Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Books Ladies Sewing Patterns

Book Review – The Best Dresses

July 18, 2014

I’m sorry for posting later and later into the week. I have been bogged down by work earlier this week and hopefully next week will be back to normal. My list of translation requests is growing too (sorry to keep you waiting!) and I’ve been wanting to do up some sewing videos too, but just haven’t had the time or space to do it. I hope my current work project ends soon so that I can get some of my own time to do my own stuff! Anyway, here is this week’s book review.

This week’s book review is kind of an impulse buy. I was basically sold by two dresses. The one on the front cover…


and the other on the back cover.


The title of the book is ワンピースがいちばん which means the Number One/Best (because ichiban literally means “Number 1/The First” but can also mean “The Best”) Dresses.  I prefer to call it The Best Dresses.
There are 19 patterns in all, for sizes 9,11 and 13. The author of the book is 茅木 真知子 (Kayaki Machiko), who also wrote Simple Chic, Skirt ala carte, and many more. If you have come across or own any of her books, you should know that her style is very simple but with chic (oops did I just borrow that from the title of her book?). I also like her choice of fabrics and colors, which makes me feel that I have to make them in the same fabric or else it wouldn’t work out as well. The link to the website where you can buy the fabrics is included in the book credits – . Unfortunately it’s in Japanese and only ships domestic so I guess we can only browse.

Now let’s see what dresses you can make with this book!


Sleeveless dress in soft linen


Kimono style dress


Easy wearing dress with half sleeves.


Dress with gathered neckline and sleeves.


Low waist dress


Coat dress with lace embellishments


Floral print smock


Navy blue check dress


I learn something new everyday. Today I learned a little bit of French.
The Japanese title for this dress was ギンガムチェックのカシュクールドレス.
ギンガム = Gingham, チェック = Check , and ドレス = dress
But what was カシュクール (ka-shu-ku-ru?) Google translate said it mean “Cache-coeur” which is a French word, and when I looked it up it says this on Wikipedia “A Cache-cœur (French for “hide the heart”) is a top for women, composed of two finished triangular parts, each having a strap. It is closed by overlapping the two segments and tying the straps behind the back or along the side, depending on the length. The triangular shape of the sides makes the garment a type of V-neck.”

Now I know. 🙂


Cotton shirt dress

Check out the collar details below!


Hemp dress with collar


A-line Wool dress



Wool gauze dress with lace

The sizes included in this book are for sizes 9,11 and 13.


On the left hand colomn, the measurements are for Bust, Waist, Hip, Back length, Sleeve length and Height.

The how-to-make section follows the usual format, with materials, cutting layout, and sewing steps. Note that for each garment there is also a small table indicating the dimensions of the completed garment.



Close up of one of the diagrams. It’s hand drawn!


Two large pattern sheets included.


Title :  ワンピースがいちばん The Best Dresses
Author : 茅木 真知子 (Kayaki Machiko)
ISBN : 978-4-579-11484-9
Publisher : Bunka Publishing Bureau

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  • Reply Jen July 19, 2014 at 9:27 am

    I know what “cache coeur” is, but I would never have figured that one out! The book looks great – so many nice dresses!

  • Reply seamsoddlouise July 20, 2014 at 1:55 am

    Wow I want this book. Love your blog.

  • Reply kathie July 24, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Hi my sister is visiting singapore next month. Are there any bookstores you recommend where she can buy these beautiful japanese sewing books? Thank you!

  • Reply Meli September 18, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    would like to ask you about the patterns on this book. I got my book buying it from etsy. Would like to know if all the patterns is already include the seam allowance. I read the seam allowance is 3/8. am i right?
    Thanks you

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books September 26, 2014 at 11:11 am

      Hi Meli, Japanese sewing patterns usually do not include seam allowance. The seam allowances are indicated on the cutting diagram under the instructions (how to make) page. If the seam allowance is not stated, then the default is 1cm or approx 3/8″.

  • Reply melia oktia October 9, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Thanks a lot for your help 🙂

  • Reply Emelie March 4, 2015 at 1:48 am

    Thank you so much for your reviews! It’s fantastic to be able to see the patterns included before one decides to buy the book. Thanks to you I’ve been able to find several perfect patterns and realized it’s possible to use a japanese sewing book without knowing any japanese. Once again, thank you so much!

  • Reply Bettina April 15, 2015 at 12:23 am

    I love your website and I especially like the ” Best Dresses” book, but I cannot find it on amazon. Do you know, where I could get it?
    Thank you so much

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