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Issey Miyake patterns

sewphaedra | Posted in Patterns on

I’ve sewed Vogue Designer patterns for years and my favorite is Issey Miyake. I am making a shirt right now, and I love the mystery of the process. At a certain point in his clothing construction I have to throw up my hands and say “I have absolutely no idea how this is going to come together, I sure hope I’m doing it right” and then–voila–you somehow have an article of clothing. It’s like the challenge of learning to sew all over again which is such fun for someone who has been doing this for over 25 years.
Are there other patterns out there like this? I thought maybe Sewing Workshop.


  1. carolfresia | | #1

    Hi, Snappy. WHich Miyake shirt are you making? I love his patterns, too, but as you say, you sometimes simply have to trust in the pattern directions and hope for the best! I have a half-finished shirt of his in my closet now, which gave me grief with many inset corners. My fabric was not very cooperative with those, alas. However, once I get some other projects out of the way, I'll finish it (cuffs, buttons, hems, some handsewing) so I can wear it this spring.

    Several years ago I made the blouse from Vogue 1476 in a heavy black linen, so it's really quite a roomy overblouse. I've worn it endlessly (including through 9 mos. of pregnancy), so now it's rumply and off-grey, and perhaps better than ever. That one's not too hard to make--the front pocket's interesting but I left if off to speed up the process (I wouldn't ever use a breast pocket anyway, I don't think). The coat and pants in that pattern are really great too, though I haven't made them myself.

    You're right, many of the Sewing Workshop patterns are strongly inspired by Miyake designs, but in some cases the techniques and instructions have been streamlined somewhat to make the sewing process slightly more straightforward. One that I like a lot (groan--I confess again that I have this cut out but not even started otherwise in my sewing room) is the Equinox Jacket. This has the most unusual pattern--just one big piece (with several little pieces for trim, facings, etc.) that folds in an interesting way to become a great-looking jacket. I wasn't convinced by the pattern envelope sketch, but I tried on a sample last fall and fell in love with the design.


    1. sewphaedra | | #2

      We may be talking about the same blouse, mine is Vogue 2580 with a funnel neck and the front folds over. Those inset corners were challenging, and I made it in a small checked silk so you can really tell they don't line up perfectly. Oh well, I'm having fun and it's almost finished. I'm going to do View B (plain collar) in a grey-striped shirting material.

      1. stitchmd | | #3

        I have been wondering about whether to try one of his patterns. The pictures make them look so voluminous that I thought they'd look awful on me, as I am short and fat. Do they only suit the tall, thin model types or would anyone look good in them? I definitely want some less conservative, more artsy clothing and a challenge.

        1. sewphaedra | | #4

          Well, I finished my blouse last night and it's a little stocky looking. I'm going to have to take it up in the back or put some artsy buttons back there with a pleat because it has no waist! So I'd say they'd work well for stockier people since the clothing is often somewhat architectural and stands on its own without following the body.

        2. carolfresia | | #7

          I"d go by the individual style, and also be careful when selecting fabric. You can get away with a fair amount of volume if you choose fabric that's quite drapable. I've seen the top from 1476 on a couple of petite, plus-size figures, shortened somewhat, and it looks really nice. Some of his patterns have several layers; I've pared one of these back by simply leaving off the two overlays, and ended up with a nice, linen summer top. In a much softer, lighter fabric the overlays would have been fine, however.  Since many of his patterns (early ones especially) are designed with a lot of built-in ease, you might be able to go down a size or more and still have a nice fit with slightly less fabric floppy around--just measure the pattern first to be sure.


          1. stitchmd | | #10

            Thank you Carol. It is logical advice, but since I had no experience with his designs and knew they were constructed idiosyncratically I didn't know if there were places to shorten, etc. It wasn't until recently that Vogue patterns have been discounted where I live, so it would have been a big waste of $ to play around. I'm going to give it a shot one of these days.

      2. carolfresia | | #6

        Yes, that's the one I'm working on (sort of--if I can get back to the sewing room some day soon). I've done plenty of successful inset corners in my time, but these were a challenge in the fabric I had--it was too thin to camouflage any slight irregularities, and also too springy (a bit of lycra) to lie down and get pushed around the way I needed to. Oh well.

