- Simple Modern Sewing book review Review by NULL NULL
The minute I opened the book, I was taken with the styling. Natural fabrics, mostly in neutral colors, with models that don't look like models (in other word, real women). The use of neutral colors made it especially easy for me to visualize the pieces with other fabrics and colors. All the pattern pieces are printed on 2 - yes, 2 - sheets of paper, front and back. I am used to tracing patterns, but this was challenging as all the lines cross over each other. It's not easy figuring out which lines belong to which pattern. When I finally got the hang of it, I traced patterns 1 - 4 in one session. I would have gladly paid a few extra dollars to have extra sheets with fewer lines. I would call myself an intermediate seamstress. For me, the patterns themselves are very, very easy and have clear instructions. Keep in mind that the seam allowance is not part of the pattern. I read another review that stated all the clothes came out sized for an underfed teenager. I can only assume the reviewer didn't add the seam allowance. I worried that everything would be too tight (I'm a larger size), but many of the patterns have a lot of ease, and it's super easy to modify these patterns, for more or less ease and length. Each pattern states the finished dimensions of the garment, which is quite helpful. I wish all patterns had this information! The sewing instructions are clear and easy, and each project has suggested fabric types. The clothes are on the unconstructed side, which was something that attracted me to the book. I love both layering and natural fabrics. These patterns are easy to adjust and embellish. I made pattern 2a, the short raglan-sleeve top, using a cotton lawn fabric, and giving it a a little extra length. It was pretty boxy, so I inserted elastic at the hem, and that simple addition changed the whole look. Super cute and on trend. I tried the same pattern with a quilting cotton, and FAIL. My fault. The 'suggested fabrics' are in there for a reason. I will try again with a light weight fabric, probably adjusting the side seams to pull in a little closer to the body. I then made the petticoat pants in a teal colored linen-cotton blend, and they are a very cute addition to my spring wardrobe. Keep in mind the length of the garments; long trouser inseam is 27.5", which is very short for American sizing. I adjusted the pattern for a bit more length, to ensure that the deep, flounced hem started just at the lower knee. Now I can't wait to make the wrap dress. I'm really happy with the book overall. As long as you have the patience to trace the patterns, it's useful and easy if you're heading up the learning curve of apparel sewing.
(Posted on 4/29/12)
- Superb Introduction to Japanese Pattern Magazines! Review by Pamela Jablonsky
Sewists across the globe have discovered Japanese Pattern Magazines, which feature pages of simple and delectably unique garment styles and include patterns bound right into the magazine in same manner as the Burda and Ottobre magazines from Germany and Finland respectively. Those of us who are enchanted by these styles go to enormous trouble and expense to acquire and use the magazines, ordering directly from Japan and sharing via blogs information on how to interpret the Japanese characters. One publisher in Australia has recently translated three of these magazine issues into English -- and I spent forty dollars to acquire one! What a surprise to find that our own Interweave Press has several such publications! It was bound to happen sooner or later -- the movement is growing and spreading, and American sewists are hungry to find these. But Interweave was clearly on the cutting edge -- no pun intended -- in bringing them to us. I for one intend to spread the word! I thankfully bought Simple Modern Sewing, and am happy to tell you that it's a wonderful introduction to Japanese Pattern Magazines. The styles are simple and delightful and the "Large" size is larger than you will commonly find in such publications. Add your own embellishments from what you are given here. Further, the big pages upon which the patterns are printed contain fewer patterns on a given page here. You can get the hang of it more easily before you graduate to the others, which have many, many patterns criss-crossed upon a single page and are distinguished by Japanese characters. I dearly wish I had cut my teeth on Simple Modern Sewing before I tackled the Japanese Pochee magazines. But the effort has been eminently worthwhile; the garments are fabulous! Start here, with this book, my sewing sisters, and see if the Japanese styles that have fascinated so many of us are your cup of tea.
(Posted on 4/27/12)