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I Am Cute Dresses: 25 Simple Designs to Sew Hardcover – September 13, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"It is no secret that I am obsessed with Japanese sewing books. One of my new favorites is I Am Cute Dresses by Sato Watanabe. I have one of Sato's skirt pattern books in Japanese, and I'm a big fan of her design style, so I was thrilled about this new English translated book of her dress designs." – Tricia Waddell, Editor, STITCH magazine

"I LOVE Japanese style- and especially Japanese sewing books. So it's no suprise that I've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of I Am Cute Dresses, an English translation of 25 dress patterns by Sato Watanabe. I grabbed a copy as soon as they were available, and I can honestly say that I want to make every single thing in this book!" - Stefanie Berganini, Managing Editor, STITCH magazine

"I am happy that Japanese clothing designer Sato Watanabe's book I Am Cute Dresses is now available in English. The 25 dresses in this book are indeed cute - with sweet names such as I Am Hello Halter, I Am Jumper for Joy, and I Am Shift into Tunic. They are all styled to be filmy, loose, romantic and drapey dresses with simple construction and a few interesting details - perfect for summer cottons and light weight linens. The dresses are simple to make but not boringly so - practice your skills with the various techniques offered: make peak-a-boo or puff sleeves, stand-up or mandarin collar, shirred pleats on the sleeves or pintucks on the neckline, an asymmetrical tunic or a Kimono cut shift dress. The dresses are designed to be one-size-fits-all - which we know is never true, but with a little measuring you may be able to adjust the patterns to fit your body. I am just a little bit addicted to this book and will be making a dress a bit later today!" -

"Love it! I had already purchased the Japanese version and while the detailed diagrams make using the book do-able, I admit I longed for an English translation." – Ordinary is Boring

About the Author

Sato Watanabe loves designing and making clothes. Sato is also the author of several sewing books published in Japan. This is her first book of designs published in the United States.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Interweave; Reprint edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596683511
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596683518
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.5 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #367,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 106 people found the following review helpful By egoh on October 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I already had the Japanese version of this book but admit I longed for an English translation (especially for the pattern diagrams as I am not a native "metric speaker"!). The dresses are simply shaped and made up of very basic pattern pieces. That is good because they allow for fairly easy resizing (so don't let the size range in the book scare you off) and work great for personalization of a garment. Mix fabrics, add embellishments like embroidery and applique, that all works well on these sort of shapes.

To those negative commenters, I really don't understand why you are giving this book such a low rating. First, did you look at any reviews or even online images for the book and dresses before you bought this book? I cannot imagine buying a sewing book without at least doing a little research to know what the projects are like to see if I would even want to make them. If you want more fitted, tailored clothing, look for books that contain such. That you chose a book that doesn't have the sort of clothing projects you want isn't the book's fault nor the author's. Second, if you are at least an intermediate sewist resizing the patterns to make them larger is quite do-able (I am at the high end of the sizes in this book and expect to have to resize some patterns but because the shapes are so basic it will not be a difficult task). If resizing scares you, just use some cheap materials and give it a shot--you may be pleasantly surprised! If you won't consider resizing at all or simply cannot do it, I would question if perhaps an introductory sewing book might be a better step for where your skills are at right now?

The book works. The photos are good, the patterns are well laid out and explained. I haven't come across any errors.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Sara J. Lutz on September 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book finally arrived, and while I was a bit perturbed to only have a few sizing options at first - I'm actually quite excited about the whole concept. If this is the standard of the Japanese way of approaching sewing, I'll be looking for a LOT more books like this.

No actual patterns. Everything is a simple schematic made of relatively simple shapes. Plug in your own numbers and the sizing issue goes completely away because as there ARE no paper patterns premade - you can't really have "wrong size". I wouldn't suggest this book for someone who has never sewn before, or for someone nervous about trying to find their own way (in my case, the very fact I knew going in that there wasn't going to be a single item pre-drafted in my my size makes it easier for me. I'm over 6 feet tall and busty as a Valkyrie on holiday... not precisely what one pictures when one is creating Japanese clothes. So in my case, I was already sure I was going to have to simply, as the great Gunn would say, "Make it Work".) but if you already have a good basic skill set and are excited to go off a bit crazily on your own? Great book.

A few specifics - Every dress, and I do mean Every. Single. Dress. Seems to have been made of out pure cotton. And whoever designed the photoshoot for the poor model needs to be smacked firmly. The photos range from the ridiculous (poor woman posed with a giant clover in her mouth like a great big binky for heaven's sake!) to the just flat out bad idea (I don't want to see one side of the dress artfully HIDDEN behind a ladder with no one inside the dress!) - so the book loses a star for sheer frustration in trying to see exactly what each dress LOOKS like. Also, the same model on the cover is the model for every dress...
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107 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Cikk on August 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Very cute book - but the clothes are mainly rather shapeless. Cool, cute, original, but shapeless. Since I know that a fitted torso is what suits me most, the only thing I might make from this is the halter dress. There's also a strappy sundress with a drawstring waist, but that has a blousy top part so I won't make that either. I am giving it four stars because it is beautifully photographed and presented, the clothes are cute, the ideas are there, the diagrams for cutting are well done, and the instructions are clear - and I cannot stand reviewers who give low ratings just because they don't like something or they don't find their size.....

Good for slim tall girls who are into the Yamamoto/Comme des Garcons etc look. You'll like this if you can get away with the look. Most people can't, I find. If you're short, shapeless things swamp you. If you're average, they make you look shapeless and shorter. If you're big, they make you look bigger. You have been warned.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Angelia Rictor on September 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was so excited about this book, and it IS as I expected. The patterns are so simplistic and easy to follow that its going to be super easy to make them to your size no matter what size, I'm planning on making some of these for my 12 year old daughter~ no need to play with complicated math and grading really, its a matter of understanding how to fit your, or another persons body.
I keep seeing that people are calling these 'sack' dresses, but really patterns are guidelines! Play with them until they fit, add darts make them your own! Use less fabric and take in the waist, make them less block like. I can also see me making some of these shorter and using them as tunic type tops over jeans or leggings.

I'm excited to get started with more than one project in this book. I have an enormous fabric stash (I sew for a living) and cant wait to use some of my vintage pieces and other pieces that I've purchased and never used.

This book is for an intermediate sewer at least, someone who understands measurements and how much ease or not to add into a pattern to make them look good on YOU! Raise the waist band, taper the torso. There are some great techniques in this book that can be used to draw and create your own designs as well.

Be creative~
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