Day 4 Giveaway: Patternmaking Made Easy

Posted by Kathleen Fasanella on Aug 31, 2013 at 5:42 pm / Contest and Projects, Patterns, Reviews / Trackback

PME_3rd_edToday’s giveaway features a popular title that has been given away at least twice previously on this site, and that would be Patternmaking Made Easy by Connie Crawford. This being the brand new third edition, it would be an excellent choice if you’re looking for a friendly, hands on, yet professional guide to learn patternmaking as applied to industry.

As you would imagine, I’m a bit particular about drafting books but then, so is everyone else. There is a caveat though; most people tend to prefer whatever book they cut their teeth on which usually means the default text that was required in school. However, once you’ve been around awhile, you’re able to be more discriminating because the requirements of your job or your product depend on it. Toward that end, I wrote a post on how I review patternmaking books which you really should read. This is not to say that other books don’t serve a purpose because most books do get the basics right. What you need outside the classroom is the certainty of performance.

This new edition has lovely new features. Frankly, when Connie called me to tell me how excited she was about it, I wasn’t too sure because authors drink their own kool-aid (me too). But, she was right; this new edition features spot color used in useful and strategic ways. For example, when you’re trying to tease out which part of the sketch is the bodice neckline versus the facing you’re drafting for it, black and white shading only goes so far. Color is optimal -except, let’s face it, until this book came along I didn’t really know that. This really raises the barre for other pattern book authors. Previously, spot color was used for section titles, not very useful beyond the makings of pretty book design.

The instructional design is also new; the steps involved with each design instruction are clearly labeled and set apart. I can’t speak for you but I become extremely frustrated when one line of an instruction -say, one sentence- encompasses three separate steps or actions. Me, I can’t follow that. I want one step, one sentence. Any other way, I can’t do it. No, let’s be honest. I get so frustrated I want to cry.

As to whether you should get it too, do read the review I wrote of this book as compared to its key competitor; even if this book didn’t have the dramatic changes and new features it has, I’d still say this is the better book. The other one… I don’t care how popular it is, its author has never made a production ready pattern in her life. She also doesn’t cite her sources. I guess if it’s on the internet, she doesn’t owe a HT to yours truly. It’s not enough to call the lawyers over, just annoying and insulting.

Oh, I almost forgot the best part. You can buy this book from Connie’s website for 20% off the list price ($95) using coupon code FASANELLA. And no, I don’t get a cut on the deal.

Rules to enter today’s giveaway:
Leave a comment detailing a vexing problem you have with pattern drafting that you hope this book will resolve. When I make the follow up post, in addition to announcing a winner, I will try to either answer every commentor’s problem and or mention whether this subject is covered in this book. In this way, everyone will win. Yay!

Oh and as far as people living outside the United States, I’m not sure how that will work but if you’re willing to pay shipping, you can enter too. I should warn you though, this is a very large book and it is heavy, weighing almost 4 pounds. With packaging, it may be closer to 5 pounds (2.3 kilos).

I can’t wait to see the comments you post. Good luck everybody!

Edit 9/1/13:
It’s reaffirming to read the positive response to this giveaway but on the other hand, I fret that expectations are misaligned.  I feel I should say something because I wouldn’t want people to run out and buy the book thinking it would solve their problems. If you do, be sure to read How we make patterns in real life.

One inappropriate expectation (I think) is reducing the number of iterations you go through to get a successful result. Obviously this has lots of wiggle room but it would be inappropriate if someone thought they could draft a pattern from the book and it would be perfect right off the bat. If there were a book that delivered that, it’d forever be a best seller.  In industry, this never happens. Proving a pattern is development. It’s like developing a new recipe, you have to do it over and over to get something you like. It is rare that your first effort is perfect. But anyway, I feel that enthusiasts are setting themselves up for a fall if they expect or demand of themselves, to do something that professionals can’t when they have none of the benefits.

The other thing is that this book isn’t designed to address the needs of individuals. It is not a drafting to measure book. It is also largely not a fitting book.  Those are separate themes that have been written about extensively by authors who are more attuned to this segment of the market.

In short, just because it is an “industrial strength” solution, does not mean that being “better”, it will magically resolve one’s fitting ills. It is akin to using a fire hose to put out a match. The fire hose will most definitely put out a lit match but not without incurring a lot of hassle, planning (you have to get a fire truck and hook it up to a hydrant), expense, grossly excessive waste of water etc.

