A few weeks ago I was contacted by Laurence King Publishing and asked if I'd like to review a newly translated Japanese Sewing book from Yoshiko Tsukiori . Would I? It was like being asked out by the homecoming king. How fast could i say yes without looking desperate. The answer: not fast enough.
I love the simplicity of Japanese design and Girly Style Wardrobe by Yoshiko Tsukiori is a wonderful addition to the Laurence King catalog. Yet another timelessly designed and beautifully photographed Japanese sewing book to make its way to the States. As you can imagine, it did not dissapoint. It starts out with this tear producing poem that gave me pause.
As I watch you grow day by day from a little girl into a woman, I am
Filled with joy
Filled with smiles
Filled with love
Filled with happiness....
And I wanted to let you know how I feel
This is my gift of a wardrobe just for you
Season by season, just for you
I hope you will wear it nice and neatly, in a girly way
A little something, from me to you
I'm sorry. I'm having a hard time typing with blurry vision. What a thoughtful sentiment about sewing. Old Navy never makes me feel this way.
What a pleasure to flip through this book and envision the different dresses I can make for my little lady. The dresses are simple and sweet. Made with linens and cottons, it's easy to see my girl running through Prospect Park and dancing in the grass. The things that childhood is made of. The books spans all seasons so there's a pattern for everything. Multiple dresses, skirts, airy tops, pants and even a light weight coat. You truly could outfit your girl from top to bottom.
Let's get technical here. The book sizing spans aprroximately size 3 to size 10 across 4 pattern sizes. The simple design allows for some wiggle room amongst sizing so it's important to measure your model before you cut. Every pattern piece for all 28 items are on one large sheet of paper, front and back. Does that sound crazy? Well, it was definitely a bit chaotic. You cannot cut the patterns directly from the sheet without cutting into multiple pieces. Instead you have to trace your pieces onto seperate paper. May I offer you my newest discovery via Oonaballoona, Swedish tracing paper. It's a thicker version of tissue paper that you can easily see through to your pattern pieces. It cuts easily, but doesn't really rip, and you can even sew through it for mock-ups. Kind of amazing! I used it for this project and will never look back.
I can't review a sewing book without actually doing some sewing, so I chose a very simple blouse and gave the pattern a test run. Here are the results!
I decided on Top B, a raglan sleeve blouse with a small tuck in the front and a collar that morphs into a bow closure. This shirt is adorable and easy. I want to make one for every girl I know, including myself! Once I had deciphered the pattern and traced my pieces, this blouse went together in under 2 hours. It also offers a dress version if you can't get enough.
My model is a standard size 4 so I decided to go with the smallest blouse size (size 100) and add an inch to the hem to make it more of a tunic and extend it's lifespan into age 5 and 6.
A note on the directions. While this blouse was easy to put together, the directions assume an intermediate level of sewing knowledge from the reader. Each garment has a simple set of directions and a few illustrations to follow. The dresses themselves are simple silhouettes so they are not complicated, but this book is not for a novice.
One of my favorite details of the dress is the neck opening. On the left side, you stitch back the seam allowance of the sleeve instead of seaming together, and use the bow to close up the top. It's in the details.
It's such a relief to see so many Japanese sewing books being translated into English. Just this Christmas I had a friend's mom partially translate a book for me so I could muscle through the patterns. They are too cute not to try. This book is a keeper and I've already cut out a second blouse. I'm hooked.
**Author's note: Laurence King Publishing contacted me to write this review but all opinions are my own.