I guess I must have done something right because I'm back at it with another Japanese sewing book review and I'm really starting to like this gig. Just released this Tuesday from Tuttle Publishing is the latest in English translations of gorgeous and timeless sewing books. She Wears the Pants by Yuko Takada is an adult sewing book with 20 different sewing patterns for the sophisticated dresser and you will not be disappointed.
Unlike many sewing books, this one concentrates heavily on tops and pants rather than dresses. The clothes are definitely edgy but can easily be personalized to your taste with the right fabric. Below you'll see my take on a simple blouse. Lately I've been reading more about minimizing your wardrobe to a select group of garments that can be mixed and matched to an easy and classic uniform. This book lends itself perfectly to that concept with classic pieces that can easily pair with items you already have.
When I review sewing books I like to make at least one thing out of the book. I feel like I can get a real sense for the actual assembly of a garment by attempting to read, cut and sew a pattern. This holds true espcially for Japanese sewing books which can be quite challenging to follow. For this review, I chose pattern No. 5, the Velour Blouse. I really liked this simple, boxy blouse and after sifting through my fabric, I found the perfect double gauze that I had been hoarding.
As discussed in my last book review, finding and copying your pattern is by far the hardest part of the book. Five patterns are stacked across and around one another on one piece of paper and it's up to you to find and trace the right pieces and sizes. I like to use a colored pencil to draw in the corners of my pieces before I jump into tracing them with Swedish tracing paper. But once you conquer the pattern pieces, it's pretty smooth sailing from there.
Like the other Japanese sewing books I've read, the garments are actually really easy to sew and you get a very rewading garment. I love this blouse! It was so easy to assemble and if I hadn't bought a super soft and wudgy (that's a techincal term) fabric, I could have breezed through this shirt. Instead I had to do a lot of pinning to also match plaids and serge everything to keep it from fraying. The results were great and in under 90 minutes.
My one small warning on this book is that the patterns run very small. I am 5'6" and normally wear a size 4-6. I am the largest size in the book which fits a woman with a 35 bust and 27 waist. The clothes are boxy so there is some wiggle room but the patterns are sized for a more petite woman.
I really liked this book and Yuko Takada's designs are amazing. If you're looking for more inspiration you should check out her Ready to Wear collection. So many things that make me drool. I'm a big fan of the modern Japanese asthetic but I think this blouse shows you can still have fun with a little color and cool fabric. Tuttle was super generous and sent me another sewing book for children so keep your eyes open for another review later this month. This one's going to be adorable.
**Author's note: Tuttle Publishing contacted me to write this review but all opinions are my own.