117 Responses to “Day 4 Giveaway: Patternmaking Made Easy”

Comments RSS feed

Ariana Bauer
August 31st, 2013
6:33 PM

I have issues drafting for a large bust where the rest of the body is still in proportion. I have working on a draft for a side gathered close fitting dress for a full figured woman who has amazing waist to hip to bust proportions but the bust is very large, E cup while the rest of the body is between a typical size 12 and 14 on Burda Style patterns to give an idea. I usually resort to damping for her and back and forth until it is tweaked just right but I want to draft from scratch and be much closer to fitting.

August 31st, 2013
6:47 PM

I sew from vintage patterns and upgrade them to plus size–often increasing them by ten sizes or more. Knowing which areas of a pattern should be increased more and which need less is a tricky thing for me, especially when working from a single-size pattern. I’ve learned to do it just by “feel,” but I would like to learn a more precise, established technique for increasing by that many sizes.

Darts and their placement are something else that often causes me to re-do patterns multiple times, and I’d like more knowledge there.

August 31st, 2013
7:01 PM

My most vexing problem with pattern drafting is me. “Close Enough” is exactly the way to get a pattern that doesn’t fit properly.

TD McBride
August 31st, 2013
7:05 PM

I carry extra weight in my front in the midriff area above the waist. I would like to draft a pattern that allows extra room for the front midriff area without pulling and without being too big elsewhere.

Carrie Cook
August 31st, 2013
7:11 PM

I am vexed by facings – where to make them smaller, or longer, or same size…

Kelly Emerton
August 31st, 2013
7:17 PM

Hi Kathleen,

My vexing problem that I have for pattern drafting that I hope this book (if I win it!) will resolve is how can I add small features (eg collars, ruffles around arm/neck, sleeves) to my existing blocks to create different styles for my line.

August 31st, 2013
7:18 PM

I am a novice (and even that is a generous term) to pattern drafting. I’ve been working on growing my skills to alter purchased flat patterns and muslins, and eventually I’d like to move on and attempt my own pattern draft. It would be amazing to have such a great resource to read, re-read, and absorb.

Debbi Cooper
August 31st, 2013
7:27 PM

I have trouble with armholes. I am very new to drafting my own patterns and the arms never seem quite right.

David S.
August 31st, 2013
7:30 PM

I’m vexed matching inside curves to the outside curves — a sleeve to the armsyce, for instance. That’s a technical drafting problem, not necessarily a pattern on, so it might not be in there. But it might: a section on how to actually work with tools would be helpful.

August 31st, 2013
7:34 PM

I am most vexed by infterfacings. Which style do I use for different fabrics.

August 31st, 2013
7:41 PM

I’m entering because I need help with collars at work – the men’s polo collar on the block pattern I inherited is giving me fits, but I don’t know how to fix it (and my boss developed the block, so it’s hard getting accurate help…). I used the Armstrong book in school, so if I don’t win this one I’ll probably need to go buy it. This does look like the superior book!

August 31st, 2013
7:51 PM

always looking for resources to help me hone my skills as well as teaching other how to sew.

August 31st, 2013
7:52 PM

I have a hard time drafting for a large bust with small waist, I never seem to get it close without resorting to drin.

August 31st, 2013
8:12 PM

Sleeve heads! Always Sleeves and sleeveheads!

August 31st, 2013
8:12 PM

I am new to patternmaking. But would love to know how to convert a one piece color into 2 pieces—you know the one with the stand:) Thanks for such a wonderful giveaway!!!

August 31st, 2013
8:14 PM

I’ve been wanting to add a cap sleeve directly to my shoulder seam without adding it separately . I can’t drape it because my dress form doesn’t have arms. I’ve mostly been drafting and redrafting it in my head, of the 5 pattern making books I have not one covers a cap sleeve, like what I’m imagining in my head.

August 31st, 2013
8:25 PM

I agree with Mary on the sleeve heads. And like Kathleen, I’d benefit from the one line, one instruction format of the book. I also have not yet learned to draft pants, so I’d love to learn it from this book.

August 31st, 2013
8:28 PM

I have been struggling with creating a boat-neck sleeveless top pattern for months.

I did a mock up of the top… The boat-neckline is too close to my throat
and the shoulder seams are about an inch away from armsyce edge.

I am at my wit’s end!

Christina D.
August 31st, 2013
8:45 PM

I’ve only ever drafted corsets for personal use so far, so my issues are pretty specific to corsetry (though I’d really like to learn to draft other things!). It’s fairly easy to draft points according to my measurements, but connecting those points with lines that have the correct curve takes a fair amount of guesswork. Also, corsets have negative ease in the middle to squish the waist, but have no ease or even positive ease at the bust and hip. Guessing how much ease, and whether positive or negative, is really hard!

