Just like last week, I’m going to start this off with full disclosure. Tuttle Publishing contacted me and asked if I would review some of their sewing books here on my blog. Having flipped through a couple of them in the past, I was happy to do so. The books were given to me by Tuttle, but the opinions here are completely my own.
Japanese sewing books have a large, faithful following. I knew they were popular, I just hadn’t taken the time to find out what they were all about. Apparently, it’s not uncommon for a seamstress to translate the books herself from their original Japanese. Fortunately, the Happy Homemade series has been translated to English already, making them a quick and easy source for simple and stylish sewing projects.
There are lots of cute outfits in this book. Many of them are made for someone a bit less curvy than I am, but there are a few options for those of us who can’t pull off a loose, tunic style. In fact, the first time I flipped through it, I thought there wasn’t really anything in this book for me. When I looked through it again and examined some of the drawings I realized there were many things I could wear. I’d recommend giving it a thorough read before deciding for yourself.
One of my favorites is this Straight-Cut Tiered Skirt. This style is often designed to be too short for me, but this one is a perfect length.
The garment I most want to make is this Jacket with Back Tie. It’s such a simple style and would look great with so many things.
I could see myself wearing this Sleeveless Blouse with Frill. In fact, I’m taking a trip to Disneyland in the fall, and this seems like a perfect vacation top.
Like the kids’ version last week, this book is very thorough in its layout of basic tools, techniques and tips for a beginning sewer. I really like the page that describes some of the commonly used sewing terms, such as facings and pockets. The drawings are very clear, making it handy for a beginner just learning such things or a more advanced sewer needing a basic refresher.
There are 20 projects included in this book. Needless to say, in order to provide full-sized patterns for each one they needed to be printed in such a way that they would all fit in one envelope. That means they are overlapped and printed on both sides, so you need to plan on tracing all of the pieces. If you’ve ever tried to use one size from a multi-size pattern, you know that’s probably going to make your life easier in the end anyway. You also need to add a seam allowance, which is easy enough since you’re already tracing and is detailed in the book. The one thing I found odd was that the suggested seam allowance was 3/8”. I’ve always been told to use 5/8” with garments, but since you’re adding it yourself you can do whatever is comfortable for you.
I’m very impressed with the diagrams included with each project, showing exactly how a specific part of the assembly is done.
I have to tell you, I did have one disappointment in reading this book. That adorable little top on the front cover is not one of the patterns included. Maybe I can look forward to it in a future edition! Otherwise, I really enjoyed Happy Homemade Sew Chic, and I think the Japanese sewing book genre can count another fan.