Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Books Ladies Sewing Patterns

Book Review – Making clothes for my own style

June 11, 2014

I had so many ambitious sewing plans for the June holidays! Including having real sewing lessons with my daughters. So far we have only managed to make 1 shoebag, and the rest of the time seemed to have zoomed by in a flash with other activities and a birthday celebration. I didn’t even find time to sew my little one a birthday dress! 🙁  To write this post, I woke up much earlier than the rest of the house just so that I can get the pictures ready and write in total peace and quiet. So I expect this should be the only post this week. Next week I will be away on vacation for the whole week so I hope to schedule some translation posts in just to get my list of things to do a little shorter. I do hope I can get some sewing done by the end of this month. Hopefully a dress from this new book!


This book was released in May and was one of those listed in the blog post for new releases. From the cover, you really can’t tell much about what’s inside the book. So I was really glad to have spotted this book in my local Kinokuniya and got a chance to flip through it. I really loved what I saw so I had to get it.


I just included this page in the preview because I really really like the layout. Such a peaceful feeling… 🙂

Let’s have a look at the clothes you can make. There are 2 content pages, with 10 main styles (A-J) but with at least 2 variations per style.




Can  you tell that the picture above and the picture below belongs to the same style A?  The name of the basic style is called a サックドレス which literally means sack dress! Not a very flattering name for a dress, but it does look like an all occasion dress pattern depending on the type of fabric you use for it. The silhouette is a simple straight A-line but with bust darts to give it some shape.



The next style B is a french sleeve gathered dress, this dress has a zip down the back and a hidden side pocket.


Style C – A gathered neckline dress. The dress itself is more like a shift, no darts. The main design element is in the gathers around the neckline. The gathers are actually achieved with a drawstring effect of the ribbon tie.


Style D is a Frill Blouse. The front middle of the blouse is actually a button placket which buttons all the way up to the collar, you can’t really tell in the picture because she is wearing it unbuttoned and layered over a camisole. There are 3 vertical columns of frills on each side, running parallel to the button placket. A very pretty spring/summer blouse.

A longer dress variation is included for this style. Look how pretty it is in black too!


I skipped Style E which was a caftan dress, partly because I think there are too many similar patterns out there…


The next style F is for a skirt, just a simple tiered skirt with a side concealed zip enclosure. But what I liked about this particular skirt is the use of heavy wool which makes it ideal for cold weather. Looks cosy doesn’t it?


Moving on to style G –  a smock blouse with 3/4 sleeves. The ends of the sleeve are gathered, giving it a puffy sleeve look. I love the black lace fabric on this!

There is also a smock dress variation for this pattern, which is basically just a longer version of the blouse. The following picture shoes the sleeve details more clearly.



Style H is a boat neck blouse. It looks very simple but there is a special design element to it…

There is a tuck in the back. Check out the top stitch details on this one. Style H also comes in a longer dress variation.



Style I is a pattern for a pair of wide pants. A very simple pattern but by varying the length and fabric used, you can make anything from your lounge pants to linen/wool pants for going out. Play with varying the belt and pocket colors to make it your own style.


The last style J is called アメリカンスリーブドレス. Literally translated as American sleeve dress. I have never come across this naming convention, but from the diagrams it looks like the armholes are cut further in compared to the usual sleeveless patterns. Not quite halter or racerback, but cut in further with a narrower shoulder seam than the usual sleeveless tops.

Here’s a view from the back, in a more formal jacquard fabric.


You can make it in knit fabric too, here’s a picture of it in a long maxi dress length.



The size chart for the projects included in this book. Note that not all the patterns come in these sizes. Those that come in free sizes are usually the baggy fitting styles. Those that come with zip enclosures will come in individual S,M,L sizes. There are also some blouses that come in S/M and L sizes – meaning two sets of patterns only. One for S/M and one for L. And there are patterns that come in S, M/L which means one set of patterns from S and one for M/L. Sounds confusing but I guess the most important thing is to read carefully before tracing or cutting!


The how-to-make section is pretty standard, with diagrams, cutting layout, and instructions in point form.


A close up of the diagram.


2 actual size pattern sheets (for a total of 4 sides) included.


In short, I love the aesthetics and styling of the book. The styles make look a little mature for some of you, which could be due to the choice of model or fabrics. But I find that most of the patterns are pretty much wardrobe staples, so you can vary the fabrics and lengths to your liking, and basically make your own clothes in your own style.

Title : 自分スタイルの服作り
Author : 杉本伸子 designer of Hayama Sunday
ISBN : 978-4-579-11488-7

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  • Reply Claire June 12, 2014 at 9:44 am

    I’ve been following your blog for some time quietly, thanks for sharing these book reviews! I’m lucky enough to have lived near Kinokuniya that I can picked up pretty much any book nearby. I found this book really appealing but I’m not sure if I’d have the time to make things.
    In any case, are you going to do another sew-along? If so I may be interested. Thanks!

  • Reply Sofia Cunha June 21, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Where can I order these books online? I simply looove these Japanese patterns and your blog.

  • Reply Libbie September 9, 2014 at 3:00 am

    Where can I find these patterns? I have found a couple on Amazon, but not Best Dresses or Clean And Natural, or this on, Making Clothes for My Own Style. I love the Japanese sewing books and would like to find all of these!

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