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Interweave Press Simple Modern Sewing: 8 Basic Patterns to Create 25 Favorite Garments Paperback – December 13, 2011
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The only thing that I believe would make this book better is if it had been published with a wire spine. Seems like it is taking publishers everywhere a bit to long to anticipate the desires of people such as myself, who love to sew and have several handcrafted projects going on at any given time. So here is a hint for all the publishers in the world: If the book is about an a handcrafted form then it should have a wire spine because we artisans like to lay the book out flat on the table. If you've ever wondered why there are coffee and tea cup rings in old pattern books it is because we set those cups full of liquid on the openned pages in order to break the spine and force them to lay flat.
This book has 8 basic patterns in sizes XS, S, M, L for the following garments:
1. Wraparound dress, also instructions for 2 tops.
2. Raglan sleeve top, also tunic and jacket
3. Jumper, also 2 dresses
4. 3 pant styles
5. 3 skirt styles
6. 3 more skirts
7. 3 blouses
8. 2 shirts and a tunic
The book layout is very pretty, as are the photographs. Every garment is shown, the instructions and diagrams are clear. Directions are basic enough for beginning seamstresses, along with suggestions for fabrics and accessories.
No special fitting worries with these clothes, all are comfy and roomy. Lots of forgiveness here. There are no intricate curved seams, insets, linings, complicated closures...nothing that might scare you off if you are a sewing newcomer.
I think you get a lot for the money. It's well written and beautifully presented. Other than perhaps the pantaloon pants, all the garments could become everyday favorites. What the heck... The pantaloon pants are really cute too.
The pattern doesn't bother me - I sew from a lot of European and Japanese patterns and most of them are like this. Once you do your first, it's pretty easy from that point on. I always highlight the pattern lines before transferring them to pattern paper, and that helps a lot. I think it's worth it - some of the Japanese patterns are quite lovely and very simple once you get the hang of them.
I'm a little surprised by some of the comments about sizing. Maybe because I've worked with other Japanese patterns, I know to always go up at least one size, if not more. My daughter is a size small (that's who I made the skirt for), but I used the medium, and it fits her fine. I do agree that the term "wrap skirt" was misleading, but again, I think that's the fault of the translation. The book actually explains it on page 31 at the bottom, where it says, "To make this skirt, you'll widen the skirt pieces to form a large tube of fabric that wraps around the body, overlapping in front." It's easy to miss, and because of these little gaps in the instructions, I gave it 4 stars. But overall, I was happy with what I made.
For what it's worth, I have several books at home of Japanese patterns that are not translated, and in some respects, those are easier since you have to rely on your sewing skills and the illustrations. For anyone who is interested in sewing from Japanese patterns, I highly recommend these two websites - [...] and [...] Both have reviews, tips, techniques, and most importantly, translations of simple sewing terms. I can now pick out the Japanese characters for most of the basic terms, such as seam allowance, center front fold, etc.