Nakia Cheeks
August 31st, 2013
8:47 PM

I have the toughest time getting the perfect fit! I take & re-take measurements a million times, but something is always off once I get to the finished pattern. I’d love to have a book that provides “troubleshooting” for ill-fitting patterns.

August 31st, 2013
8:47 PM

I’m with previous commenters who’ve mentioned problems with inside and outside curves, especially drafting sleeves. I’m a hobbyist, so I haven’t had much practice outside costuming-focused pattern-making classes I took in college and some fiddling on my own. Thank you for offering these giveaways!

Karen Cook
August 31st, 2013
8:48 PM

I’m vexed by trying to get a perfect collar. Do I make the under collar smaller in the length or width? I’ve read all kinds of things in the member forum but I can’t seem to get it perfect. My collar points seem to want to turn up just a little bit. I’d also like to learn to make lapels. My final frustration is that I bought this book for myself a year ago (or maybe the previous edition, I guess) but I ended up giving it to my college-age daughter for her pattern making class. She ended up having to drop the class last year but will be starting it next week. Meanwhile I haven’t had access to my (our? her?) book and I really doubt she’s going to want to give it back when she’s done with the class.

August 31st, 2013
8:49 PM

Altering patterns to fit my big butt and small waist! I’m at a loss!

August 31st, 2013
9:04 PM

I am an utter newbie at drafting, and was very happy to meet Connie at the Puyallup Sewing Expo, where she was doing on-the-spot fitting of blouse blocks. So I was able to take her block, make the changes she outlined, and emerge with a good fit. I have a long way to go in really understanding how to use this in making the variety of tops I would like–especially in understanding what is design ease vs. what is a change that messes up the fit.

Natasha E
August 31st, 2013
9:20 PM

Getting the crotch curve on a pair of pants right is vexxing to me. It has been suggested to measure 2″ from the bottom of the rise and make sure the measurement from the back to the front is 6-7″ to ensure that the curve is a U shape might be a solution but I’d like to know “for sure”

August 31st, 2013
9:25 PM

Currently, my biggest issue with drafting is the lack of knowledge to successfully draft! I’ve done well with patterns, some slight draping and adjusting patterns to fit the body but have yet to really learn how to draft what I am envisioning from scratch. I also have had a lack of sewing this past year or so (time constraints, moving, going back to school) and feel that a great way to get back into things would be to learn something new.

August 31st, 2013
9:26 PM

I’ve always wondered if I should be making my back facings smaller when the center back is attached to an invisible zipper (for example in a skirt)

August 31st, 2013
9:27 PM

Linings and fusings for every product type! This is rarely or ever covered in patternmaking books, although Kathleen, you have good tutorial in your book. Proper patternmaking methods for lining dresses, bodices, and pants would be awesome!

August 31st, 2013
9:49 PM

My fitting problem is fitting a large bust (cup, not circumference). I need to learn how to do that, adjusting shoulders and front length at the same time.

Patricia Sousa
August 31st, 2013
10:17 PM

So many doubts… among them: facings, especially for zipper areas and strapless foundation

August 31st, 2013
10:41 PM

Oh my! This book sounds wonderful! Drafting challenges I hope this book helps me with include sleeves, collars and facings – which have already been mentioned. In addition I hope to glean knowledge about drafting tops, skirts, and pants for me and my two daughters, each of whom has very different figure profiles. Between us we have full bust, small waists, tummies, not very defined waist, flat buttocks, prominent buttocks, broad back, square shoulders, and narrow chest/ narrow crossback (not all of those features are on the same person!).

Shelley Pleger
August 31st, 2013
11:54 PM

I’m also new to drafting from scratch, but want to learn so I can wear wovens more often ( I live in knit wear). I said from scratch because I’ve been using software, which works pretty well, but I’ve been discovering concepts like pattern balancing and manipulation. The thing is when I want to make changes I’m hoping I didn’t mess things up.
I’ve always struggled with sleeve twist, but I think this is something that would be addressed outside of the initial draft. I have outward rotation of the elbow to which I’ve only just learned a day ago, has a fix. Of course, it’d be nice to start with good sleeve to begin with.
oh wow, I just saw the pants draft for mature figures in Connie’s book preview… very interesting!

September 1st, 2013
12:13 AM

I’m a newbie and taking a sewing class. In just two classes I have learned a lot but most important is how much I don’t know. I’ve finished the first round of pattern making and revision and I’m so surprised at how small edits can dramatically change the fit of a garment. Am hoping to learn so much more.

September 1st, 2013
12:50 AM

Trousers! I am working on a trouser pattern and I am realising how rusty I am.

