s Style Book another really good Japanese pattern book. Both books are adorable and I use the patterns a lot, especially because they are so simple and leave room for your own ideas.
    Have fun using it! Cheers Lena

  12. Katy says:

    I had this version on my amazon wish list and was waiting for it to come out. Thanks for the reminder! I went ahead and bought it before I had even got out of bed this morning. Great start to the day! I am looking forward to starting some of the projects.

  13. Kari says:

    I just ordered this, thanks to you! :) Looking forward to getting into it.

  14. Tara says:

    nice! maybe this will finally get me into the japanese pattern world.

  15. Courtney says:

    I just put up a review of this book on my blog too. Yours is way better with all of your previous projects! Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Brienne says:

    Hi Meg! I sent you an email but I’m not sure if you got it. I’m: brienne.moody@gmail.com

  17. mrsrobinson says:

    Oh so tempted! Your makes from this book are so inspiring…

  18. Karin says:

    Put it on my wish list the day you posted and just ordered it last night (and it was 3 bucks less!) as a present for me-self! Thanks for your review as I completely trust you with my children’s outfits. Happy Thanksgiving!

  19. Sara says:

    How exciting! I’ve been trying to figure out how to order one of the originals for a while. That’s going on my Christmas list :)

  20. had to laugh (sorry) at your comment about the hoodie neckline! I think that’s caused everyone of us to curse.(four hoodies made and I’ve nailed it now!) I have the earlier “English” version that still has the dreaded crazy pattern sheet and metric (yay!) measurements. But I agree, no language would be better than poorly written instructions. Forget the words, look at the diagrams!