Linen Bamboo Blouse & “Basic Black” Giveaway


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!image-53

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. image-50

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:)image-45

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.image-51

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



75 thoughts on “Linen Bamboo Blouse & “Basic Black” Giveaway

  1. Actually, I would sew the top that you made as I think it is super interesting with the darts and could look amazing in lots of fabrics. Yours looks beautiful and cool.

  2. I’ve long wanted to try sewing a Japanese pattern! I’m very much a beginner sewist, so I’m inclined to start with the asymmetrical dress, which looks fun to wear and (I hope!) within my skill range to make!

  3. You are so amazingly creative. I really love the top you made with the darts on the outside. Of the other projects that you show picures of the flannel coat and the dress with the hand stitched top-stitching are wonderful. I like the others too and can hardly wait to see the rest of the alphabet! Looking forward to perusing the rest of the book. Thank you for you incredible blog, it is something I always look forward to with anticipation. Mimi

  4. I absolutely would love to make that dress with the embroidered seams, it is so cool….I am just a beginner in sewing , but I recently finished my own swimsuit!

  5. The blouse is beautiful and the colour really suits you. I love all the designs you have chosen so am looking forward to seeing what you create! I hope you make the dress with the hand stitching that is my favourite. I just got Pattern Magic and look longingly at the pictures but am too scared to have a try!

  6. Pretty top and fabric color! The darts and the sleeves are very interesting. I’d love to try this pattern. Thanks for the review and the giveaway 🙂

  7. Hmmm, I would have to try the boatneck dress (shortened as yours) as I’m desperately in need of some smart tops for work. The other tempting pattern is the flannel coat; I’m constantly planning on making a coat but haven’t managed to get up the courage yet.
    I’m glad to see your posts again, which always make me think of Singapore and the wonderful vacation I had there.

  8. Hi there,
    I’m sorely tempted by the hand embroidered dress, but your version of the darts dress is just too cool!! Thanks for the giveaway too!

  9. The book looks fascinating. I love the top you made, so much nicer in colour and your sleeves are gorgeous. The asymmetric dress also really appeals to me – I wonder how it would look in stripes?

  10. I think I’d have to go for the dress with the hand stitching and make it in a boiled wool for that felted look. Not much use to me here in Taiwan but great for my Christmas visit to chilly old England. Loved the Bamboo Blouse!

  11. I meant FLANNEL short coat, I was too busy reading everyone’s comments and trying to choose my favourite item!

  12. Hello. I would like to do the dress with the white stich in black warm fabric, so it will be for the Winter time, where it is cold here in Denmark. The book looks so fine..

  13. I love to sew by Japanese patterns because the style works so well with the Scandinavian aesthetics. I would like to sew the short flannel coat, but in a plum wool felt. It would lighten up the Swedish winter for sure!

  14. I would like to sew the dress with stitched skirt. I saw a similar piece in Instyle June 2014 issue where there was whimsical topstitching details.

  15. I adore your top! The other one that catches my eye is the short flannel jacket – I can just picture it on my sister, but would make it up in a burgundy boiled wool, with large military style buttons 🙂 Great work with the top – the darts are so eye-catching Well done

  16. I would totally copy the top you made. It looks fantastic! I’ve wanted to try a couple of Japanese pattern books, but have gotten the chance!

  17. Wow, that top you made is very lovely and I love those pleads. The books looks very interesting to me and I really like the asymmetrical-coat. So I would like to join the give-away and try such beautiful pattern 🙂

  18. I do love your top and color of fabric. The green looks great. I would really like to make the dress in navy with a contrasting red or green thread. I think it would look amazing. Thank you so much for the giveaway!

  19. When I saw this book before, I thought that the zip-up vest was my favourite project. But now that I’ve seen your version of this dress/top, I’m in love! You are right, the photo really doesn’t show how lovely it is! I want one too, and I love the fabric you’ve chosen for it!
    (My e-mail address is on my blog about page.)

  20. I really like the look of the dress with the contrasting detail. This is such a versatile dress that could be done for both winter and summer..

    I also love your top.. the colour is gorgeous as well as the details..

  21. Beautiful blouse! You’re totally right, the black fabric used in the pictures doesn’t do justice to the patterns (at least not the one you made!). Maybe I’ll take a closer look next time 🙂

  22. the tiered dress is fascinating looking but i’d probably hit that flannel coat first. lovely stuff really!

  23. I would definitely make the top you made – I love those darts! So cool 🙂 The other projects look very neat too – I really love the hand stitched detail on that dress! Thanks so much for the giveaway 🙂

  24. I love the blouse that you made (those darts are so cool!) but I also love the zippered sweater. It would be perfect for fall!

  25. I’m fine not being entered, as this isn’t quite my aesthetic. I just wanted to tell you how lovely your green top is; those darts give such an interesting effect. It’s great.

  26. Hi there. I love your blouse. It would be a chic substitute for a t-shirt. And then I’d toss the asymmetrical buttoned coat over it. Please toss my name into the hat.

  27. I like the look of the asymmetrical jumper. I’m generally a fan of the use of texture rather than pattern for interest, so this book appeals to me!

  28. Hi, I had been really tempted by this book and was contemplating it whilst browsing Amazon, so thank you so much for this generous give-away. I do like the dress with the hand stitching, it’s very striking. And your linen bamboo top looks fantastic – a great choice of fabric to show off those darts.

  29. The very cool dress with hand stitched/ embroidered seams in a contrasting thread color because I really like the style of the dress and, Im about to learn how to stitch sashiko!! 😀 so I cross both fingers and toes to win cos I LOVE Sato Watanabe sewingbooks/patterns and really really want this one to my collection! ❤

  30. Oh, I love your blouse! I would try to make layered dress.. Quite interesting projects in this book, although black colour on photos doesn’t give them justice..

  31. The Flannel Short Coat would be perfect for some soft fuchsia wool in my stash. Your top (using teal linen) would be next on my list!

  32. Oooh, what a fun book! I think I’d start with the assymetrical jumper dress, it looks like the sort of pattern you can have a lot of fun with! 🙂

  33. I’ve been keen to try Japanese patterns since I read in Madalyne’s blog that they are drafted for petit/short people. Yay! sounds perfect for me. The tiered dress would be what I made first if I won 🙂
    My email is imogheena at gmail dot com

  34. Really liked the top you made but that asymmetrical jumper would be great for the weekend.
    Thanks for sharing.

  35. Your blouse turned out beautifully! Hard to pick just one! Love the hand stitched dress and the flannel coat…I think I’d pick both!
    Bapoma1 at gmail dot com

  36. I adore your leafy top!! This is one of my (three) favourites from the book – I don’t need to win as I already have a copy, but i just wanted to praise your version, I adore the sleeves 😉 I’m almost done muslining a long sleeved version of shirt k with sleeves m – it’s wonderful how the bodices & sleeves etc are interchangeable between the illustrated designs 😉

  37. Thank you for the opportunity! I like the top that you made–it looks like this book features a lot of cool fabric embellishments (I like the fabric embellishments on the tiered dress). I’m out of their size range, but I would enjoy incorporating some of the elements into my own garments.

  38. So happy to have found your site! LOVE the touches you added to this (and The Feminine Wardrobe projects). I’d be thrilled to see you make the Asymmetric Jumper from Basic Black.

  39. Pingback: Basic Black Japanese Pattern Book Review | Bramble Patch, Cotton and Beads

  40. It’s actually a nice and useful piece of information. I am satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us.
    Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  41. I’d really like in order to be part of team in which I am able to get suggestions by other seasoned people that write about exactly the same fascination. Should you have virtually any recommendations, please ok, i’ll realize. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s