September 1st, 2013
1:18 AM

I was taught how to draw patterns nearly 30 years ago in the Netherlands, but never really used the skill intensively until I came to live in the Philippines where you can’t buy commercial patterns. So for a long time i would either draft my own patterns, or just adjust existing patterns I had on file. Now with patterns for the home sewer easily available as downloads, I find myself drafting less and less. However, like many home sewers I still struggle with finding a pair of pants which fit properly (never mind if they don’t fit perfectly) and after using many different commercial patterns and making all sorts of changes to them, I have come to the belief, that you just have to start with a basic sloper drafted to your measurements using the system which fits you best. So I intend to try this out with at least 5 different systems and only proceed with adjustments on the pattern that fits best. I already have basic patterns drafted according to 4 different sources from different continents and hope that this book will help me draft my 5th pattern! P.S. I have a mailing address in the US! Thank-you so much for your blog- it is always an interesting and challenging read!

September 1st, 2013
1:24 AM

I would like to draft a close fitting knit shirt, with princess seams, to use for exercise wear. I have also not been happy with the draft of raglan knit shirts that I have in my other pattern-making books, so would be interested in that.

September 1st, 2013
1:31 AM

I want to understand how facings work. Home sewing patterns just tell you to cut two pieces of the same pattern, e.g. for a waistband, but the inside one never quite fits.

September 1st, 2013
2:50 AM

I could use help with wovens and collars. This book looks more modern.

Renee in OR
September 1st, 2013
3:43 AM

I’ve made patterns for a long time, and some of them went on to become production patterns, but I am continually vexed with how things should be marked for, say, elastic placement in the middle of a garment.

September 1st, 2013
4:11 AM

I’ve become interested in designing and making 1940’s style garments. These often have a yoke at the shoulder and a gathered bodice piece that fits into it. I struggle with then drafting a well-fitting armhole and sleeve that fits. Symbols and sleeves are basically always a battle!

Lisa Blank
September 1st, 2013
4:16 AM

Even though I have the first edition, I’m interested in this latest edition, too. I think the edition of color and instructions as you’ve outlined could be helpful to me.

I struggle with understanding how to move darts around to create different effects. For instance, if a bodice pattern has a side bust dart and I want to create a bodice with gathers at the bottom of a bound scoop-neckline, do I extended the bust dart line to CF and then rotate the dart to the neckline? Is that all or do I also open up the dart and extend it down to the hem, which would add a little fullness?

September 1st, 2013
4:21 AM

I usually have trouble drafting hems when the garment seams angle in toward the bottom. I thought I understood the geometry, but my hem edges are often too wide or too narrow, causing a sloppy hem and puckering when sewn. Another newbie here, so help is enthusiastically welcome!

September 1st, 2013
4:26 AM

I teach sewing to a variety of age groups and pattern-making is right around the corner for my group of 12 year old girls! I would love a book that I can use in a step by step fashion with challenges on each and every page. This is the one!

September 1st, 2013
4:27 AM

Pants!! I want to learn to draft a good fitting woven pant!

September 1st, 2013
4:30 AM

I have been making children’s patterns for years, and am now struggling with the transition to women’s clothing, where fit is so much more controlled and specific! Am working hard to refine my skills and this book looks like it would be a huge help.

Cindy Dishmey
September 1st, 2013
4:56 AM

2 words …. Knotched-collar

September 1st, 2013
5:13 AM

I would like to e able to convert a traditional blouse collar to a stand collar.

September 1st, 2013
5:23 AM

I’m too much a beginner to have issues yet with drafting. Starting my first comprehensive patternmaking series in a few weeks!

September 1st, 2013
5:36 AM

I would like to learn to draft contemporary, non-frumpy patterns for the full busted woman who so often has to wear tops with the shoulders hanging off their frames in order to get the fit they need at the bust. I am one of those people and know there is a niche out there to serve. Thanks for the great blog and the chance to win.

September 1st, 2013
5:39 AM

I have issues with armholes. Making them big enough and not too tight or too big. I am going to be working on my pattern making skills this winter.

September 1st, 2013
5:42 AM


September 1st, 2013
5:47 AM

How can I list just one? But top of the list is linings and facings.

September 1st, 2013
6:01 AM

Like others, I would be thrilled to learn how to draft a pair of pants that actually fit me!

September 1st, 2013
6:03 AM

Trouser flies, and hopefully the differences between zipper flies and button flies. I always have trouble with spatial awareness in mentally envisioning how the draft is going to turn into the finished closure.

September 1st, 2013
6:13 AM

How can I choose just one, but the biggest issue currently is facings and linings.

