At first there were just 3 of them. Then another 2 came and they had company, then two more from ebay, then 3 more were sent with a swap, 4 more were approved and 2 more to accompany the set of rakuraku hooks in their long trip fron Japan. And now they sit and talk all together in their native language and from time to time I take them off the shelf to just browse or consult or meditate thinking what my next project should be. And ofcourse I’m talking about my ever-growing collection of Japanese craft books. There are so many projects I want to do in them that could be enough for a life time of crafting. Yet, I want more. They have stopped serving their usual role as patterns and inspiration and we have moved all together to the collector’s land. I’m usually grabbing books about sewing and crochet, rarely knitting, felting and when I’m done with these, I’m gonna start origami and paper crafts.

Since I have them adorning my craft book shelf, I thought, why not giv’ em a review. They deserve it after all. Once in a while (meaning when I find time and I’m not sleepy) I’ll try a simple review of them, after all not all of them have “see inside” features, if you try to figure out online which one would be useful to you and your craft. If there are any, I’ll show off a thing or two I’ve managed to complete from said book.

I’ll start with one of my favorite books so far. Comes with ISBN-10: 4309280196 and it’s translated into “sewing with straight stitches or lines or something”. And guess what: there’s not a curved line anywhere in this book.

No ready patterns are available but the drawings are more than enough to make your own. Don’t be easily put off by it, it’s as simple as doing elementary math and using the ruler right. Each design comes with a simple math calculation that has to do with your bust and hip size. Then you apply your number to the design and just enlarge what you see with your found measurements. Illustrations for the process are enough, if you have some experience in sewing. Each design has a drawing of the amount of fabric needed and how to cut the pieces and then numbered ilustrations of each step you’ve got to make.

The book features mainly dresses. Unique ideas about how to transform a rectangular piece of fabric to a lovely dress or tunic. There are 15 basic designs and most of them have two variations like long/short, sleeves/no sleeves and other decorative ideas. All of them count up to 26, numbered with the english alphabet A-Z. And trust me you’ll want to make most of them. Light summer clothing, with linen, cotton and simple colors.

For me it was the kind of book I fell in love simply by looking at the cover. Even if anything else inside was useless, I had to get it for the cover dress. In the meanwhile, a flickr and swap friend posted another creation from this book and I was convinced. Right now I’m currently working on three projects from it. The first one which is finished is, guess what! (insert suspense drums here) The cover dress!!!

Made with linen (I love linen dresses for summer), I impovised at the closure and used buttons with the same size but wiht different colors from my stash. The interfacing was really important for this pattern. Don’t even think to omit it. It will give shape to the neck and button closure. I regret not having used a thicker one, but I can live with it.

Math worked great, sewing it was easy. I made a small mistake at the neck size, just remember that you’re gonna have to calculate it according to your measurements, don;t count on the numbers given. Who knows maybe it was written somewhere… in japanese. So here it goes. (shoulders don’t look so good on the sewing dummy, look better in real life)

(back side)

You’ll have to excuse me for not ironing it to perfection before showing off. But you know linen… and you don’t know how hot a Greek summer is… Hot summer and ironing don’t match, I tell you. And what for anyway, in the end it’s gonna turn like a linen dress that you wear in real life in no time. sigh.

Verdict: a simple rectangular piece of linen, shaped at the waist with the attached cord, fabulous side button closure, neck that you can wear closed or open. Beautiful.