Japanese Pattern Books for Men

I recently purchased two Japanese sewing books off etsy and thought I'd do a little (pre-sewing) book review today. Unlike many of the Japanese sewing books that get a lot of press (Drape Drape for example, or Pattern Magic) these two are for men! It's so hard to find decent men's patterns (Thread Theory being the standout) and the ability to purchase a book for $30 and have a whole men's pattern wardrobe was just too tempting to resist. I've been watching a lot of Korean dramas and all the male characters are so well dressed--it's really inspiring me to do some selfless sewing for my leading man! (Although he's much too nice to star in a kdrama :)

The first book is Men's Coats by Ryuichiro Shimazaki (keep in mind that these translations tend to vary from site to site). You may be familiar with it from the "Mainely Dad" Japanese Pattern Challenge blog where Duane tried to make all of the coats in the book. If you are into menswear sewing and don't know about this blog, go get lost in it for a few hours! He is very talented and has a wonderful eye for creative details. The projects in the book are all coats, but there's a huge array of styles, mostly classics: trench coat, pea coat, etc. I originally found it because the selection of men's trench coat patterns is absolutely abysmal, especially considering what a classic style it is, and remembered that Duane had made a wonderful, professional-looking trench--and just look at that trench sample! Gorgeous right? While I was nervous about purchasing a coat book entirely in Japanese, a language I definitely do not speak even a tiny amount of, the coats in the book and on the blog look so, so good, in the end I couldn't resist. The only overlap here with my existing pattern stash is the pea coat, since I recently purchased the Thread Theory pea coat pattern during a sale. Honestly I would have paid $30 for an OOP or vintage Vogue men's trench pattern alone, though (and, for example, the retail price of this Vogue pea coat pattern is $30, although we all know to shop the sales and get them for $5).

The second book I am very excited about. The title is Men's Clothes for All Seasons and it really seems like a very comprehensive men's clothing pattern book, with a little bit of everything. It really does contain everything you would need for casual clothing year round: five button down shirts, four tees, pants, a few layering pieces (hoodie, sweatshirt, field-type jacket) and even pajamas and boxers. I do have a few men's button down shirts patterns already (the Thread Theory Fairfield, the Liesl & Co Everyday Shirt, and a McCall's and a Vogue both of which I have forgot the number, oh, and the Colette Negroni--now I'm really ashamed that I've only ever made Alex two shirts! They do say that buying patterns and sewing clothes are two separate hobbies...) and I also have the Thread Theory Jedediah, so there is some overlap, but this book (plus shipping) was $30 so even if I only make half of the patterns I still consider it a good deal. Finally, all of the patterns should be built off of the same block, so if I decide to do any fit adjustments, I think it will be pretty easy to apply it to a whole wardrobe of items--actually, there aren't 15 full patterns, there are mix and match pieces. That said, I'm pretty much in the dark when it comes to men's fitting, so I don't think I'll be doing too much of that!

Between the two books, I feel like I could easily never have to buy another men's pattern again--actually, I think I could make an entire men's wardrobe if I added one book on formalwear and one knit underwear pattern!

One drawback is that the sizes are small, smaller than american sizes at least. Alex is pretty slim (he wears a small or medium in shirts and a 32 or 34 pant) and I think he'll be a large in most of these patterns; 37" chest, 33" waist, and 38" hip is a size L in the Clothes for All Seasons book. It does go up to 3L (XXL) but the max waist size is only a 36. Something to think about if your man is American-sized :) I have also heard that they run short--Alex is slightly taller than the average American man at 5'11" and the average Japanese man is 5'7" according to Wikipedia--so I'll be doing a lot of measuring and lengthening I think.

Have you sewn from a pattern book before, Japanese or otherwise? I'm embarrassed to say that although I own several pattern books, I've actually never made anything from any of them!


ps: keep an eye out for another post this week with all my meanswear sewing plans for 2018!

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  1. These look great, but I think, although my husband isn't huge, he's certainly much bigger than a Japanese man, and I'd have to do too much grading.

  2. Hi Allie! I'm also enchanted with these Japanese sewing books! I bought a Ryuichiro Shimazaki book on Men's Shirts but I'm ashamed to say that it's been with me for over a year but I've been too intimidated to even start tracing any pattern. So I'm really looking forward to whatever you might make from your 2 new books. I hope you'll show everything from tracing the pattern until the final product. You're such a natural sewist, I'm sure you'll make great things out of these books. Cheers!

  3. P.S. I love Korean dramas, too! ;)

  4. check out http://www.japanesesewingbooks.com. I don't speak Japanese either, but I found her dictionary of common terms translated into English really helpful for the puzzling bits, managed to finish some cute outfits!



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