Linda Slater
September 1st, 2013
6:21 AM

Flat butt!

Jill Parmer
September 1st, 2013
6:31 AM

Getting the curves of sleeve cap and armscye to match.

Liz C
September 1st, 2013
6:34 AM

My problem is probably common to beginners … when given the instruction “draw a smooth curve through points a & B, how do you determine the exact curvature? Deep, shallow?

I also have problems developing patterns for my tiny shoulders / large bust, but that’s more of a fitting issue.

Lynn W
September 1st, 2013
7:06 AM

My problem is that I have found that if I make my own patterns, the garment will actually fit my body with small shoulders and large hips. I only have a basic shift at this time, and have all kinds of ideas of how to take the basic shift that fits to new levels with different sleeves, collars, skirts and more. Then, of course, would love a great pant pattern. The book sounds amazing . . . if I don’t win, I might just have to buy it!

September 1st, 2013
7:31 AM

Yo tengo poblemas siempre con las tallas , no se me da bien ajustarlas a mi medida pues tengo mucho pecho y también mucha cintura y nunca me quedan bien los patrones comerciales

September 1st, 2013
7:38 AM

One great perk to having this book would be that it is spiral bound. There’s nothing more annoying when you want to double check something and spend more time fighting the book than you do checking out a detail. I do most of my pattern work in CAD (not a very good one, but I won’t mention the name); most of the frustration arises from that, especially the grading portion. I’d like to see more out there on notch placements after seam allowances are added, if there’s a tiny problem with that, it’s not pretty after grading. Most of my solutions come from reading Fashion Incubator… and I’m grateful!

September 1st, 2013
7:39 AM

I like the look of a lower sleeve cap (I draft for children) but am not confident about adjusting the armscye accordingly – I keep winding up with too little ease in the cap and having to tinker and tinker to get it right.

Julianne S
September 1st, 2013
7:43 AM

My personal drafting challenge: my frame (shoulders, waist, hips) is hourglass, minus the essentials up top. Not quite a pear, because of the shoulders. I’m focusing on making classic, basic blocks for myself.

Betty Morgan
September 1st, 2013
8:10 AM

As a totally non professional home sewing person everything is a problem above the waist. Drafting for skirts and pants easy but the tops blow me away. Since I have never had a class this book might fill in the missing knowledge needed.

Emmy Jay
September 1st, 2013
8:12 AM

I haven’t been drafting patterns for very long, but am increasingly drawn to it as my design ideas and the shape of my aging body seem to be beyond the scope of commercial patterns.

September 1st, 2013
8:22 AM

I studied pattern drafting for a bit and always found it to be extremely complicated. Sewing from patterns has allowed me to study the way patterns look versus the result, but I still find a lot of pattern making difficult. I would love a book with a more simplified approach to drafting patterns, as design is what I love. This book would help me learn and develop and hopefully one day create all the clothes I have in sketches all over the place!!

Thanks for the opportunity!!

September 1st, 2013
8:52 AM

I have some weak spots in my drafting. Sometimes I use the slow trial and error method.
I would love to really understand some of the drafting problems which show up.


AZ Barbara
September 1st, 2013
9:00 AM

My issue is with sleeves. My grandmother *blessed me with her large biceps and I find it a challenge to create a flattering sleeve, short and long styles, that have enough room in the upper arm.

September 1st, 2013
9:37 AM

My biggest issue with pattern drafting, is determining ease. Ease in the sleeves, ease in the bust, ease in the waist and hips. I am petite so my instinct is to make sure I make clothes that I am not swimming in, but I tend to overdo it and have a hard time gauging it.

Barb K
September 1st, 2013
9:47 AM

The book’s information on making patterns for raglan and other types of armhole/sleeve openings for people who have lost range of motion in their shoulders and can’t utilize standard smaller armhole openings would be very helpful. There is a section on mature pants drafting that probably would address some of my constant needs such as the waist bands ending almost below my bust (I’m very short in the trunk and wide elsewhere). I’m also interested in finding answers or tricks in hiding figure problems that happen with maturity such as osteoporosis.

Connie Bontje
September 1st, 2013
9:58 AM

Trousers. Jeans and leggings/skinny pants I have down pat, but I cant’ get the front of my trousers to look right no matter what I do. Sheesh. (again, Canadian with a usable US address- one of the perks of living within an hour of the border!)

September 1st, 2013
10:19 AM

Large busts. I’m experimenting with alternative dart placement.

