My new obsession. I recently picked up these two Japanese crafting books at the bookstore in Uwajimaya. These two weren't in stock and had to be specially ordered, but the bookstore has a large selection of other Japanese sewing books. You can pay more and purchase them from International Amazon. I've also seen them on ETSY.
The patterns and photos are so beautiful and inspiring. I've completed the first dress and am now on my second. Unfortunately, I over-estimated my size and the first dress is waaay too big. I was being generous with the cut, since Japanese patterns tend to run small. Plus I never feel as small as my Japanese friends, so I figured the size medium would fit me well. I was wrong. It's a darling dress though, and will hopefully fit me well when I gain another 60 pounds the next time I'm pregnant :)
The instructions are completely in Japanese, but they have wonderfully detailed illustrations. I was confident enough in my sewing skills to give it a go. Plus I had my nephew, who's fluent in Japanese, on reserve in case I needed his translation skills. I was able to wing it enough to complete the dress without needing any help with the translation. It turned out to be a very easy sewing project. I found a few blogs helpful for a some basic Japanese sewing terms and sewing tips. And voila! A darling new dress that I swim in.