Wednesday, 13 August 2014

'Casual Sweet Clothes, Favourite Pieces for Every Day'

I love it when an exciting new review copy lands on my doormat and I am particularly fond of the Japanese pattern books being published by Laurence King Publishing. Their latest offering, published this month, is by fashion graduate, Noriko Sasahara, whose clothes designs pop up in advertising, music videos and live performance. The book in her words, caters for ''anyone from novice designers to those more comfortable with a needle'. So, you can try your sewing hand at a simple jersey top with cape sleeves, or a gorgeous flounced edge jacket!

All of the 18 full size patterns in the back incorporate classic, simple shapes, perfect for everyday wear, but with an added embellishment detail to give it that extra touch of elegance. So that a basic V neck shift is perked up with some ruffle cuffs, a classic pencil skirt is cut into pretty tiers and a straight box dress has added lace inserts in the sleeves.
The book's first section details each of the patterns in turn, with cleanly styled photography and tall, (wafer thin), beautiful Japanese models. That's not to say that anyone over a size 8 should overlook this book however! In fact, in truth I think that some of the pieces would show their shape a little better in a more full-some body shape.  

The next section is titled 'How To Make The Garments' and as with all Laurence King pattern books, it gives excellent illustrations and instructions, as well as prefacing this section with a glossary and 'How To' on things like straightening the grain, interfacing and choosing your pattern size - which includes a helpful table of measurements for XS, S, M & L. 
If you are used to using a seam allowance of 5/8 inch, as I am, then note that for these patterns, unless stipulated, it is 3/8 inch (1cm)

All of the patterns are full size, but you are faced with the initially daunting task of finding your chosen pattern pieces on a page of overlapping shapes and lines for several different patterns, printed on the same sheet. I found it helpful to then delineate my pattern pieces using a pink highlighter. You then need to trace your pattern.
I decided to try out the 'Bateau-Neck blouse' below ~ the cute ties at the shoulders caught my eye ;o) :
It is essentially an easy to follow pattern, for a simple front and back top with ties at the shoulders and puff sleeves with elastic. It directs you to cut two front and two back pieces so that you effectively have a lining. I decided to use some of the fabric I purchased on my last Vietnam trip, which I have been unreasonably coveting in a box! It was time for it to be used ! I used a petrol blue for the right side and then a light pistachio green for the inside. With a loose boatneck like this, I liked the way that you get a flash of the green showing on the inside. Also, with the ties at the shoulders you are enjoying both colours of fabric.
The top came together pretty easily and I am really delighted with the finished top. I took the decision not to include the sleeves in the end, feeling that my choice of fabric meant that the top was working pretty well without adding sleeves. If you were to make the top in a light, white cotton or voile as they have done in the picture, then the sleeves work next project! I have also added a sneaky extra panel in my contrast fabric to make it more of a tunic ! I think I will be wearing this top a lot. The book also includes a rather lovely flounced edged jacket (below), which is also on my sewing wish list!

So, my finished result.....!

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