Warning : today’s post might be a little long 😛
I haven’t been shopping much for girls’ sewing books lately, because my younger daughter is already almost 150cm and hence out of range for most sewing pattern books. I saw this new book on Nihon-vogue’s Instagram account about a month ago, and the cover was so striking that I had to browse through it even though I probably won’t buy it for the reason above. Upon closer look, I realized that it is from one of my favorite girls’ pattern designers – Yuuki Katagai of Pattern Label. I have made many dresses from her books because they are really pretty and practical for daily wear. I saw some of the preview pages and realized that many of the designs look pretty familiar, and I have even made some of them before! The photos were new and updated but the dresses were the same. So why would they release a new – old book?
Then I saw the words 增補改订版 on the title. Then it made sense – (ok I’m using the meaning of the chinese characters to translate this and I believe it’s the same meaning in Japanese) 增補改订版 means that there are increased (number of patterns) and the other words roughly mean revised and updated edition. Moreover, the first book was published in 2009 and no longer in print. The size range is also increased to up to 140cm compared to the previous 120cm. There are also 6 brand new patterns (4 dresses and 2 blouses)
Ok the next few paragraphs are self-reflection thoughts I am writing down to document my thoughts, you can skip it and get on with the book review here.
Then I wondered (ok emo moment coming up) …. why would I need to convince someone to buy another book (if they already have the first one). Then it STRUCK ME!! That if you had a little girl when the first book was released, by now they would have outgrown the book (like mine) and I am actually selling/recommending this book now to a new and younger group of mothers. 😭
This is the one book that I have actually made quite a number of dresses from. I was surprised, while looking through my archives, that I’ve never reviewed this one before. That’s because I bought this book way before I started my blog! But I found some old pictures of two of the dresses I made, and while searching for the pictures I was brought down memory lane again – back to the time when I was still quite the sewing noob, I only knew how to sew with wovens then, had the most basic Brother machine, and no serger! The lack of equipment certainly didn’t stop me. I made so many dresses for my little girls and it was just such a therapy for me, to take my mind of the daily stresses of life, just focussing on the stitches, listening to the humming of the machine. Then it struck me again!
For the past year or so, you may have realized that I’ve been doing a lot of fabric “sales” . Sponsored posts are always nice to haves, but the truth is it was starting to feel alot like real work. You know the kind where you have real targets to meet and if your work starts piling up you actually feel stressed about not delivering? Well it was kind of becoming like that for me, and to be honest it was taking the joy out of sewing. To make things worse, there were some dramatic online politics involved (I know right, isn’t sewing just a hobby?) that also provided more affirmation that I do not have that kind of idle time that some people do. I have 3 kids that I look after without help. I’m full time house maid, nanny, chauffeur and cook rolled into one. I cook dinner almost everyday and can you believe it I can only think of one other friend who does the same? So I left or stopped following all the non-inspirational FB groups, keeping only a few selected ones, and immediately the mental clutter dissipated and I started looking forward to my next project. So if you feel that the constant need to post on social media for likes is getting to you, like doing a hashtag photo everyday is more laborious than fun, then stop. Get back to the basics and just sew. Forget about social media. You can still post of course, because I will still do so as a way of documenting my makes. But I will only do it at my own pace without having to considering deadlines.
So I have decided to stop doing that, and just sew what I want and when I want and stop worrying about it. I will still take on some sponsored posts but only after careful selection and if it fits my purpose and time, and I will have more control over what and when I want to post, if that means I never get another sponsor then so be it… haha. But other than that it will be sewing from my stash or personal purchases and back to more book reviews of course!
Ok let’s stop with the emo-self-reflection talk and I’m so sorry to have taken your attention away from this great book. But only because flipping through this book really made me miss my girls being little again, the above bittersweet moment is proof enough that this book is great! Let’s start with some comparison photos of the old and new edition!
I love the whimsical photo on the old cover because it really reflects the title, it’s a photo taken from a moment of a little girl’s life. Having a picnic, sitting down on the grass with bare feet. On the right is the new cover, with a new dress pattern featured. It is a more striking photo and will certainly make you do a double take when you walk by it in the bookstore.
This very simple shift dress was in the old edition as well. It is a really pretty dress that comes with a really fancy frilly neckline which I think was better captured in the new photographs. There is a full sewing lesson on this dress, with step by step photos (See below)
Simple classic dress with a square neckline and patch pockets. Now can you see why this book never gets outdated and totally deserves a reprint.
One of the new patterns. Frilly collar with elastic band cuffs.
Another new pattern – a round collar dress – slightly oversized with lots of ease for playtime!
I love this one! Frilly sleeves, gathered bodice with a lovely V+squarish yoke. I knew I made this, two in fact for my girls to twin. I found some photos and realized why I never posted it even on my old blog. The photos were too blur and half the time they were just twirling around and refused to stand still. This is the clearest shot I got of the front of the dress. 😂
This was one of the more complicated dresses I made then. In the above pictures you can see the same dress with different styling but I love how it was made in the same blue. I made mine in purple because my little girl was totally in love with purple then!
Pin tucks on the front and back, patch pockets and gathers below the pockets. It was not the easiest sew but doesn’t it look amazing?
Notice the pink label? That comes free with the book. In fact all the sewing books by Pattern Label come with these free labels! I’m so glad they haven’t changed that!
Now for the size chart – there are 2 additional sizes, and the size chart is more detailed than before. I’ve added the english terms in the photo below for your reference.
A sample of the instructions. Very clear and easy to follow, right sides of fabric have a print so you can easily visualize the orientation.
With the increase in size range and patterns, the number of pattern sheets was also increased to 3.
And here is the book flip through review! I cannot recommend this book enough, I have all of Yuuki Katagai’s books and they have really clear instructions, as well as cute designs that never grow old.
Title : Pattern Labelのこども服 まいにち着る 女の子服 増補改訂版
Author : Katagai Yuuki
ISBN : 978-4529058971