Simple Modern Sewing Works for Everyone

Generation Simple Modern

We surveyed a whole team of fashion-loving women to see if the pretty styles in Simple Modern Sewing work for everyone. They do!

Here in the book department at Interweave, we covet every Japanese sewing book that comes our way. When we learned we'd be publishing the English-language version of Simple Modern Sewing: 8 Basic Patterns to Create 25 Favorite Garments, by Shufu To Seikatsu Sha (originally published in Japanese as Sewing Naturira), we were thrilled.

Japanese garments and Japanese craft books have a beautiful aesthetic that many sewists respond to: graceful, clean silhouettes, gorgeous natural fabrics, comfortable fit, and a perfectly imperfect wabi-sabi sensibility. With a little care and basic sewing knowledge-and, in this case, the help of our translation!-it's not hard for Westerners to use these books. Simple Modern Sewing is the perfect starting place for anyone who's intrigued by Japanese sewing, with a full-size pattern insert, metric and imperial measurements, English-language text, and many clear illustrations to guide you through the steps.

The garments in Simple Modern Sewing are true to Japanese style, but much more versatile than you might expect. I surveyed members of our book team with a 30-year age range and tons of individual style about what they liked and how they'd wear it, and everyone had a favorite that inspired them. With your sewing skills and your own fabric and color choices, you can make these designs to suit your style, whether you live in a creative, fashionable world, have a busy schedule of family and kids, or gravitate toward the classic and understated.

Mary, in her early to mid-20s, famous around here for mixing cool tees with classic jackets and Frye boots, picked the Butterfly-Sleeve Blouse. "It'd be cute by itself with skinny jeans, or tucked into a high-waist pencil—I love the flyaway sleeves," she said.
Tall and graceful Kerry, in her late 20s, a genius jewelry-making crafter and intrepid sewist, chose the Drop-Waist Wrap Skirt, which she'd wear with a simple tee or tank top, and the Butterfly-Sleeve Blouse, with jeans and flats in a bold color.
Rebecca, our confident fashion-forward pioneer in her 30s, chose the Boatneck Dress, shown in the book in ruby red. She'd wear the strong, sleeveless A-line silhouette with a black turtleneck, black tights, and high black boots, along with a long, sparkly, silver necklace and a big cocktail ring.
Kristen, a blond and beautiful woman in her 40s who enjoys Colorado outdoor life, loves the Simple Yoked Skirt with the French-Sleeved Baby Doll Top, to wear with flat sandals and bracelets for a soft, summery look.
As for me, in my early 50s, I need clothes that can be feminine and sophisticated without being either frumpy or too young. The indigo blue linen Wraparound Dress with Three-Quarter-Length Sleeves would be perfect for a day of flea markets in Paris (in my dreams) or painting in my studio, with leggings and ankle boots or my favorite platform wedges. I also love the Ruffled Sleeveless Blouse and would make it in black silk to wear with jeans, a cashmere sweater, and silver bangles. 
And though none of us chose the Petticoat Pants, they may be the most fun and frivolous project in the book for a fashion adventurer. I can see this simple design in a Liberty Tana Lawn print with a denim skirt over them and just the hems peeking out, or in an unexpectedly sturdy tweed or corduroy fabric with a slender tank, a great belt, and a cropped sweater or jacket.

 Why not make yourself a whole wardrobe of these easy, perfectly designed garments? Then send us a picture of your own unique styling and tell us why Simple Modern Sewing works for you!


*Elaine Lipson is an Editor for Interweave Books and a frequent contributor to Stitch.

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7 thoughts on “Simple Modern Sewing Works for Everyone

  1. I’d love to see some of these on a plus-sized woman. I look at this book and then look away thinking that it might be difficult to use the patterns on someone my size.

  2. I just got it and cannot wait to make half of the patterns included. I’m 40, and think this sort of style is the answer for those of us who would like a little whimsy but are far beyond what one might find in the “juniors” department. I sincerely hope that Interweave continues to produce some of the fabulous Japanese sewing material into English versions.

    Also… as a weaver, this style it a wonderful way to use simple handwoven fabrics in a way that produces little waste… and added bonus.

  3. I just received the book and cannot wait to finish my Christmas projects so I can start on something for myself! I do not find the book too youthful at all. As a 28 yr mother of 5 who is often taken for a teenager, I find a lot of these items to be stylish while classic, and am hoping the addition will keep others from confusing me with my teenage daughter 🙂

    I would love to see pictures of some items others have sewn from the patterns!!

  4. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to convert theses patterns to size 20 US? I am new to sewing and love the look, just un-sure if it is possible for a newbie.

  5. I am making the petticoat pants and all the patterns on one page confusing. Theres an abc dress and abc pants it would be nice to have different colors or efg/ xyz different letters to see whats what. I goofed and made two backs and then saw there was a front to the pants this morning and were exactly is the ruffle? ???

  6. I, too, am a 50 + woman and I was instantly drawn to the wraparound dress with 3/4 sleeves. Instead of using an one color or a vertical striped fabric, I came upon a fabric with huge black irregular circles on deep gray background. I’m a bit confused and have questions about the patterns and instructions. For one, on pg 62 I see seams indicated with the inner line but why is the front and back facing don’t have seams on the one edge?