        I haven't even gotten to the buttons yet, although I did obsessively mark where they're supposed to go. I think I'll just wait and try it on, and then position them so that the blouse looks flattering. And by the way, Miyake has a couple of patterns with pleats and tucks formed with snap tape on the back, so you could do some kind of improvised fitting if you like, and be on the right wavelength.


        Edited 1/15/2003 1:16:58 PM ET by CAROLFRESIA

        1. sewphaedra | | #8

          Yes, I'm winging it with the buttons. I did mark the whole thing very carefully, but the blouse ended up being very straight, which made it too tight across my hips and looser than I'd like at my waist. So I adjusted the lower 3 buttons and also am adding a fold and buttonhole/button at the back to pinch in the waist a bit. At first I was annoyed that it didn't fit right, but now I'm excited about how easy it is to make fitting changes at this late stage by moving and adding buttons and folds.

          1. carolfresia | | #9

            That's what I'm worried about with mine--the size I cut out was just marginally right for the hips, but I figured I could loosen up the buttons and it would work out OK. I hope Issey Miyake isn't reading this and cringing, but, like you, I try to take advantage of the unconventional nature of the designs to customize them to my tastes.


      3. DWRead | | #11

        There's an Issey Miyake list at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MiyakePatterns/

        One member(s) went to a lot of trouble to scan and post pictures of every Miyake design she could find! There is also a swap board.


    2. yaelshuman | | #16

      What pattern are you working on. It sounds great. I love his designs but I haven't tried sewing any of them yet. I would love to try. Vashti

      1. susanna | | #17

        I'm an IM fan, too, with 2566 sitting in my stash of patterns unmade. Wondering if anyone has tried this one. Would like to do it in lightweight linen but am torturing my mind over whether or not to use handkerchief linen, and where on the planet can I get some patterned handkerchief linen. Does anyone know of a source? Otherwise, I'm just going to dye some, I guess. Thanks.

        1. carolfresia | | #18


          I made the top from 2566 last summer in a medium-weight linen, but this is the one in which I eliminated all the overlays and just used the basic t-style top. If you plan to use all the overlays, use the lightest, finest weight you can--there are places where you'll have three layers to deal with, and I think it could get heavy and perhaps unflatteringly bulky otherwise. Another option might be something with a bit more drape than linen--a soft rayon, or light batiste, perhaps? I actually think the top (and skirt) would look great in georgette, but personally can't imagine ever having time to do all those hems on all the overlays (and I'd be concerned about pulling and tearing where the overlays are attached to the top).

          I like my version of the top quite a lot, even though it's pared way back. I left of the button at the neckline and like the way it drapes.


  2. BYDEZINE | | #5

    yes, some sewing workshop patterns are like that. I made a pair of trousers that seemed totally counterintuitive in their construction and when I finished them, they were a fantastic fit.  It makes the process a challenge doesn't it?

  3. susanmwilson | | #12

    Hi, I am a Miyakehead as well.  I love his patterns and the last one I made was 2667, which I sewed in 2 layers only.  I have collected (thru swapping, e-bay etc.) about 80 Miyake patterns and am missing about 12 or so out of the whole collection. 

    What I like is that if the style appeals to you they are remarkably flattering on almost all body types although some are a bit voluminous.   Also they are very hard to date, so they are never out of style!

    Sometimes they are difficult to alter as the pattern pieces are difficult to understand to say the least!  I have been pestering Vogue to reissue some older ones, and they have reissued one recently which was good.  Hopefully the relationship between Miyake and Vogue will continue on!  You can see some of my Miyakes at:


    I have also made several others.

    1. rjf | | #13

      They're great looking outfits but they must come with a set of directions for putting on.  How do you figure out which button goes to which buttonhole?  Maybe you get to choose!  They look like fun to wear and comfortable.       rjf

    2. sewphaedra | | #14

      I love the photos! You've done that short-sleeved blouse that I've been thinking of for spring. The pattern says 'contrast' for that inner layer, but Vogue pictures it just in black, so I was curious about where the contrast was. Your picture shows it.

      Also, your red blouse is the one I just finished in a red/white checked silk taffeta. I wanted it to be more fitted at the waist, how did yours turn out?

      1. susanmwilson | | #15

        Mine is fine at the hip, but the waist is not as fitted as I expected from the pattern photo.  I adjusted the button placement as I sewed where I felt the buttons looked & fit best.  Sue

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