If you've been following my on my Instagram you'll have seen the book below and my first project I made from it. I've since made two more items from it and thought I'd do a little book review for anyone out there interested in purchasing the book themselves.
The book's name translates roughly to " Trendy clothes for L-4L larger sizes". Japanese women tend to be quite small so their version of L is more like a Western M and sometimes an S. I'm an Australian size 10/12 M/L and I fit into the low end of the sizing scale in this book (in other Japanese sewing books I often can't fit into their largest sizes). Here's a photo of the sizing chart:
The first column is Size, then Bust, Waist, Hip (all measurements are in cm). Sizing is made for a 156-160cm tall woman.
There are 19 items you can make from the book. Some are slight variations of the same pattern so you get 15 original patterns. All the patterns are contained on 2 pieces of paper that you rip out of the back of the book.
Most of the clothes are pretty cute and flattering (although there are a few pieces that I thought were kinda ugly and dated!).
First item in the book is this pretty blouse.
It's a little hard to see in this photo but there are ruffles along the placket on each side of the top 3 buttons. Usually blouse patterns are on the more fitted side and I liked how this one was more loose and the small collar was a nice touch. The book used cotton lawn I think to make their version. I decided to make mine with a 100% polyester bambi material I found at Spotlight for $5/metre (I think it ended up being even cheaper, I vaguely remember there being 40% off, either way it was a bargain!). I have never worked with this kind of slippery material before and I was a little worried about how I would go but although there was a lot of swearing and struggling with the fabric, it doesn't show too much in the final result!
The blouse ended up being quite big and I thought it looked cute tied up in the front! I think I did a pretty good job in the end. The collar was a little troublesome, as you can see it is flipping up a little at the front. I might have to sew a couple little stitches to keep it from doing that. Normally a good press with the iron would fix it but this fabric is near impossible to iron any kind of crease into! Another troublesome bit was the buttonholes. I don't know if it's me or my machine, but I just cannot seem to get the buttonholes to sew in the same spot every time. They end up being a bit wonky but you can't see it unless you're looking up really close.
The back is really nice with a little yoke and a bit of a gather in the middle. The spot where the yoke is connected vertically in the middle, the book said to put some no-stretch tape. I didn't have any so I just put some bias tape there.
All in all I'm really pleased with the end result and it's very wearable and quite flattering. The skirt I'm wearing with it I also made. I made it last year and it was my first piece of handmade clothing! The fabric is from Tessuti Fabrics many years ago. I had it sitting in a drawer just waiting to be made into something nice but I was always too afraid to cut into it in case I ruined it! I decided to finally bite the bullet and use the fabric because it's just too beautiful to sit in a drawer. Considering this was my first piece of handmade clothing I probably should have used a fabric that wasn't so precious but it was ok in the end. I followed a tutorial on Youtube and it was really easy. I really need to fix the elastic at the back of the waist though, I made the elastic casing too big and the elastic keeps rolling up. I think it doesn't help that this fabric is a little thick so it doesn't gather nicely. I'm going to insert a few rows of thinner elastic...but that means unpicking the waistband so I'm not so keen to do it. One day! I even made a matching crop top for it but I cut the fabric too wide and there is way too much gathering going on it looks a little ridiculous. One day I will fix that too!
Alright, back to the book review!
Here are a few photos of some of the projects:
This pair of shorts I also tried to make! I changed the rise to a low-rise and also shortened them a lot (but in the end they still seemed kinda long even though they don't look long!). I don't have any photos of me wearing them though. I made these from the flower fabric as a wearable muslin but I've found they're really hard to coordinate with anything in my wardrobe! I only bought the fabric because it was really cheap, it's not the type of pattern or colour I would normally wear. I feel they look like pajama shorts!
I hope you can see the pocket detail ok, that floral print sure is busy! If I make these again I'm going to have to lengthen the crotch in the back and raise the back waistband a bit and make it curvier. I found when I sat down the shorts were dangerously close to showing too much!
This dress was the first item I made from the book and it was pretty easy. I got a little confused with the collar but I just did what seemed logical and it turned out fine. I got the beautiful fabric from Calico & Ivy, it was a bit expensive but it feels soooo nice!
I still have a few more items from the book I'd like to make one day but they're not high on my wish list so it may be a while before I make more. Here's a quick shot of what the instructions look like:
I like how there are a lot of diagrams and I think even if you couldn't read Japanese you could probably muddle through it pretty well, especially if you have some experience with sewing garments. There is a great blog called Japanese Sewing Books and she has a translated chart of what key words in the books mean like front, back, fold, hem, etc. I don't know what all these words are in Japanese so it's been helpful for me too. You can find the chart here.
If you're interested in buying the book, here are some links (they all ship internationally):
by Nagomi Fukui