Since starting to sew about a year ago, I've admired Japanese Dress Books for their simple, pretty aesthetic. My interest was piqued after seeing some finished projects made from patterns in these lovely books, so I bought myself a couple.
For a long time, I was intimidated. Written entirely in Japanese, I couldn't possibly see how anything I might make from these books would turn out the way it was supposed to. So, I would pull the books, flip through them, bookmark projects ... and then put them back on the shelf.
And then, one day in my post-Christmas, pre-week long work excursion madness, I pulled Stylish Dress Book off the shelf, and with the help of label-free started tracing out my pattern.
Working with Japanese dress books is shockingly easy. The diagrams are super clear, and working through them was a snap. My tunic isn't perfect, but I'm pleased with it as a first attempt at working from a foreign-language pattern. I particularly like the mis-matched buttons, some of which came from my grandmother's collection.
Now, if I could just get my sizing right ...