Thursday, May 14, 2015

She Wears The Pants - A Sewing Pattern Book Review

A more unusual Japanese pattern book has just been translated into English and published by Tuttle Books. 'She Wears the Pants' is a take on what has been called boyfriend style clothes.


It was originally published in 2010 with the Japanese title which translated as 'She Has a Mannish Style'. Despite being published 5 years ago, the patterns have a very current look, with a few classics also included.







There are 20 varied patterns in this pattern book, including 7 blouses/tops, 4 jackets/coats/cardigan, 4 trousers/culottes, 2 dresses, one skirt and 2 accessories stole/long collar.


Some of the patterns, like the draped mini dress and the square top, follow the typical loose-fitting style of Japanese patterns. However, more fitted styles such as the tapered trousers and culottes above are also included.

The sizing is in the range from XS to L. XS corresponds approximately to US size 6, and size L corresponds to US size 14. Because the sizes are nested on the pattern sheets, it would be easy to size up one or two sizes while tracing a pattern.

This book also has an excellent centre section with pictures and tips on sewing with different types of fabrics and how to finish seams on different fabrics

As with many Japanese Pattern books, all the patterns are included on pull-out sheets in a pocket inside the back cover and patterns must be traced from these sheets.

Instructions for sewing up each pattern are listed in numbered steps, with numbers linked to those on the corresponding diagrams. Sometimes a particular step is described and illustrated only for an earlier pattern, but usually the page number is given if a step from a different pattern needs to be used.

Seam allowances are not included, but the fabric layout diagrams show the exact allowance that is needed for each pattern piece.


Some of the styles in the book would not suit my shape as I need my clothes to be a little fitted above my waist. Other styles are a little too 'edgy' for my taste. However what I found most impressive about this book was the inclusion of classic shirt and jacket patterns.

The fleece and striped long jackets as well as the dotted blouse are classic styles and include details like welt pockets, bound buttonholes, sleeve plackets and collar and under collar, which are thoroughly illustrated with clear detailed diagrams.

What make me love this book is the diagram on 'bagging a jacket'. This sewing technique is generally difficult to describe in words, and also difficult to demonstrate and photograph with an actual jacket, but this book provides a detailed, numbered line-drawing. I have quite a collection of Japanese language pattern books and English translations, and this is the first I noticed with this type of jacket diagram.

The pattern I had planned on sewing from this book is this draped mini dress, but life got in the way a little, so instead I chose to use part of another pattern.




My son wanted a costume for Cork Comic Expo which was held a few weeks ago in a local shopping centre, Mahon Point. The costume was a black cape and hat for 'V for Vendetta'. I had to draft the hat myself, but used a vintage pattern for the cape. However, the Cape pattern didn't include a collar, so I needed a well-designed curved collar pattern which would stand up well. I found No.18 Dotted Blouse had exactly what I needed and traced the collar and collar stand. The only change I needed to make was to increase the size of the lapels to provide the look that my son wanted.

(Pic source: Facebook Mahon Point)


I think he got the look!




(Tuttle Publishing sent me this pattern book free. All opinions are my own. I have been successfully sewing from Japanese language pattern books since 2009)














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  1. I'd say he nailed the look! Comic Cons have definitely become more widespread in recent years. My son went to our local one a couple of weeks ago....but he didn't dress up.:( lol

    1. Thanks Cindy, he was very pleased with it. You may or may not want to tell Patrick that the highlight for my son was teenage girls who approached him looking for 'a selfie' ;-) just in case he considers a costume for the next comic con!