More pictures of me, yes. I’m trying to hold back from apologizing because after a certain point, you just gotta go forth boldly with this whole sewing-for-self-and-taking-selfies-and-posting-them-online gig, even if it feels like your face is plastered all over the place already and giving people nightmares. But I promised the good folks at Tuttle Publishing to review a couple of pre-release Japanese Sewing Books translated into English that they kindly sent me, and here we are.
While these two books retain the simple and clean aesthetic of the genre, I have to say they are surprisingly unlike the other Japanese books I’ve sewn from. They’re rather fabulous. I’m going to go ahead and talk about both lovelies today, and bonus for you: I’ll be giving away one of the books!
Let’s start with the Basic Black book. I’m not sure I would go so far as edgy in reference to the designs, but every item in the book is sewn in black and that’s definitely unique. I selected this “tunic” top for it’s curvy silhouette and boat neck detail (and okay, because it had no closures and looked super easy). Naturally, I was compelled to sew it in black — I think it’s some kind of suiting? There’s a good amount of stretch in the fabric but wasn’t finicky in the least. Here’s what it looks like in the book:
Along with an infinite number of other things that I’m picky about, I just don’t feel comfortable pulling off the lace flutter sleeve look. I don’t disagree that lace trimmings on garments are awesome, but I think using the word “girl” here sets the tone that this is a garment meant for young’uns, hence reinforcing my discomfort. What really fascinated me about this top, though, is that the recommended fabric for the main bodice front and back is fleece. How unexpected!
As you can see, I made it without the lace, and I cut out the Medium/Large (this top only comes in either small or medium/large), and I may have been able to get away with the small with some added length. My boatneck became more of a cowl and there’s an awful lot of underarmage showing. As I’d predicted, this was such an easy, quick sew and you know, I think it’s quite fetching. It says, “I’m versatile and comfy and hey, I’d look grand with a cardi and scarf.”
This book is fantastic! As I flipped through it, I kept thinking “Oh, I want to make that! And that one! And definitely that one!” Like so:
I’m especially fond of the zip-up vest (there’s a jacket version too), and this is a must-sew for autumn. I’m also loving the more body-fitting garments like that top above, though to be sure, there’s an abundance of the loose garbs the Japanese are known for. I declare Basic Black a winner!
Shall we talk about skirts? The Stylish Skirts book, in particular? I should briefly mention that this book is no longer in pre-release mode and is available at this time. Anyway, I may have pooh-poohed skirts in the past, but I plumb forgot about maxi skirts. I could wear nothing but maxi skirts and be perfectly content.
So the radically different thing about this book is that there are no pattern sheets. You can see a sampling of the skirts included in the book above, and as I browsed through the styles, trying to decide which one to sew, it finally hit me that the instructions were for drafting the skirt patterns from scratch.
This was the skirt I was instantly drawn to, and wouldn’t you know it, it also happened to only require rectangles and I didn’t even realize that until I focussed on the construction steps. I swear, I’m not that lazy. The pictured skirt is made out of black lace, but I dug up some crinkly navy cotton/knit fabric that I thought would work well:
It looks a little like georgette, but isn’t quite as sheer or light — it’s also stretchier. I don’t like ties around my waist, so I just made it a simple elasticized waistband.
Perhaps because I started the skirt late at night, it took me a lot longer than I estimated, but it’s an utterly straightforward skirt to sew, and I really, really like it. Maybe even love it. It’s casual with interesting bits (there are varying sized panels gathered in different parts of the skirt), and it’s an ideal summer item. Maxi skirts are the best.
I’m so pleased with both pieces, and now for the good stuff: the giveaway. I’m obviously way too smitten with the Basic Black book to part ways with it (it will be available for purchase in July), but the Stylish Skirts book is up for grabs! This book has a lot to offer too, including some funky and unconventional styles, but I’m still not much of a skirt person unless it’s practically sweeping the floors, so it doesn’t make much sense for me to hold onto it.
So the giveaway question…earlier this week, I took a walk with a friend and the subject of introverts/extroverts came up. We both agreed that we are a little bit introverted, but don’t feel like classic, text-book versions. A mixtrovert, if you will. K and M are fully, whole hog extroverts, and I always marvel at how they derive so much energy from being around people all. the. time. I need alone time to re-charge, but I like to be around people for the most part.
So how about you? Are you an introvert? Extrovert? Or if you’re a mix, which way do you lean? Please leave a comment with your answer. The giveaway will be open until next Thursday, July 3rd, and I’ll announce the winner on the Fourth of July! International participants are welcome, of course. Good luck!!