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Review: Basic Black
Well, so be it. I do like her design sensibility very much, and the instructional quality of her books. And Basic Black: 26 Edgy Essentials for the Modern Wardrobe is a really interesting collection of garments, all made in – you guessed it – basic black.
I like the concept, although it's not always easy to see all the details in the sample garments. So I'm showing you some of them alongside the finished diagram from the pattern instructions, to give you a better idea.
Sato Watanabe has done books of very simple garments, but in Basic Black, she makes great use of trims, tucks, gathers, and darts.
It's not that you have to make your versions of these garments in black, of course. I could see any of them rendered in all kinds of colors and prints. Every design has good "bones" that would let it adapt to different interpretations.
Each garment has a detail or two that sets it apart, like the pocket detail on this dress. And the collection encompasses a wide variety of fabrics: jacquard, tweed, chambray, corduroy, chiffon, wool gauze, lawn, and so on.
The book's 26 garment patterns include 7 blouses, 9 dresses, 3 jackets, 3 vests, 2 skirts, and 2 coats. I was excited to see some more advanced-level patterns here – we know how angsty I've been getting lately about the lack of good sewing books for intermediate and advanced sewists.
(OMG, love that hand-stitched detail!)
This is definitely not a beginner's book. You should have some experience, I think, with tracing and altering patterns before you attempt something like this pretty fitted jacket. I was also happy to see several lined garments. These are things that would take some time to make, but would become wardrobe favorites.
Just had to show you one of the two coat designs. I love everything about this coat.
The instructional presentation is much like we've seen in Sato Watanabe's other books: each pattern has a cutting diagram, and the construction steps are presented mostly in diagram form. There's an envelope in the back of the book with two pattern sheets to trace from.
What's different from previous books is this very detailed measurement chart for sizing. The collection is divided into three silhouette types: loose, garments with darts and shaping seams, and fitted, Measurements are given in both U.S. and metric, and the author suggests using metrics for the best fit.
If you know your way around a dress form and want to venture into some fashion-forward pieces, check this book out.
(Disclosures: Tuttle sent me a review copy, and the title links above are affiliate links. Happy Weekend!