If you search on eBay or Etsy, read a number of sewing blogs or hang out at sites such as Craftster, or even shop at some online fabric stores you’ll see that there’s a new interest when it comes to sewing – Japanese craft books (and magazines). The Japanese style definitely has it’s own look that, so far, hasn’t been recreated by American writers. Until now, that meant, if you had an interest in trying out some of these cute projects for yourself, you not only had to track down someone who was selling these international books (and they can get quite pricey), but you also had to figure out a way to overcome the language barrier once you received your book. Thankfully, both of these dilemmas are now solved because Vertical publishing has taken some of the most sought after Japanese craft books (IMHO) and translated them into English and made them available through American booksellers!
The newest release (available in March 2008) is Aranzi Aranzo’s Cute Stuff – a book filled with 17 different projects for accessories, bags, and things to wear. Keep in mind that this book is for accessories only – if you’re looking to make nuigurumi, or stuffed dolls, that you won’t find them in this book (Vertical has published two other works by Aranzi Aranzo, Cute Dolls (Let’s Make Cute Stuff) and Fun Dolls (Let’s Make Cute Stuff) which cover this topic. You can read my brief review on them here). In addition to all the adorable projects included in the book (some of my favorites include the fun tissue cases, Mr. Sweaty bottle holders, and long doll scarves), it also covers the ‘basics’ – what sorts of materials you may need, how to make a pattern, and a quick ‘how to’ on sewing. There are just a few brief directions for each project, but tons of illustrations to help you through each step – be sure to pull out the metric side of your ruler though, inches won’t be listed in this book (yardage requirements are also not listed, however, most items look to be made with small enough pieces you may have some in your ‘scrap’ pile)! I found that all the items in the book look simple enough to create in just a few hours or an afternoon project for a child to complete with just a bit of guidance.
So, if you’ve been dying to try out a Japanese book, but have stayed away because of the language barrier – you don’t have to wait any longer! Not only can you make those cute dolls, but the accessories that have their image too!