Rachel W.
September 1st, 2013
10:49 AM

Does it count if my vexing patternmaking problem is specific to the no-dart shirt block in Jack Handford’s book? I’m on my third try drafting from it, but my shoulder length is too short to produce a proper back armscye per the Handford instructions (lines that should be crossed can’t even meet!), and my hips are so large that even with the extra ease, the shirt’s hem is 1″ smaller than my hip circumference!

I’m hoping that Crawford has a similar shirt that I can make work, despite my (apparently wonky) proportions. If not, I hope that cross-referencing another patternmaking book will show me what I’ve been doing wrong!

September 1st, 2013
11:11 AM

I am self-taught when it comes to sewing. I have many skills in this area, but I am struggling to teach myself pattern making as it applies to the people I sew for. All of the women in my family have freakishly large busts and relatively normal sized – if extremely tall – bodies. I struggle to find any information on how to address this when making patterns. Any resources (even if I have to piece together information several different sources) is helpful when it comes to learning this rather daunting skill.

September 1st, 2013
11:37 AM

My biggest issue is industrial patternmaking in general. Having learned a couture patternmaking system that works perfectly when working with made to measure garments and then changing the model of my business to a production oriented one has been really challenging. I learned to develop a basic pattern that you then fit on the person you’re making the garment to and then you literally draft the pattern in the person’s body, make the alterations needed, cut the necklines, etc. There is no need of an accurate fitting shell with lots of measurements because you can fix fit issues later. Right now I’m just working with the same blocks that have worked for me since I started and making designs with a loose fit (flared tops, etc.), but I’m afraid of making fitted designs until I develop accurate fitting shells with specific measurements with a system that responds to the anatomy of the human body. I have a lot of issues with armholes and sleeves and after reading Kathleen’s book, perfectioning my patterns has become my obsession. I want to be able to draft an accurate basic bodice and sleeve that fit well. I fortunately found a drafting system for pants that works really well for me. I want to be able to develop styles that are more fitted to the body and follow specific industry rules and standards for each kind of garment. Another topic I know very little of is lining drafting. So basically I want to learn more about:
-Accurate fitting shells
-Armholes and sleeves
-Industry standards for different silhouettes, specially for jackets

Since I make my own patterns for now, I will continue using the blocks that are working for me until I really master these areas. I wish Connie’s book can help!

September 1st, 2013
11:55 AM

I’m having a terrible time drafting a sloper for myself. I was easily able to draft for a form in school given a set of measurements, but when I try to draft one for myself, using my armstrong patternmaking textbook, it just doesn’t work. I have a large bust and a small frame. If I follow all the steps, for some reason, the draft seems impossible. I would love another method to draft a sloper for myself.

September 1st, 2013
12:09 PM

I just want a better overall understanding of the process.

September 1st, 2013
12:18 PM

I have trouble with skirts with linings and placing the zipper so it lays flat.

Kathleen Fasanella
September 1st, 2013
1:06 PM

It’s reaffirming to read the positive response to this giveaway but on the other hand, I fret that expectations are misaligned. I feel I should say something because I wouldn’t want people to run out and buy the book thinking it would solve their problems. If you do, be sure to read How we make patterns in real life.

One inappropriate expectation (I think) is reducing the number of iterations you go through to get a successful result. Obviously this has lots of wiggle room but it would be inappropriate if someone thought they could draft a pattern from the book and it would be perfect right off the bat. If there were a book that delivered that, it’d forever be a best seller. In industry, this never happens. Proving a pattern is development. It’s like developing a new recipe, you have to do it over and over to get something you like. It is rare that your first effort is perfect. But anyway, I feel that enthusiasts are setting themselves up for a fall if they expect or demand of themselves, to do something that professionals can’t when they have none of the benefits.

The other thing is that this book isn’t designed to address the needs of individuals. It is not a drafting to measure book. It is also largely not a fitting book. Those are separate themes that have been written about extensively by authors who are more attuned to this segment of the market.

In short, just because it is an “industrial strength” solution, does not mean that being “better”, it will magically resolve one’s fitting ills. It is akin to using a fire hose to put out a match. The fire hose will most definitely put out a lit match but not without incurring a lot of hassle, planning (you have to get a fire truck and hook it up to a hydrant), expense, grossly excessive waste of water etc.

Pam Parker
September 1st, 2013
1:10 PM

My most vexing problem is how to add the proper ease to patterns that I have drafted.

