Sewing Adventures – Japanese inspired menswear

By Susan | May 5, 2014

Exciting day as today I’m featuring some menswear sewing.

On our last trip to Japan we stayed at a pod/capsule hotel. But not just any pod hotel, this one looks like something from Space Odyssey and is possibly one of the coolest places I have ever slept.


You book in and pack all your belongings into lockers. From there you can go in and have showers, in the lockers at the showers there are pyjamas for you to put on, then lounge about in the common room, before heading off to your pod to sleep (pods and showers are also on separate floors for men and women).

I got a modified version of a tracksuit to wear with long pants elastic waist pants and a long sleeve round neck top. It was fine, until I saw that The Englishman had been provided with a traditional Jinbei or Japanese lounge wear. It consists of a pair of drawstring shorts and a jacket/top with elbow length sleeves, a band style collar and crosses over and ties at the side. Not only did it look Boss As, it was also super comfortable. Despite being highly tempted to pack it in his bag and take it home with him, he didn’t steal it but instead we found a store selling traditional clothes where he bought himself one. That poor Jinbei has been worn to shreds. It was in high rotation as after long bicycle rides or running it was the perfect lounge around the house and recover type outfit.

So the mission has been on to re create a Jinbei. I had picked up a pattern from my favourite Japanese fabric store while we in Japan and made it up once before. I obviously wasn’t thinking as I cut it out on the largest size. It swam on The Englishman who while tall is incredibly fit and so very lean.

On the last Sydney Spoolettes visit to Cabramatta I picked up some fabrics to start the Jinbei production line. A brown stripe cotton linen with a slub in the weave and a blue and white cotton chambray. I tested the shorts of the pattern out in the brown stripe first. This time I’ve cut them out to the smallest size.


They are very simple pull on style shorts with a drawstring waist. To make them more comfortable I’ve made three quarters of the waistband a super soft elastic and then stitched cotton tape to the ends of the elastic to create the drawcord. All of that is hidden inside the waist casing but it just adds to the comfort.

These photos make his feet look weird. He is a cyclist and usually has shaved legs, but here the tan line on his ankle is making his feet look freakishly pale.


The cotton/linen was beautiful to sew with and I’m kicking myself I didn’t buy enough to make a matching Jinbei jacket to go with the shorts. So for now The Englishman is accessorising with Dinosaur t-shirts.





Hi, I'm Susan. A designer living in Sydney, Australia.

Here I share tales of my sewing, my pattern collection and insights into what it's like to work as a professional fashion designer.

Other recurring themes include cat photos and an ever changing hair style.



Friends and Affiliates

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository