Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wardrobe Refashion, Japanese Style

"Living in LA is fun." said Bad Dad as we ate Japanese food for dinner, after eating Korean food for lunch and visiting Boyle Heights in the morning. It was like visiting Japan, Korea and Mexico in one day. While he was flying home Friday evening, Iris and I ate at King's Hawaiian in Torrance, which is like having a layover in Honolulu.

We set off in the morning to the Sears repair center in Marina del Rey* because the Sears website said that the dryer part we needed to repair our Kenmore was in stock there. We checked the store hours online and planned to be there shortly after opening. What the website didn't say was that Sears closed that service center May 15, 2009. Yup, we missed it by one day. The guy packing up the store told us the phone number and address of the service center in Boyle Heights (East Los Angeles) and off we went.

The Sears was like a giant beacon in the neighborhood. Inside, the store was like a time machine, reminding Mark of the main Sears in San Diego in the 1970s. A sign outside the repair center said, "If you can bring it in, we can repair it." A sign as you enter the main store said, "We are here to stay." We hope Sears really means it. The parking lot hosted several Mexican-style food and juice carts.

Heading back to the freeway, we drove by the toy and fashion districts. Another day, we have to go back there. It looked so interesting.

Anyway, we lunched at a Lee's Tofu House, a Korean tofu restaurant in Gardena. I like tofu, but the real draw for me is the kimchee bar. They were so nice there; every time we finished off one of the little dishes of kimchee, they would take it away and refill it. Finally, we had to tell our waitress to stop or else we would be too full to eat our entrees. (Half of it came home in a doggy bag because we have no self control around kimchee.)

Later in the afternoon, we stopped by Books Sanseido where I got these two books. Check out this how-to book for recycling t-shirts and men's dress shirts into cutting edge fashions. The cover shows a Trompe-l'œil dress made from a large t-shirt sewn to a tank top.


I like this bustle shirt made from two large t-shirts.
You can see the back bustle in this photo.
Two men's dress shirts make up this blouse. Look at the cupcake balanced on her shoulder.
This sundress uses one shirt for the dress, and the bottom part of the body from three more for the ruffles. You can make other projects with the remainder of the other three shirts or use other yardage. There's the cupcake again.
Shirt collars make this bag.
I also bought this periodical which has both patterns and a fabric catalog.

If you blow up the image, you can see that it says sewing instructions are on page 74 and fabric information is on page 48. The fabrics used in the magazine are mostly 100% cotton, 110 cm wide and about 2000 yen per yard. Full -sized patterns are included in a tear out section in the back of the magazine.
They made this top in two fabrics, one plain, and this printed one.
* I suppose visiting Marina del Rey was like visiting another country for white people, or maybe time traveling to 1970s demographics.


  1. I miss California! I am so jealous of those Japanese books. They are so creative and have such interesting ideas

  2. Oh I love the Japanese books.

  3. Anonymous11:17

    Fantastic! I have so many old shirts and stuff I've been saving, usually 100% cotton -- do you have isbn numbers for these books?


  4. What a great book! Thanks for sharing, and inspiring. I'm afraid I have ideas/plans for way more projects than I think I will ever have time to complete. Seems like an okay problem to me, though!

  5. I posted the ISBN #s above the covers of both books. You can order them through or If there is a Books Sanseido near you (western US, Chicago and NJ areas), you can save on shipping if you special order through them and pick it up at the store.


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