In an idle moment of internet browsing Japanese couture the capelet shift dress in Jinko Matsumoto's Feminine Wardrobe caught my eye. What could be more charming than a dress with a cape attached? I ordered a copy (English translation) and was excited when it arrived within days.
Feminine Wardrobe has the same easy-to-follow instructions and trace out patterns as the Stylish Dress Book series but the clothes are perhaps a bit more commercial – more like the sort of garments you'd find in mainstream high street fashion shops than the smock-tastic creations in Stylish Dress Books. However, the capelet shift dress is avant-garde enough for my taste (I also covet the ruffle shoulder A-line dress and the giant bow-tie tunic). Matsumoto encourages you to add as many of the decorative elements (bows, ribbon ties, frills) to the designs as you like.
The book has beautifully styled photographs and there's a helpful double-page illustrated guide showing how all twenty-one dress designs come from seven basic patterns. The sewing guides are straightforward with fully detailed instructions as well as a shorter list for each design.
Pleased as Punch with my finished frock, I decided to wear it for a walk down to the seafront thinking I'd get some good photos in the soft afternoon light with the sea at low tide. I hadn't factored on it being quite such a blustery grey start to summer though. The capelet on my dress flapped around so much in the wind it's a wonder I didn't take off and join Worthing's daredevil kite surfers with a maiden flight over Worthing Pier. Photo shoot abandoned I headed to Macaris for a hot chocolate Snowcap feeling invincible with my capelet billowing out behind me.