Catina Ferraine`
September 1st, 2013
1:16 PM

Cowls! I want to grasp this beyond just you typical neckline cowl. I would love to really get the hang (no pun intended) of cowls draping on the sides of a skirt, or maybe a shirt that would cowl one side from the underarm down to the waist but the other side smooth and flat. Sleeve cowls, cowls with pleating, cowls anywhere I have the notion to put them be they a tiny ripple or a tsunami! lol

@ Sherry re: boat neck not feeling good against the neck…. how about a subtle cowl! lol

September 1st, 2013
3:03 PM

I am vexed with drafting a no waistseam for a very busty figure (L) cup. Also figuring out how much design ease for different styles

September 1st, 2013
3:09 PM

My vexing problem is that I am a sewing book hoarder…so winning this book wouldn’t really help, but it would give me a good fix ;-)

September 1st, 2013
5:51 PM

I guess my vexing problem for me personally is that I’m a novice and would like to have a resource to help me.

But I am also interested in it for my business partner who does the design/development.

September 1st, 2013
6:16 PM

My vexing problem is my obsessiveness. I can’t read just one or two books on the subject, I want to read them all, compare them, and make sure I’m not missing anything (which is impossible, but I try!) I saw your review a while back and had been coveting the book ever since.

Amrit in SF
September 1st, 2013
6:20 PM

I do love the word “vex”.

I, too, have a similar vexing issue as some of the above posters – full figured bust versus a smaller waist. I’ve only made a few patterns in my life, but I usually misplace the all of the darts in the bust area and then end up having odd looking poofs in areas where the nipples are NOT located.

It really is vexing.

Virginia Ballenger
September 1st, 2013
6:40 PM

I have a princess seamed blouse that rides up in the front. Do I address that by curving the hem down in the center front or is the problem in the bust area?

I would like to have this pattern book to help me along in this fashion business I have nurtured since 1984. Correct patterns are the foundation upon which the styles are created and I just basically need to improve my pattern making abilities.

Patricia Hart
September 1st, 2013
7:04 PM

Like so many others, Big Girls on an otherwise moderately sized ( but petite in stature) body is mt challenge. I have conquered – finally! – how to do a reasonable FBA on simple patterns but now I am trying to tackle more complex cuts: cut-cowl necks, interesting seamed shapes and more-than-princess numbers of pattern pieces. I am hopeful that this new book would head me in the right direction.

Gina Boyce
September 1st, 2013
9:36 PM

Love to be considered for this I love learning or having another perspective of someone else’s perception Thanks for all the great advice and dedication to this site Love I have a place to come to answer all my questions! Fabulous !

Lauren Forney
September 1st, 2013
9:46 PM

Ooh, this is a good one. Kathleen, thanks for talking about the updated edition. I purchased it after our previous correspondence on the subject and have been really happy with it overall. I like the illustrations a lot. However, I quickly realized that while this served as a good reference for drafting blocks, I had no idea how to actually sew the patterns together once I had them. For this I recently purchased another of Connie’s books: A Guide to Fashion Sewing 5th edition. It just arrived this week so I haven’t really had a chance to go through the book yet, just some of the DVD. It does look like it will help fill some of the gaps in my sewing knowledge, though.

For those interested the FASANELLA coupon doesn’t work on A Guide to Fashion Sewing, but Amazon has paperback copies cheaper than the (presumably hardback) copies on Connie’s site.

Judy M
September 1st, 2013
10:01 PM

My vexing problem is that the principles behind achieving the draft of any sleeve silhouette that one may want to use is hard to come by and that general information on industrial constrution tecniques are not given when that would be helpful to understanding how to construct the complete pattern.

September 2nd, 2013
4:52 AM

I have been working to alter patterns to fit for years now. I have always been large busted for my size (5’2 and was E at 120 lbs in my younger days..Am now a G cup which is tight at 160 lbs). So fitting is a must when sewing for myself. After reading your review of the previous edition, I’m very interested in what the author says about fitting for mature figures.

September 2nd, 2013
5:23 AM

I have started my diploma of Fashion Design and Technology this year, and whilst I am absolutely loving every peice of information that I learn, I have had, from the start- terrible trouble with patternmaking. I spend hours pouring over the notes I have taken from the online campus unit notes but it is enough to dampen my spirit… But nothing will stop me altogether. I know that you asked for a particular issue regarding patternmaking and whilst I cannot think of an issue such as many of the ladies above, I would suggest my issue is a lot broader than one specific issue. I am difficulty understanding patternmaking ‘in general’, and that is because I feel I do not have an amazing book such as the one you have reviewed and mentioned above.

So, if I could ask you a question Kathleen I guess that I would LOVE for you to maybe try to explain how you initially, at the very start, began understanding the ‘concept’ of patternmaking… Did you have obstacles/learning blocks along the way? Or is it perhaps that I might never understand it.

