As you can see, I'm a fan of Yoshika Tsukiori's Dress books. I bought the hugely popular Stylish Dress Books one and two a few years back. I've made a couple of things from them which get regular wear and I enjoy the pleasure of looking through them for dressmaking inspiration, the clothes and the styling are always a treat for the eyes. Tuttle publishing produce the English translations of the original Japanese editions and offered me a copy of her latest book, Stylish Party Dresses for review, and of course I jumped at the chance!
These books are always given new titles for the English language versions and as with She Wears the Pants, something of the original title is lost in translation. This book started as 'Formal and Little Black Dress' and that in many ways sums up the book. Inside it you will find 26 garments for formal occasions- think weddings, special occasions, even funerals. They are not all dresses. Instead there a mix of tops, skirts jackets, two-piece sets and a jump suit as well as dresses. Formality is key. This is reflected in both the designs and the fabrics used. The two dresses below are a perfect example. The dress on the left has a shantung silk bodice and a skirt made from multiple layers of soft tulle. The dress on the right has an outer of lace and an inner lining layer of crepe de chine.
There's a large range of shapes including jackets/bolero patterns. I liked 'G' Lace bolero. Formal events are often in places with variable temperatures- weddings particularly rely on one outfit to get you through multiple locations so a jacket is essential!
This style appealed to me, probably because it is less formal and I love pin tucks! There are pin tucks all over the front bodice and it is shown in Liberty lawn and also in polyester crepe de chine although I imagine it more as a top than a dress. There are some subtle details in this style, the cuff has hidden snap fasteners.
The Liberty Print jumpsuit is a fun inclusion and the fabric details include quantities for directional and non directional prints which shows a little extra attention to detail.
I'm not sold on every style. This one looks a little like skirt tucked into knickers although when I look at the line drawings I like the top and the skirt without the front pleats is a perfectly useable A line skirt with a yoke waist.
The mini dress with raglan sleeves has already proved popular on Instagram. I've seen a few versions made up. Its a great style to maximise a graphic or large print and would easily crop to make a top. I like the sleeve length on this dress.
I also like the frilled black bolero in the outfit below (shown over a long chiffon dress). It's sewn up in a polyester georgette so the frill drapes softly.
There's a mix of shapes from loose flowing tunics to shift dresses, to mini skirts, to two-piece skirt/top outfits and more traditional fit and flare dresses. There are also some very interesting details- neckline back bows, unusual sleeve pleats and detachable collars and dramatic back views; the blouse in the outfit below has a deep v at the back plus a neck tie and a dipped longer hem and is shown in silk jacquard.
You can see more pictures and an interesting review, as always from Yifarn at Japanese Sewing Books. The layout of this book follows other's Yoshiko Tsukori has written with photographs at the front, followed by written instructions and detailed diagrams. There is a double sided pattern sheet to trace off in a pocket at the back and seam allowances are added with information on the recommended widths in the cutting layouts. This book was kindly provided for free by Tuttle publishing for reviewing purposes.