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3.9 out of 5 stars26
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 24 January 2012
The patterns in this book are simply fabulous - they are simple, classic and would suit anyone - tall, short, fat or thin - except the are sized for petite oriental ladies, and whilst I am not enormous - I am obviously elephantine in comparison to them. Oh and if you do have a bosom, then you will be seriously out of luck with this book. I am desperate to make anything in here - if only someone could tell me how to size up the patterns. Perhaps I should write to the publishers!
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on 29 May 2012
This is probably my favourite sewing book so far.

As described, there are 8 patterns with modifications to create the full 25 garments. The style is quite simplistic and clean with a lot of neutral cotton and linen fabrics being used, very much a Japanese aesthetic that I like. I think if you are more experienced and/or the style is not to your taste you will find this book quite boring - if you're looking for close-fitted garments turn away now! However if you want comfortable clothing then you are probably looking in the right place.
Personally I have modified some of the patterns when I want to give them some shape (adding ties to the A line dress, for example) so if you feel this way too I would advise you to look at the patterns as more like basic blocks for you to build your understanding of patterns and sewing upon. I find that the range of patterns and the simple modifications between each are really helpful in showing how clothes can be constructed from the simplest of shapes and built up to create more complex designs.

Some of the patterns can be hard to understand, I have the wrap style skirt in mind as it is quite hard to work out how it all comes together from the images. Some of the information has been lost in translation and I think the instructions are sometimes too brief but so far they are relatively easy to understand. I have also have had trouble sometimes distinguishing the patterns from eachother on the pattern sheets but with a little patience (and a highlighter!) I can work it out.

Some people have mentioned sizing as an issue, for the record I am a UK size 12 with quite generous curves and I tend to fit a small in these patterns, I haven't had any trouble so far as I think the loose fit is quite forgiving, however I am just one example out of many. With their simple shapes I don't think they would be too hard to modify.

In a nutshell, if you are looking to build confidence in sewing and want some low-risk, basic patterns to try out then give this book a try.
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on 31 March 2012
Bought this book in great excitement, as the shapes look fairly straightforward and therefore a good starting point. It also appealed that they were petite as I am slim. I traced the pattern and added allowances when cutting the fabric, as per instructions in the book. I made a skirt with a box pleat. Somehow the back yoke piece was 1" shorter than the back skirt panel so I cut an inch off the panel. Despite this the finished skirt is 5inches too big!! I used the large pattern, and a 6mm instead of half inch seam as several reports suggested that the patterns were small and I wanted to give myself some space for my post-baby tummy. The resulting skirt is a UK size 18. I am a 10. Now I have to find it a new home as I can't bring myself to unpick everything and redo the wretched invisible zipper.

On the plus side, I seem to have stumbled across a way to enlarge the skirt if these sizes don't do it for you!
* When tracing the pattern onto fabric, add seam allowances as directed. I calculate this provided an extra 2 inches to the total circumference.
* You could make the box pleat slightly smaller (say 4" marking instead of 4" 5/8) with corresponding adjustment to the front yoke band, or add width straight up and down at the fold when laying out pattern pieces, again with corresponding adjustment to yoke.
* Use a slightly smaller seam allowance when sewing. You only have to cut off the extra fabric from a wide one anyway. But remember to be consistent in your seam allowance! I think this may have gained me an extra inch.

This is the only pattern I have tried so far.

The book itself is beautifully presented, however, and suggests a fabric for each pattern. It is almost like a catalogue or magazine in that it has pictures of lots of other items suggesting how you might style each piece. It is good for inspiration for ways you could tweak a pattern (perhaps one you already have that you know fits?) to make something similar but slightly different. I like some of the tops, for example, but have found a very similar Simplicity paper pattern for about £3 to use so that a) I don't have to trace pattern pieces and b) the sizing is (hopefully) a bit more reliable.

Plus points: Great for ideas; nicely presented; normal models (the author's friends I think?); a value pattern book given that you would pay a lot more for 8 basic paper patterns; small number of pattern pieces per item!
Minus points: You have to trace the patterns once you have decoded them; sizing is a bit hit and miss; instructions probably not great for the first time sewer.
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on 15 May 2015
I was a bit nervous about using these Japanese patterns, particularly regarding the sizing, and also the bother of having to trace off the pattern. However I had bought the book originally because I love the look of Japanese clothing designs, and thought that buying patterns in a book like this is excellent value as you get several different ones for about the same cost as one or two normal patterns. Initially I made the Boatneck Jumper and it fitted but I didn't particularly like what I'd made - partly the fabric I'd chosen.

