This might be my most ambitious series yet. People have said they enjoy the multi-week series I’ve done, like the summer sew-alongs or shoe school, and I also find it enjoyable to explore a theme in more depth. When I’m doing the blog, I definitely welcome input on what you’d like to see, but also, as the number of followers grows, I have to remember the old saying, “You can please some of the people some of the time…”
When I made Little Darling this school uniform, she looked so cute, I thought about a whole series of her in other traditional clothing from Japan. And then I decided she needed some accessories and furnishings too, since they add so much to a display, and what she’s got now is enough to furnish a little room!
Chances are, if someone says “Japanese clothing” to you, your mind conjures up a yukata, the single-layered cotton kimono tied with a thin matching belt or possibly an obi. But historically, there have been lots of different types of Japanese clothing suited for various purposes. Little Darling seemed like a good choice to showcase these, because she can easily share clothes with other readily-available dolls like Corolle Cheries, Natterer 13” dolls, Betsy McCall, Hearts for Hearts, and even some BJDs. Another advantage is that she is just small enough that it wouldn’t be too hard to make (and store) some cute furniture and accessories.
A few weeks ago I put a request for resizing help on FB, with the result that I can also bring you the AG size. (Thank you, Beth!) Sadly, no one volunteered to check the versions for Sasha/KnC/Maru/Ann Estelle, so I’m testing those myself and may be selling the pattern with all the sizes and more complete directions sometime in the future.
While I’ve tried to convince DH that we actually need to go there to take the photos, we don’t have a reliable farm-sitter to take care of our pets, which means I haven’t actually been out of the Denver metro area in years. I’ve been scouring the web for public domain images and just taking the pix in CO, letting your imagination pretend she’s in Japan. :)
I hope you and your favorite little doll will have as much fun exploring Japan through these sewing and crafting projects as I did!
Suggested Reading: (a few books I own and love)
The Book of Kimono by Norio Yamanaka (good English-language reference on traditional Kimono and how to wear)
Make Your Own Japanese Clothes: Patterns and Ideas for Modern Wear by John Marshall (modern adaptations by a Westerner, but good basic patterns)
Japanese Homes and their Surroundings by Edward S. Morse (Fabulous reference, not just about houses but how people in Japan lived in the 1860s, right as Japan opened to foreigners. This is in the public domain and also available as a ebook on archive.org)
A Japanese Touch for Your Home by Koji Yagi (nice pix of interiors)
Miss Happiness and Miss Flower (children’s fiction) by Rumer Godden
Little Plum (children’s fiction) by Rumer Godden
ドールハウス和のしつらえ (Japanese Dollhouses) by Takako Mizohata and Kozue Kuboki (hard to find and shipping is expensive, but worth it if you like miniatures!)
Free LEGAL downloads of a few ebooks:
https://archive.org/details/japanesecostume12guns (book on Japanese costume from 1923)
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1580&context=tsaconf (paper on historical clothing)
https://archive.org/details/bookofkimonodesi00kabu kimono design book from 1884
Tale of Genji as a Manga!
This is a list of other Japanese and Asian-style patterns I’ve done that are free on the blog:
Printable origami paper: