I have a serious crush on Japanese sewing & knitting books. An "I will pore over every image and diagram a gazillion times" sort of crush.
The aesthetic, the vibe, the layout - I love it all. I'm heavily influenced by the clean lines and the fresh feel of Japanese books. They just get me all creatively inspired and, of course, dying to make everything in the books!
I was so excited to get my hands on two of the popular Happy Homemade series "Sew Chic" by Yoshiko Tsukiori and "Sew Chic for Kids", by the talented Ruriko Yamadaboth, translated and published in English by Tuttle Publishing. And yes, you read that right - they are in English! I have to say that when they started releasing this line in English I was over the moon. I'm a visual and a technical learner. I like to read and see the instructions so I love that I can now read the instructions as well as see them. Their diagrams are gorgeous and very well done but I longed to read the words in the book as well.
Keep reading below to see my review & more pics!
// SEW CHIC FOR KIDS
The best thing about Sew Chic for Kids is that I love pretty much every pattern in it.
Ohhhh....the clothes, such lovely clothes...and for both boys and girls!!!! Can I hear a yay?!The book is filled with 20 wonderful essentials for any child's wardrobe. Plus they are the type of clothes that are the ones that you enjoy sewing as much as your children love to wear! The book includes patterns in the back, and lots of gorgeous images in the front. Instructions are given in written and diagram form. The pattern pieces are in the back of the book and head's up - they don't include seam allowances. But don't fret - the book has a section showing you how to add them, how to sew, and more tips, techniques and instructions.
I definitely recommend Sew Chic for Kids and can't wait to sew something up for my girlies and my nephew. But first I have to choose my favorite one to start! This is proving to be much harder than I thought! I love them all!
// SEW CHIC
Sew Chic just oozes relaxation. The pictures depict the kind of girl I so wish I could be. The clothes are comfortable, effortlessly chic and so lovely.
Now I've got me some curves so I can't pull off all of the looks but there are definitely some I could wear! The book includes 20 patterns ranging from tunics, pants, skirts, dresses and more! My fave piece to try is that lovely jacket shown in the middle shot below. It's something missing from my closet and think it would be a flattering piece for many body shapes. Just like Sew Chic for Kids, Sew Chic has inspiring and clean images in the front, patterns in the back. Patterns contain written instructions as well as diagrams. No seam allowances on the pattern pieces but instructions written in the book on how to add them making it not seem so overwhelming.
It also includes a section on tips for sewing, how to make bias strips & v-neckline facing, attach facing & binding and how to sew pockets. As well as how to trace patterns onto paper, add seam allowances, straighten fabric, pattern placement and how to take your measurements. It's all done so tidy and neat all of that literally only takes a few pages!
Women with curves take note though - the book does only go up to a certain size level and I know a majority of us are bigger than their largest size. If you have some alteration experience I'm sure you could grade up a bit to make them work but I wanted to include this in my review as I'm someone who has a hard time myself finding patterns that are mainstream that fit my curvy shape. The largest bust size is 40 1/4" and the largest hip size is 43 3/4". This isn't a direct con to this book though. Most Japanese sewing books have sizes in the smaller ranges so it's to be expected when you purchase them.
I still love Sew Chic. I still hope to sew some things from it and even aside from that, I just love looking at it! As someone who has published 2 books I get a real joy out of seeing how these are put together and I know they will be a well loved addition to my book library.
Both Sew Chic and Sew Chic for Kids are published by Tuttle Publishing and can be found at your local bookshop, sewing store and on Amazon. If you have a love for Japanese sewing patterns and books I highly recommend giving the English publications a try. The Happy Homemade series is amazing and always drool worthy. They make a lovely set of books to add to your sewing pattern collection.
Do you love Japanese sewing patterns and books? Which book is your favorite? Have you made any of the patterns from Sew Chic and Sew Chic Kids?
P.s. Have a wonderful long holiday weekend! My oldest is turning 7 on Easter! Can you believe it! It feels like only yesterday that she was a baby! See you all on Tuesday!