Monday, December 15, 2014

Book Review - Sew Sweet, Handmade clothes for girls

I got another Japanese book review here today.  The kind people at Tuttle publishing has sent me this English translated Japanese sewing book last month.  Finally, I can sit down to do a proper review of the book.

This book is by Yuki Araki (荒木由紀), one of my favourite author.  I've got 2 of her books: きちんと可愛い女の子服 (which goes up to size 160!) and ほんのりsweet 女の子の服 (up to  size 140).  Both of these books are in Japanese and I really love the fabric and style in her books.  The author loves to add in her personal notes and comments for each design which I sometimes find it hard to interpret in the Japanese version since my Japanese skills is just basic. So, I'm glad to have this english translated version that gives me insight to her design and style.

This sewing book is for size 90 to 120.  In Japanese sewing book, they usually take reference to the child height as a guide to choose the size.  My youngest is at size 110 but her height is 120 so I use 110 bodice and added in the length.

The book covers 22 dresses, skirts, pants and tops. All very sweet and cute. They even include 2 blouse pattern for mom.

She loves to use floral print and sweet colour combination that I think works really well for sweet girl look. The book also include a pattern for a hat and bags.  

Here is the summary page of all the patterns included, categorised into Dress (4), Camisoles (2), front button blouses & Outer wear (4), hat (1), bag (1), shirts & blouses (3), pants (3), skirts (4) and mom's items (2).

All the patterns are in thick paper and folded nicely into an envelope pocket at the back of the book cover.

Before you start sewing, the book include some sewing notes and techniques and how to read the symbols in the book.

Please note that all Japanese sewing book has no seam allowance included in the pattern pieces so you need to trace your own before you start cutting!  Usually it is 1cm for all except the hem (2 or 3cm) or if the edge is bias bind then there is zero seam allowance. So take note of the required seam allowance on each cutting diagrams.

As I don't have the Japanese version of this book, I can't compare how different this is with the original book.  For most Japanese version, usually there is one big diagram on the sewing step and then cutting layout.  But in the English version, they have a separate diagram for each step.  So it makes it really clear  on how follow the sewing instruction. I really love the diagrams in the Japanese sewing book as it is really clear and each small steps are also labelled and index for easy reference.

There is one photographed step by step for pattern on Sleeveless dress which illustrate how this is done on actual fabric. I find this one useful as they give a full illustration on how to sew a shirt placket and stand collar.

My girl has picked out the floral skirt so I'll be sewing up for her next month.  This is a really useful book and I think will make an ideal Christmas present for any home sewist.  You can find this at the big bookstore like Kinokuniya or at Amazon.  

I hope Tuttle publishing can continue to translate Japanese sewing book so that more sewist can enjoy them.  Personally I hope that they can translate this book "Girls at a Recital!" by Kawai Kimiko (hint hint!).  I've used this book last year for my girl and for this year's recital I also use their patterns and the looks are gorgeous.  I'll share more in the next post!