So Many Japanese Pattern Books!

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If you read a lot of sewing blogs you’ve probably figured out by now that the publisher of such delightful Japanese pattern books, like the one I used to make the shirt above, like to pass out their wares for review to lots of bloggers. Sorry if you’ve already read a bunch of book reviews lately, you’re in store for another – but there’s a good part – I have a new top to show off and you can enter to win one of three sewing books!

Ok, I’ll get to the meat of this review then give you the giveaway deets towards the bottom.

The Goal: I have to admit that while I had great success with my dress I made from the book Drape Drape last year, my attempt at a top from the new Drape Drape 3 was, well, a fail. That doesn’t mean it won’t work for others and I only tried one project from the book (House of Pinhero made an awesome dress from this book).

I was pretty bummed out about that but when I got these other two books: Feminine Wardrobe and Stylish Dress Book I decided to try again.

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The Pattern: This is the first project from Feminine Wardrobe, a peasant style top. The pattern was really simple and with the raglan sleeves and elastic waist it didn’t require much fitting.

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I made a M (sizes range from XS to L) and with this blousy style I think could have made an S.

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The Fabric: I made it using a rayon and I took a hint from the book and added cotton crochet trim on the sleeves and hem.

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The Changes: I knew that if I added the elastic lower on the hips where it’s shown in the book photos that either it would keep trying to slip up or it would look way too blousy for me so I put the elastic at my waist instead.

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(shorter sleeves, maybe?)

The Results: As much as I want to love this shirt, I don’t. It’s just not my style. I think it would look better with shorter sleeves or as a dress but I doubt I’ll take the time to do it. It’s ok, though, my shirt already has a new home and someone who does love it so that makes me happy.

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So here’s a more detailed critique of all three books. First of all, Feminine Wardrobe and Stylish Dress Book are pretty similar.

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(Stylish Dress Book design)

Each has a bunch of basic designs that are all altered for different effects – new sleeves, adding a collar, etc.

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(Drape Drape 3 dress design)

In Drape Drape 3 every design is unique.

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(Stylish Dress Book instructions and illustrations)

What I love about all three books is the helpful and detailed illustrations. You could make all these garments without ever reading a word, the drawings are so good. Still, the written instructions are helpful.

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(Feminine Wardrobe dresses)

All the patterns are layered on top of each other on large sheets of paper – Burda magazine style. The pattern pieces are very well labeled and pretty easy to trace. While Drape Drape 3 includes seam allowances, Feminine Wardrobe did not. :(

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(Another Drape Drape 3 design)

However Feminine Wardrobe and Stylish Dress Book listed measurements in both metric and imperial. Drape Drape 3 was only metric.

Like the other Drape Drape books, #3 offers an interesting approach to pattern sewing and many designs are pretty challenging and they’re all definitely creative! Feminine Wardrobe and Stylish Dress Book give you great jumping off points for whipping up a cute dress over a weekend and you can put your own spin on the simple designs.


Alright, on to the good part, right? Time for a giveaway! I’ll pick one winner per book. To enter just leave a comment and tell me which book you want (or first and second choices) and if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook submit another comment telling me so for a second entry!

I’ll pick a winner on Tuesday, June 24 at 12pm CST. Good luck!

  • maggie

    I love the styling in these books. I would pick the Stylish Dress Book.

  • Jane Clemo

    I’ve always admired the designs from these Japanese pattern books and love seeing them. I would pick the Feminine Wardrobe book. Your top looks great for a hot summer in Austin!

  • Jaime jo Tanis

    I started buying japaneese pattern books when I saw then at a bookstore in Seattle. I got some more on etsy and at another bookstore in NYC. Then they started translating them into English, and I thought, “oh crap” but your right- the drawings are so well done that you don’t really need them to be translated. Not that I would complain is I could confirm that my syphering was actually correct ;)

  • Eryn

    Honestly I would be happy to own any one of the three, but I would probably choose feminine wardrobe or stylish dress.

