Monday, May 19, 2014

Japanese Sewing Book Review - Basic Black by Sato Watanabe

Have you seen this book in the bookshop in town?

It's a Japanese sewing book packed with 26 patterns for blouse, vests, skirts, dress and jackets, in the classic colour of  Black of course!

And a good news to all japanese sewing book enthusiasts who don't understand Japanese, this book is recently translated to English!  You would never had guess that the book was first published in 2005 because the designs are all so edgy and modern.

I like the book because of the wide range of patterns.  There are 5 patterns for Jackets alone!
Flannel Short Coat
Tweed Jacket with Rounded Collar 
There are some unique and unusual dresses with asymmetric designs and trims/darts.

Boatneck Dress with Bust Darts
Asymmetric Jumper Dress
Asymmetric Blouse with Tape Trim

I've not seen the Japanese version so I can't compare the English version. But from my past experiences sewing from Japanese sewing book, this one has a lot more description and all the diagrams and important parts are labelled so you will not be confused.

The japanese version usually has only measurements in centimetres but the English version comes with both cm and Inches, so you don't have to look for your measuring tapes to translate for you!

Another plus points for this book is they actually categories the patterns into 3 groups: Loose, fitted or garments with darts and shaping seams.  The finished measurements by Bust, Waist and Hip are also given for each patterns which is very useful as this may differs based on the design ease in the patterns.

The book comes in 4 sizes" XS, S, M, L" and there are 2 pattern sheets folded neatly in the envelope at the back of the book. I find this very useful as the Japanese version usually have the patterns pasted on the first or last page which you have to physically tear them out and so they always dropped out of the book whenever I pull out the books from my shelves.

Further details are given on each pattern sheet, on sizes and how to use the patterns. One thing though, the pattern pieces may not be found on one sheet so you have to tally the number of pieces with the book.  I think this is inevitable when you try to squeeze all the patterns in just 2 sheets of paper.

And of course, you need to add in your seams allowance. Standard SA for Japanese pattern is usually 1cm if not specify.  For hem allowance, usually they will indicate on the cutting layout plan on the book.

Like all Japanese sewing booking, they have a page on Essential tools and handy gadgets. Helpful for those who are new to sewing.  They explain clearly on the use and functions of the tools.

So, did I make anything from this book?  Of course!  I love this shawl collar on this long dress but I didn't want a long dress so guess what, I cut it shorter and made myself a blouse instead.  I'll share more on this in my next post since this is getting too long.

Interested to grab your own copy?  You can find "Basic Black" in all leading bookstores, retailing at $22.

"Basic Black" by Sato Watanabe
Tuttle Publishing
ISBN 978-4-8053-1308-4

I was given this book for review by the Tuttle Publishing but all the comments and reviews are solely mine.  If you like to see more translated japanese sewing book, click on here to see other titles.

I'll leave you with a preview of my shawl collar here..

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