I must confess that on my recent trip to Japan I didn’t expect to see many plus size women (entirely because of my pre-conceived ideas), but I was wrong! Not only did I see lots of awesomely dressed curvy women on the street, but it also turns out there are fashion magazines and sewing books for plus sizes, too. Of course, I snapped them up because Japan does sewing and fashion so well, and I’d never seen plus size Japanese patterns before. Before I delve into what I found, I apologize in advance: I don’t speak Japanese or have an in-depth knowledge of Japanese culture, so if I get anything wrong here, I’m sorry! I’m sharing what I saw but I’m sure I may have misinterpreted some things. Do please bring me up to speed in the comments, as I’d love to learn more.
Yoshimi told me that that “pocchari” roughly translates to “chubby” (with a nice tone), and the book has patterns from L (bust 98cm, waist 76cm, hip 100cm) to 5L (bust 122cm, waist 100cm, hip 124cm), which is a Big 4 size 24/26 (the first line on the table below is height).
There are 17 patterns in the book: 6 tops, 4 dresses, 2 pants, 2 coats and 2 “combinations” (jumpsuits!). At first glance they do tend towards the boxy/tent-like, however, this is a pretty common style in Japanese fashion, which I think they’re reflecting rather than “curvy women should cover up”.
The patterns are pretty cool, but I totally fell in love with the styling! How awesome do these women look?! Very awesome, that’s what.
At the back, there are nested traceable full-scale patterns, rather like BurdaStyle. I’m afraid I don’t know if seam allowance is included – can anyone read that and tell? Luckily the illustrations are comprehensive so I think if you’ve made this type of garment before you’d be fine with construction.
Next, we have “La Farfa“, a plus size pattern magazine which has been written about in the Japanese Times as well as Buzzfeed. It’s a body-positive magazine with an incredibly upbeat vibe and a huge selection of plus size fashion on view, albeit mostly for young women.
There are some unusual parts, like one section where the height and weight of the models is printed, rubenesque horoscope illustrations, and also some slightly un-politically-correct graphics of animals bursting out of their clothes…
It features real street-style fashion, and the edition I picked up has a plus-size pop idol group on the front.
I was so cheered to see both the sewing book and the magazine, and I’m sure there’s more out there that I wasn’t even aware of.
Have you ever made patterns from a Japanese sewing book? Any advice would be welcome!