  • melanie

    What a great giveaway …
    My #1 choice is drape drape #3 I’ve been wanting this book since I saw your dress, I love the dress so much and want to sew one as well but haven’t got the money to purchase the book so it’s staying in my wishlist and if I won it then great but so far, no luck in the blogs giveaways lol … My second choice is feminine wardrobe because I already have the stylish dress book …
    Thanks for such the chance :)

  • NiKute Williams

    Hey~ I’m interested in the Feminine Wardrobe one then the Drape Drape. I’m really curious of what is inside. I love japan fashion.

  • Virginia Rand

    Can we put ourselves down for any of the above? They all look like they’d be interesting to try. I’m sorta’ tempted by what I’ve seen of Drape Drape.

  • I’d love to check out Drape Drape 3- looks like there’s some interesting shapes & designs to try!

  • I already own all three books but I wanted to pop in and say that I love the shirt. I know you’re not a fan and I know you gave it a better home but I think it was adorable! Maybe that’s the reason why you didn’t like it – it was “adorable.”

  • Rachel

    I’d love Stylish Dress Book! Thank you!

  • jessica

    Id love feminine or stylish
    Great blog
    Jessica

    Shkoober@hotmail.com

  • MaciNic

    I’m currently working my way through Drape Drape 2 but it needs to go back to the library soon – I’d adore my own copy of drape Drape 3 please!!

  • Mary Deeter

    I would love to have any of these books, but if I had to pick, I would probably pick the Stylish Dress. Thanks for the review and giveaway.

  • Thanks Maddie, yeah, maybe it was too “cutesy” for me, ya know? Good point…

  • erin

    Decisions, decisions… I think I would choose drape drape first and stylish second. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  • thequirkypeach

    Never enough book reviews! Love seeing the different takes on them :) I would probably go for the Feminine Wardrobe or Stylish Dress Book first and the Drape Drape 3 second :) Thanks for the giveaway!

  • mkeany

    I think the drape drape book would be my first choice with feminine wardrobe being my second choice.

  • Clipped Curves

    Ooo a giveaway with choice – please put me down for Drape Drape. Thanks

  • Christy Hayes

    I think drape drape looks most interesting, otherwise feminine wardrobe

  • Angela Bailey

    Drape Drape looks like fun!

  • blacklabel

    Im all in on drape drape 3…or feminine wardrobe. & {thank you}.

  • Feminine Wardrobe is on my wishlist. I’d love to win a copy. Isn’t it great when you can find new homes for things that aren’t you?

  • marshacwp

    All three look great, but I’d choose Feminine Wardrobe first.

  • Cirque Du Bebe

    Your blouse is really sweet! I’d go drape drape first and then take any as a second! Thanks!

  • Bec Stitches

    I really like the top on you, but glad it got a new home:) I would love any!!

  • stephanie u.

    Awh, I think it’s a really cute summer top! That’s great you found it a new home though. Thanks for the giveaway! I would love Drape Drape 3.

  • Lauren

    The cotton crochet hem is beautiful! I’m in Austin too and have been hoping to come to a sewing meetup. Would love to meet you in person!

    rosiewednesday.blogspot.com

  • melinda

    I’ve been wanting to try the Drape Drape patterns for a while now. Any of the three books would be great though!

  • The top is wonderful and suits you but if you’re not comfortable in it, then obviously it isn’t right for you. I would love to own the Feminine Wardrobe or the Stylish Dress Book

  • Jess

    Oh love Drape Drape 3 and Feminine Wardrobe designs! Excited!

  • Gosh, I’d love either of the books. I’ve been eyeing them ever since I spotted them on Amazon. :)

  • Kat Siddle

    Ooh, I’d love to win Drape Drape 3 or feminine wardrobe. I just made the Apron skirt from Shape Shape: http://www.wovenghost.com/reviewing-by-doing-why-the-did-i-make-this-in-orange-edition/

  • I have all 3 so count me out of the giveaway. I love your blouse! I’m been trying to decide what to make first from these books. My sewing list is getting huge!!

  • Gail Claverie

    It’s been a while since I visited your blog, and I’m glad I popped in today. Loved the golden/yellow mini skirt! Gotta make one now :) Would be happy to submit my interest in your give away… prefs… umm… Drape Drape 3, then Stylish Dressbook.

  • Jenelia

    I love the colors in this outfit– I think the pants would look really nice with a more fitted top, and the top would look great with something with less volume on the bottom! Japanese Jeans