Sewing for Me: Tuttle Book Reviews + Giveaway! [CLOSED]


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 PublishingΒ 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:

basic-black-book2 basic-black-book5 basic-black-book4

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? TheΒ 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!!

49 thoughts on “Sewing for Me: Tuttle Book Reviews + Giveaway! [CLOSED]

  1. Total, complete introvert here. I was probably more mixed before having a child, but now I have someone who needs Interaction! All Day Long!! and time by myself is more precious than diamonds. And I love that skirts book!

  2. Well, I was VERY introverted as a child, time and necessity cured me. This last week I made my first dress for myself and a friend took me pictures for my blog. She must have taken at least 50 for me to choose and post 4! And that was a huge step for me; I’m not the happiest person about my body. I have a huge need of me time and lonely time and I’m lucky enough to live in the countryside in Portugal and to be able to work at home so I can cherish these two sides of me.

  3. I’m not shy, but I’m very introverted! I always need some time for myself, especially after prolonged socializing. And I don’t like showing myself, even if I feel good in my body. I’ve posted the first picture of me (cropped!) in my blog some weeks ago and I keep on thinking I should delete it! I’m one-of-a-kind Italian.
    (That high neck shirt is something to die for!).

  4. I am definitely an introvert to the core. Being around other adults fatigues, but I have a little extrovert in me too. I teach nd being around my students pumps me up (most of the time).

  5. My husband and I were just talking about this. He is extroverted and I’m introverted. While we both enjoy being social he is very energized by people and I get drained if I’m around others to much. I need my alone time to be recharged.
    Love the skirts and the pat book has been on my amazon wish list for a while.

  6. Definitely an introvert. I’ve been working on the shyness part for years and am much better, and have always liked being with people but I agree that the real difference is in how you recharge. That’s been one of the challenges of having young children for me, is trying to fit in little sanity breaks throughout the day where I at least have the illusion of being alone πŸ˜‰

  7. I’m mostly an introvert but I don’t like to be alone all the time. I find that especially since I’m now a stay at home mom I crave adult interaction!

  8. I’ve had my eye on the Stylish Skirts book so would be thrilled to win it. I love your maxi skirt…I’m with you…I could wear them all summer long and save the public from my shockingly white legs! πŸ˜‰

  9. Hmmm…I think I’ve been an extrovert in the past but as I’ve gotten older I realize I’m more of an introvert/mixtrovert. I actually like my time alone and get a little exhausted being around people for too long. I don’t know if it is because you have to filter yourself with different people and that takes a lot of effort or if I just enjoy the quiet. I do think it might have changed a little since having a kid, but overall I think I was heading this way for a while.

    I don’t wear skirts and am a little afraid of them. Would love to try sewing one or two πŸ™‚

  10. how funny you should ask this as i am currently reading quiet by susan cain and based on this i would say i am an introvert although i have moments of mixtrovert. i do prefer my own company and often crave alone time especially as i am a full time mum and time alone is a treat rather than a regular event. a walk in the countryside or time to sew is often far more recharging than a big party.

    this year i am venturing in to sewing clothes for me and so it would be great to sew some skirts. thank you.

  11. Introvert. It takes me long time to befriend people and open up to them. I feel defensive in work situations,

    But I am a skirt person! The skewed skirt person, rather, love Japanese high fashion influences, though I don’t have the budget for it. So, yes, I’d like to win!

  12. I’m like you — a little introvert a little extrovert. So is my husband.

    My oldest, on the other hand, is a complete extrovert and sometimes it drives us crazy! He cannot be by himself and thrives on company. Even if he’s having quiet time, he still wants me to be sitting next to him the whole time. It gets so exhausting!

  13. I have always been truly introverted. Having a child made me interact more but i still prefer to spend time by myself. I do like a bit of interaction these days, all this forced interaction has made an impact so at this point I’m about 90/10 introvert/extrovert.

  14. I am an extrovert all the way. It’s funny that many of my kids are introverts, like their dad, and I have a hard time understanding that sometimes. But I like how we’re each unique.

  15. More of an introvert for sure. I could spend days without talking to other people or leaving my house and be perfectly content. It’s funny because I was not like that when I was in high school or college. I always wanted to be around people then. Now I prefer just being with smaller groups of close friends and family. I’m with you on needing some alone time to recharge.
    Thanks for the giveaway! Both your pieces look fabulous and very comfy for summer.

  16. hehe i’m in the same boat, blog photos of self wise. sometimes i feel like i need to break up selfish sewing posts with kid sewing posts so people don’t get bored of me. but i should probably get over it because when i’ve seen other bloggers start sewing for themselves more, i love it! it’s inspiring! and YOU are one of those inspiring bloggers!

    anyway…any time i’ve taken one of those Meyers-Briggs tests i come up introvert, but kind of borderline. so i don’t have too much trouble being extroverted, but i’m far more comfortable being introverted. i have a theory that most sewists kind of have to be introverts, because it’s an activity mostly done alone – you have to want to go spend hours pretty much by yourself to sew and i think introverts are more attracted to that, ya know?

