November 20th, 2013
I have been blathering on for years about how much I love the Japanese sewing book Happy Homemade vol. 2.
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.
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):
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.
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.
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.