Hi, it’s Marnie here and today I’m reviewing a book, not a PDF pattern, which has me quite excited. You see, I love PDF patterns - they are perfect for quick easy access to a pattern without having to wait for the postman, but I learnt to sew from paper patterns with very few instructions and I absolutely love books! Today I’m reviewing the book Stylish Party Dresses, a Japanese pattern book by Yoshiko Tsukiori for Tuttle Publishing. I love Japanese sewing books, I have quite a few in my stash and was very excited to receive this one and have look through.
This book is - as the name suggests - full of simple to sew, but oh so fabulous party dress patterns. Of course, you don’t need to limit them to just party dresses, change your fabric and you have a fabulous day dress as well. All up there is a whopping 26 different projects to sew, including 3 bolero jackets that can be layered with the party dress of your choice. Japanese sewing books represent great value for money I think, they have lots of patterns, you can mix and match designs elements from a couple of them if you are an intermediate sewer who knows what they are doing, and I love the simple classic lines - it lends itself to so many different variations, and makes it more appropriate for a wide range of fabrics. Here’s what I sewed up.
This is actually the dress below in the book.
I used a readily available rayon chirramon from my local sewing store as I wanted to make a quick wearable muslin first to check the pattern fit on me. Japanese patterns are generally drafted for people shorter than myself, so I knew I’d need to add length and I also wanted to see how it fell on my body before I cut into some more expensive hoarded fabrics from the stash. I also removed volume from the back pattern piece through the centre back area, as that is a standard alteration for me, and I found the dress was easy to slip on over my head without needing facings and a closure mechanism. Instead I simply finished the neckline with a bias strip I made from leftover fabric. Fast and easy.
I didn’t love the way the sleeve was hanging on me in this fabric (remember different fabrics drape very differently), so simply modified it by shortening it a little, and then finding the centre of the sleeve and using some of the extra fabric to form a pleat. I also added a high low hemline, as the fabric was a little boring otherwise and was really happy with the result. Now I know which alterations to make when I cut into some beautiful silk panels that I have sitting here. I highly highly recommend making a muslin for any ladies patterns - it is critical to getting a good fit.
The book is set out with clear pictures of each pattern. You will need to trace off the size you are after and add seam allowance, but I personally found it all very clearly set out in the book. The instructions rely heavily on the outstanding pictures that accompany the pattern sewing steps and for this reason, I think the book suits intermediate sewers better than beginners. There are fabric recommendations for each dress, but remember that by changing the fabric, you can really change the look of the final dress, so don’t be afraid to try new things. The book covers a size range of 30 inches (bust) through to 40 inches (bust), and a hip size of 34 inches through to 43 inches. There are styles that will suit every figure in the book, and a wide range of different dresses to sew.
I highly recommend this book, I really love Japanese pattern books, and am so looking forward to sewing myself a few more items from it over the summer holidays. I think the one below may be my next project.
Stylish Party Dresses is available for purchase through Amazon and other independent bookstores. Happy sewing and thanks for reading along,