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Book Reviews > Basic Black 26 edgy essentials

Reviewed by: a life in stitches

About a life in stitches star
Member since: 7/16/11
Reviews written: 43
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books reviewed: 20
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Posted on: 7/26/14 8:17 AM
Author: Sato Watanabe
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Recommended? Yes
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Review Rating: Helpful by 2 people   Very Helpful by 4 people   

Subtitled 26 edgy essentials for the modern wardrobe. There are patterns for 7 blouses/shirts/tunics, 3 vests, 10 dresses, 1 skirt and 5 jackets/coats. An envelope in the back contains sheets of full-size patterns to trace off onto tissue paper. Some of the simpler shaped pieces, like rectangular skirt sections, ties and bias bindings are given as dimensions on the cutting layouts, and you can either draw these onto tissue or just mark them on the fabric itself.

As a refreshing alternative to the offerings of the major pattern companies who seem to be falling over themselves to deliver copies of the cheapest ready-to-wear, you can't beat a good Japanese pattern book. I like this one a lot, and within a week had made my first dress from it. It was very easy to trace, cut and sew, with minimal fit alterations. I didn't make a toile, and it would have been perfectly acceptable the way it was, I just made some small refinements.

Amazon show you pretty well what's on offer. It is a well-produced book, the photography even manages to show the detailing which could be so easily lost with black fabrics. On the basis of one successful garment I can't fault the diagrams, pattern sheets and instructions.

On the whole, these are quietly elegant garments with some unusual detailing.
There are five of the dress styles that get criticised for being sack-like, but there are lots of others with more fitting. Darts and princess seaming both feature, and shapely dressmakers will be pleased that they don't need to be as flat as their ironing boards to wear these designs.

Four sizes are given - XS to L but be aware that L is not very large, (maybe 14). There is a helpful table of finished garment measurements, and because the cuts are fairly conventional it's pretty easy to compare the measurements and the pattern shapes with clothes or patterns that fit well and make a judgement of which size to cut. For example, I made a knee-length version of Dress b, and worked with tracing a size S, after comparing it with my Sorbetto top. The patterns appear to be quite modular, it looks as though only a few basic blocks have been used for the bodices, therefore it's probably safe to assume that if one 'loose' style comes right, the others will too, and the same for the semi-fitted styles. In saying this, I don't mean to imply the styles are very limited - we are not in 'Version A with collar, Version B without' territory here, and there are lots of distinct designs.

If you like the styles and the sizing works for you, this is a great value book, offering a chance to work within a different aesthetic.

Edgy? Not the term I would use. But most of the Japanese pattern books have slightly odd titles, so maybe something gets lost in translation?

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Nancywin said...
Great review-thanks! I think I'm going to order the book
8/28/14 10:43 PM
Nancywin said...
Great review-thanks! I think I'm going to order the book
8/28/14 10:43 PM

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