For my birthday, my friend gave me Zakka Sewing. The book is a delight to look at, but in my opinion, not accessible for a beginner.
First off, you get this book, and unless you improvise, you really can't make anything from it right away. Why? Every pattern that I am interested in making requires that it be enlarged 200-250% (depends on the pattern). Furthermore, there are no tips on enlarging the patterns. If you photocopy them, you need paper larger than 8.5x14. I was eager to make the squirrel teapot cozy on the cover, and I had to free hand most of the pattern using my french curve in order to get immediate gratification.
Next, the materials list for the teapot cozy says, "thick wool felt." Well, I used thick wool felt and after completing the pattern as the book instructs, my cozy is floppy and won't stand up, never mind that it doesn't fit on my teapot. I will need to improvise, use interfacing, and I think I will even add batting to insulate. That's all okay, but c'mon, for the hard earned $24.95 that my friend spent, I expect a little more! If the purpose of this book is to make Japanese style patterns more accessible to those who do not read Japanese, why do I feel like I get so much more from the Japanese craft mooks that give me full size patterns and excellent drawn instructions (though, admittedly I can read enough Japanese to help me along) for the same price?
Follow up to other reviewer who commented on what I wrote:
Please note, that the directions in the book say to reproduce the patterns on a photocopier, there are no directions or notes anywhere in the book that suggest tiling pages. Furthermore, the materials list for the tea cozy states, "Thick grey wool felt, 15"x24"". If I am to purchase 1/4" thick grey wool felt, then the directions should state that.
The point of my review was that this book aims to be easily accessible for the English speaking audience; it falls short.