  17. I’d say a mix of both but lean more towards being introverted. The skirt you made looks awesome!

  18. Mixtrovert, ha! I love that term. Today i am an introvert but tomorrow i might be more extrovert…

  19. I’m definitely an extrovert and so is my little girl. Although I’m quite happy spending hours by myself behind the sewing machine or a good book. I love it when you post photos of yourself in things you’ve sewn. It makes it so much better than trying to visualize the fit on something prettily dangling on a model or a hanger. Thank you!

  20. I’m not shy, but definitely an introvert. I fought it during my teens and early twenties, but I’ve worked out now that while I love doing social things I prefer small groups & need downtime between activities.
    I’m reading Quiet by Susan Cain right now and having so many lightbulb moments.

  21. I have always been an extroverted kind of person. I talk to everyone and I am happy around lots of people.
    My mother always tells this little story:
    As she was picking me up at the kindergarten I would ask: Mum, where are we going now? and she would replay: Home! and I would say: No! Any place but home!
    I already had my basic Black on my wish list. Now, after seeing the blouse you made I know I have to have it!
    Great giveaway! Thanks, Sanae!

  22. Lovely skirt and top (and giveaway!) I am, and have always been an extrovert: if I have been on my own too long, I feel flat and not-myself. ..but, as I grow older the length of time that is too long is getting longer, and I actually need some quiet time after really busy days. So this is a long way of saying age and volume of people make me a mixtrovert!

  23. Introvert for sure! One of the challenging things about motherhood has been finding the time to be alone by myself to recharge. Luckily, it doesn’t seem to take too long, or one of the kids would complain! By the way, I love your sewing for yourself posts. You’re very genuine and approachable. Don’t worry about too many selfies!

  24. Self-diagnosed introvert. Pretty textbook, I think. But I do love my time with people I love! And with people I admire and look forward to meeting:)
    Love your latest sewing creations. The black top will be uber versatile – I think your cardi/scarf idea is great (and would totally be the way I’d wear it too between our cold MI winters and over airconditioned buildings). Please don’t include my name in the skirt book giveaway as apparently I just won it elsewhere:)

  25. I’m an introvert. Looks like you have a lot of introverts commenting here! Whenever I take those tests, I score high on the introvert side. But, you know. Everyone is different, and these labels are just tools.

    I really like the look of that Basic Black book–the styles are great and would work in any color, I think. And the skirt book is intriguing! I would love to win a copy. I have some crinkly cotton gauze (yup, black) that would be perfect for that skirt with irregular gathering.

    Your skirt and top came out great! I’m so glad that you share these things on your blog. Thank you. Maybe someday I’ll be brave enough to do that too πŸ™‚

  26. I am a mix. I tend towards introvert, but I don’t mind being around people most of the day. I really do need some quiet ‘my space’ time in the afternoons to wind down from a long day. Hubby never bothers me when I am winding down, but most other people do.

  27. Definitely an extrovert when it comes to things that matter. But I do enjoy having some “alone” time.

  28. I’m a bit of both depending on the situation, but I lean towards extrovert. I get more quiet without people I know around, but if I know people then I’m very outgoing =)

  29. I think I’m naturally an introvert. I have to remind myself to get out and be social sometimes. These pattern books look great!

  30. I am a mix…i used to be all extrovert. And in groups, I usually lean that way..but i am an extrovert that must have alone time and do my thing. Especially since i have had children. haha
    p.s. i wear skirts allll the time. would love to win. the other book looks awesome too!

  31. Definitely introverted here. Although I like people more these days I think than I ever did in the past.
    The pattern books look fab and I love the shirt you have made for yourself.

  32. ooh! I’ve missed you while I’ve been away at camp! I’m heavily in the extrovert camp but I need time alone too. So I don’t know where that puts me…. Thanks for the heads up on the amazing books!

  33. mixtrovert for me! I love to be at home doing my own thing by myself, but I also love being in a crowd too πŸ™‚

  34. I am an extrovert – all the way! BUT I often joke that I am textbook extrovert 95% of the time and introvert 5%. And usually I really do not want to be around anyone during that time….

  35. Introvert here for sure… Put me in a crowded loud situation and all I want to do is be curled up on the couch at home, knitting in hand.

  36. A mix, too, but leaning towards introversion. My recharging definitely comes from being alone and quiet, but I also like social situations (mostly when it’s with people I know, and not as frequently as a lot of other people), and I’m not scared to talk in front of a crowd.

  37. I like to be around a lot of people, as long as i don’t have to talk to them! ha.

  38. I’m definitely an introvert and a bit shy.. but, as you said, with this whole taking-selfies-and-posting-them-online gig, I just gotta go forth boldly after a certain point. I was not comfortable at the first time, but I encourage myself to do it and be confident.. πŸ˜‰ because there were things can’t be replaced or it feels like something missing by not showing your self (or face)..

    By the way, I love the tailored dresses and skirts on the book πŸ™‚

  39. I think that this is a hard question to answer. I once looked it up, the difference between introvert and extrovert, and what I read said that an introvert feels recharged when they have time alone, and an introvert feels recharged after spending time with others. So I guess that makes me an introvert.

  40. As a young adult, I thought I was an extrovert, the Myers Briggs profile told me I was right on the line, but as I get older, I think I am becoming more introverted. An introvert who loves skirts of course : )!

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