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Book Reviews Japanese Sewing Books in English Ladies Sewing Patterns

Book Review- Stylish Dress Book in English

June 11, 2013

Today’s book review is another Japanese Sewing Book translated to English. The title of the book is Stylish Dress Book – Simple smocks, Dresses and Tops. The author is Yoshiko Tsukiori who is also the author of many other sewing books like Happy Homemade: Sew Chic , Girls Style Book and the other Stylish Dress Book: Wear with Freedom that I reviewed some time ago.

As the name implies, the book contains patterns for Simple Smocks, Dresses and Tops. There are 26 patterns in all, from pattern A-Z. That is incredible value because if you take the current price on Amazon ($13.82) that is like 50 cents a pattern!

Here are some of the patterns that I like.


Front-Tuck Blouse 

 Linen Dress with Lace Trim and Petticoat

 Camisole with Lace Neck Trim

 Box Dress with Boat Neck
This dress gives off such a 70s vibe, and I love boat necks. I’ve not come across many boat neck patterns in my sewing books. This pattern will be useful for making a boat neck blouse.

Overblouse with Lace Detail

 Tunic blouse with Smocking.
There are smocking details below the buttons,  shoulder seams as well as on the back below the yoke. There are instructions in the how-to-make for actually hand-stitching the smocking! Tedious work, but so pretty when done.

Three-quarter sleeve dress with ruffled seam.
The photo doesn’t quite show it because of the black fabric but there is a continuous seam of ruffles across the yoke line and sleeves. Very pretty!

Embroidered Empire Bodice Mini Dress
With this pattern, you will learn how to sew a decorative lace edge (all around the neckline and bib in the picture), make flowers using ric-rac (book calls it wave-shaped trimming tape), and hand embroidery (straight stitch, lazy daisy stitch, outline stitch and french knot stitch) to create the patterns on the bodice.

This pattern is for the Ruffled Bolero only, and not the dress below it. It’s an interesting addition to any outfit if you are into ruffles.

Dress with Elastic Shirring.
Learn how to sew on the machine with elastic thread to create the shirring effect. Also learn how to use decorative blanket stitches (hand stitching) to jazz up the neck line and make your own drawstring from embroidery thread.

Very simple pattern and great for beginners, this shift dress is made interesting with contrasting raglan sleeves and a bold trim on the bodice.

This will be cute as a cropped jacket wouldn’t it?

The how-to-make section starts off with the size chart in both inches and cm. The original Japanese version included Japanese sizes 7,9,11 and 13 which is the same as XS – L in the above chart. Most of the garments are loose fitting though so do take that in consideration when deciding which size to make.

 The how-to-make page with the standard Materials, Instructions, Cutting Layout and Diagrams.

A close up of the cutting layout, like the previous book from the same publisher, with measurements in both inches and cm.

A close up of the diagrams in the step by step process. Inches and cm included with every measurement on the diagrams as well.

The book comes with two large sheets of full-scale pattern pieces. List of garments and the number of pattern pieces for each are listed on the cover. The patterns are kept in a plastic pocket on the back cover, which is pretty handy.

Some of you asked about the quality of the pattern sheets. The paper quality is pretty good. A little lighter weight than copier paper, but not flimsy at all like tracing paper types you get with some patterns. I didn’t know how to show the paper quality through photos, so I placed one layer of it over the book and you can kind of see through it. It’s not very thick but definitely sturdy enough for repeated use and not easily torn.

What I like about this book, other than the fact that there are 26 patterns to choose from, is that despite having very simple shapes, there are alot of interesting embellishments and detailing that make each garment unique. With detailed diagrams showing you how to create them, it is not difficult to learn and you can even apply the techniques in other garments. You also get to work with many different types of fabrics. From linen to lace, voile, wool gauze, rayon wool etc.

The format is pretty standard in all the translated books so far, no step by step photographs but there are certain patterns that are easy for beginners and you can work your way to more difficult patterns since there are so many to choose from.

Title : Stylish Dress Book – Simple Smocks, Dresses and Tops
ISBN : 978-1780671079
Publisher : Laurence King