Just before our vacation, I received two Japanese sewing books from Tuttle Publishing that has recently been translated to English for review. “Basic Black: 25 Edgy Essentials for the Modern Wardrobe” by Sato Watanabe was one of them. When I got back from vacation, I was too busy to sew and then I caught a nasty virus. But, I couldn’t keep my hands off them. So after some intensive browsing, I couldn’t wait to get myself back to the sewing machine to work on a project from the book!
The book contains patterns for 26 projects (One for each alphabet). While every garment in “Basic Black” is black, there is no reason why they can’t be sewn in colors or prints. I chose to make a blouse version of the Boatneck dress with bust darts (Project F). For the first time, I felt that a photograph from a Japanese sewing book did not do the garment justice as the interesting darts were not obvious.
However, the moment I saw the technical drawings, I was in love! Unlike the Japanese sewing patterns I’ve sewn from previously, there’s a little drafting involved but the translation and diagrams made it all a breeze. Now, I’m proud to say I’ve drafted and sewn some very interesting darts:)
And here’s the result. A simple bamboo green linen blouse using the wrong side of darts as embellishment. The ends of the thread were pulled in, using a needle to the wrong side of the bodice, and knotted there. This way the right side is clean. Absolutely ingenious! Since I was drafting anyway, I decided to raise the neckline and add some ‘leaves’ to the bamboo in the form of peekaboo sleeves.
There was a minor mistake in the translation when it comes to which pattern pieces to trace though. The instruction page mentioned gray but it should have been the red pieces on the pattern sheet. However, that’s not a major issue at all as the project alphabets are clearly indicated on both side A and B of the pattern sheets. One thing I found really useful was the different fit and finished garment sizing provided in this book. I choose a size S for the blouse based on the measurement and for once didn’t have to take in the sides when sewing from a Japanese sewing book.
There are SO many cute designs in this book and something for every season. Here are some of my favorite projects.
A tiered dress using tucks to add texture and dimension to the garment.
An adorable zip up vest with pocket and button details.
A very cool dress with hand stitched/ embroidered seams in a contrasting thread color.
A Flannel Coat in a timeless design
An asymmetrical jumper dress. Too cute!
With its full English translation, this book is definitely suitable for someone who loves Japanese patterns but have yet to give it a try. Those experienced with Japanese patterns will also find the familiar detailed diagrams we all loved with added benefits of translation. I would classify the patterns as intermediate. To participate in the giveaway and win yourself a copy of “Basic Black”, let me know which project you are most tempted to sew from the pictures above and please leave your email in the comment so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open internationally and ends Monday, 28 July 2014. A winner will be chosen using random.org