I wanted to make the Shirt Coat, and finally got round to it recently, and I am delighted with the result. Tracing the patterns off IS a bit awkward; trying to see which lines you are supposed to be following is tricky and I would definitely recommend marking them first, and you do need to be very careful, but having done it I would say it is well worth it. I am a size 8-10, depending on clothing manufacturer (size 8 for Marks and Spencer tops)
and so used the Small size. I thought I'd make a toile initially as I didn't want to waste money on decent fabric only to find the garment didn't fit, so I chose a medium weight calico which cost me about £12.

I had no problem with the instructions until I came to the sleeves. There were two problems - one was that the difference between the front and back of the sleeve top is very little, and as there are no triangular notches (to denote where to match the sleeve to the armskye) working out which way round to put the sleeve in was tricky. To solve this I had to work out which actually was the front and which was the back, by comparing it with a
normal pattern. The second problem was that I have never come across a set in sleeve which you didn't have to gather at the top to make it fit into the armskye, but the instructions made no mention of this gathering, and indeed the sleeve top was SMALLER than the armskye, so I just set about
pinning the sleeve - and I had to stretch it to fit - into the armskye, and then tacked it and stitched it. Surprisingly it worked, and looks fairly normal, although I do keep looking at it and wondering if it is! I can't help thinking that maybe the sleeve pattern should be slightly different so that it has to be gathered to fit it in to the armskye, and when I have got time I might investigate sleeve shapes and alter it.

I did my own variation on the ends of the sleeves, as you can see in the photo (which I can't get to rotate!)

I am an experienced sewer and would not recommend these patterns to a beginner, unless you have someone to guide you through the process. However, if you are experienced and prepared to be patient and persistent then I would recommend them. I was very pleased with how this garment turned out and have in fact now dyed it green and am delighted with it. I shall be making it again, and shall also try out other patterns in the book.
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on 16 February 2014
I am a fairly novice sewer and have made a few simple things previously such as pajamas. I got this book as Christmas gift and so far have made one top from this book. I like the fact that there are variations on each pattern, tracing the patterns isn't a issue to me as I tend to trace patterns any way so that I can make in a different size if need be. With regards to the sizing, I originally made the top in the large size as I'd read the reviews on here, however it was enormous so I had to unpick all my sewing and start again! I made the small size in the end and I'm a size 12. The pattern was simple to follow and I'm pleased with result (in the end!)
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on 25 December 2011
The book itself is very nice and the patterns look very good but they are very small! The large size is bigger than a UK 12 but smaller than a UK 14. This is no good for my ample chest! I was really looking forward to making clothes as I never have before but now I can't so I don't even know how to make the patterns fit me. The book was bought as a christmas present. There is no mention about the pattern sizes in the book review.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 29 November 2011
No wonder this book is gathering likes on Amazon. 8 simple patterns are included to make a wardrobe of 25 wearable garments. The full size patterns come in four sizes - what a bonus this is. You'll need to trace the patterns if you wish to re-use them, or to use more than one pattern. The Japanese style is smart casual and can easily be worn by a wide age range from 20-80. I like the wraparound dress and tops, the button tunic, the simple dresses, pants, skirts, scrunchies and shirt coat with pocket. The instructions may look a little confusing at first - persevere, you have full size patterns to trace, layout of fabric, quantity of fabric and construction steps. I love it. Here's to my new wardrobe. This review first appeared on Karen Platt's yarnsandfabrics blog.
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I am delighted with this book, with the proviso, that it should be realised that "small - medium - large" in this book, relate to petite Japanese sizing. However, the patterns are so carefully put together, that anyone will be able to size them up to fit. Within this book are so many really useful patterns, each with several style ways - I can see myself using them for years to come, ringing the changes. I am glad to have this book to hand, with the proviso, as mentioned above.
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on 23 January 2012
I have just made the a line skirt from this book and it went together with no problem at all. The only thing I did different was follow the instructions for fitting the zip from a Colette tutorial rather than from the book. I found the sizing good. The only reason I haven't given it 5 stars is that it would have been good to have the pattern in different colours. It is a multi size overlaid pattern and I found it a bit difficult to work out the pattern pieces and see where the lines were when tracing. But I am very happy with the skirt and am looking forward to making more.
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on 9 December 2012
Really interesting range of designs, combining really simple shapes and forms to make adaptable, interesting clothing items that you'll never find in a high street shop. Construction methods are kept simple and unfussy and the end result is architectural, clean lines that can be adapted to personal tastes.
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