Friday, 14 May 2010

How to ....Tracing Japanese Magazine Pochee patterns

I am just getting to grips with deciphering the instructions in Pochee Vol 7.  I am breaking myself in gently by making a waistcoat, mainly as an exercise in understanding the diagrams and pattern pieces   before I start one of the tunics.

This pattern is one size.  The other patterns are M or L and there is a box with measurements so you know which you are.  They are based on a relatively slender Japanese frame.  Height is 160cm for all sizes, I am 164cm so for other garments I may need to lengthen hems/ sleeves etc.   The magazine works in the traditional Japanese way which for a western reader means from back to front and the instructions and diagrams scan right to left.  The first pages show the main feature garments in the mag, beautifully styled and pics/info about the designers.  There are detailed colour photo instructions how to make of a basic version of the main design of that issue and some key techniques that feature in many of the designs.  The instructions are all together in the middle and the pattern pieces are on big fold out sections ready to be traced off.  At the back there are more pictures of garments.   The photos of garments you can sew will have a How To Make caption and a page ref which will take you to the right page for instructions, pattern layout etc. 

In the instructions  there is the page refernce for the photo of the garment in a shaded circle (top left).  you can see the shape of the pattern pieces in the layout diagram in the bottom left.  On the far right there is info about fabric quantities although this is easier to read in the layout picture.  There is also a number in square brackets, in this case [20]  which will identify the pattern pieces on the fold out section,  and a number preceding it, to identify which fold out section to use.   Each fold out section has a key printed on it:

Look for the fold out section with your number in square brackets e.g. [20] and the pattern pieces will be printed on that sheet.  you might have to look at it for a while to find it- there will be the number next to the pattern piece.  You can see it in pic below half way down the right edge.

I tape layout paper over the top secured with little bits of masking.  Japanese patterns have no seam allowances so you need to add these.  I added 1cm for shoulder and side seams.  Instructions for the size of other hems, seams etc are on the layout.

On the waistcoat pattern pieces there are numbers 2 and 3 in circles with a line pointing, these mean add 3cm or 2 cm when you trace the pattern on these sections.  Sorry if I am stating the obvious but sometimes you need to spell it out!

In the layout pic above there is also a diagram for cutting bias strips, 2 strips 4cm wide 29cm long for the waistcoat ties. Two strips 3cm wide 65cm long for arm hole binding and 2 strips 3cm long which will join together to make a 120cm strip for the long neck edge- I think that is right!

I will cut these out and assembly a toile version over the weekend.  I'll post more on this next week as I get to grips with it.


  1. Hi Kerry, this waistcoat is great!
    Where did you get that mag from? I googled for it but didnt find it. Can you tell me the exact name?
    Eleonore from Germany

  2. Hi Eleonore, I bought it via ebay from a seller called pomadour24, she also has an etsy shop with the same name. She mails from Japan and sends internationally. The magazine is called Pochee and this edition is Volume 7 Spring 2009. I have also bought Spring 2010 which is maybe even more delicious than this one- I will post about it soon.

  3. I am addicted to sewing pochee magazine. I have sewn so many things from them. The last one I got was just for children's clothing. LOVE IT!!! It is kind of tricky when you first start out, having to trace the patterns , but well worth it.

  4. Fascinated by the cut of the garments, I've just ordered my first Pochee, and went looking for other westerners who had experience with them. This is such a valuable post to me (back to front! Who knew?). I am enormously grateful, and plan to follow your adventures closely. Thank you!

    Pam in Wisconsin, USA


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