I have never easily grasped the concept of mathematics very easily since a very early age- and I learnt fast and embarrassingly that pattern making is very much all mathematics! Could you be so kind as to perhaps suggest some learning resources either pattern making or mathematics/fraction/measurements based that might develop my brain to think differently? Or some Internet sites that I could maybe learn the basics of pattern making easier? Or at the very least comprehendable? Because that is what it is really, I find it hard to comprehend the instructions.

I do apologise if this has been annoying to read, my intention was not to dribble on or ask silly non-sensical inarticulate questions…. I think it just proves perhaps how very confused I am lol

Thank you for building and running this site- it’s been such a pleasure reading all your articles and soaking up the industry information like a sponge! Just love it!

Leslie Hanes
September 2nd, 2013
8:40 AM

Mine is such a simple problem. When I make a change to one piece, I have a tough time figuring out all the other things this one change affects. ie. you make a sleeve higher for narrower shoulders, and the sleeve needs lengthening, or whatever.

September 2nd, 2013
9:45 AM

My vexing problem in pattern drafting is most of my clients around here are in the military so I’m drafting for a segment of the population that does not have typical body proportions or needs so it’s a constant juggle to translate from the fashion industry which seems to be more geared towards childrens and womens apparel. Very thin waists and broad shoulders. There’s some decent books on the market, but many of the problems and solutions are unique and don’t translate well to other markets.

Barbara munic
September 2nd, 2013
10:18 AM

Arm scyce adjustments!

Clairee Meeks
September 2nd, 2013
11:38 AM

My problem is not one that anyone but I will be able to correct, because my problem is time! the time (and many different drafts) it takes to get a pattern to look the way is should before even trying out a muslin. Old bodies have their own set of problems, plus usually, some still there from when they were younger. Still, I am always hopeful that the newest information out will shorten the number of tries it takes for me to get it right!

September 2nd, 2013
1:53 PM

Drafting patterns for knit fabric and industry standard plackets (i.e. the button area on a men’s dress shirt).

September 2nd, 2013
2:17 PM

bust be it large or small versus circumference – obviously I want to turn it into perfect bras and bathing suits – and I need to draft the perfect basic pattern to work from

September 2nd, 2013
5:46 PM

What boggles me is shoulder fitting. How do you get a good shoulder measurement? Where are the sleeves seams supposed to hit on the ends of the shoulders? For example I made a jacket and the sleeves looked like they didn’t quite hit at the right place on the ends of the shoulders. I took in the shoulders by sewing in the sleeves 3/8 inches on the shoulders. This was probably not the right thing to do. Maybe it was a sleeve problem. I just don’t know.

September 2nd, 2013
8:24 PM

I need help implementing alterations to a pattern that I think of but I can’t quite understand how to accomplish. I think a quote from Pooh would be appropriate here: “When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you sometimes find that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out in the open and has other people looking at it.” Or as in my case, it looks very different from how I think it will look and how it actually looks after I sew it.

September 3rd, 2013
2:38 AM

I’m after a new trouser block. Bifurcation is my nemesis. The blocks I developed at Uni and the texts I can get my hands on are all wrong/old fashioned/out of step with today’s fabrications for the pear shape customer I design for. I’m open to a new way, a modern trouser – something that will work with elastane rich fabrications; mid rise, tailored on the hip, forgiving of middle age spread…really its seems like a question of crotch curves but I haven’t been able to crack it yet. And help in that regard would be much appreciated!

September 3rd, 2013
4:06 AM

I have issues every time with large busted women. Making the FBA is something that makes my hair curl every time I come across it. It’s only by trial and error (more error than most) that I hit the right fit. Help.

September 3rd, 2013
4:43 AM

I’m pretty new to patternmaking but the thing that I’m most intimidated by are sleeves, normal ones, cap sleeves, raglan, you name it. Plus, I’m a “Conny”, too, so it would be kinda cute to have a book by a namesake in the shelf. And I would totally pay international shipping for that one!

September 3rd, 2013
5:02 AM

I have been successful using and altering commercial patterns and drafting simple skirts. However, I need to understand more about the process in order to create the designs I have in my head.

September 3rd, 2013
6:07 AM

“Balancing Patterns” I hear those terms and I really don’t understand (nor do I understand why!) I occasionally hear that EVEN commercial patterns are not “balanced” too. I would like to know more about how to balance a pattern and why it is important so when I attempt to draft a pattern I will know what to do for tops and pants.

September 3rd, 2013
6:14 AM

My latest challenge is drafting pants for the changes in a maturing female figure…mine! I’ve ignored pants patterns for the longest time but now that I am retired I will wear them more frequently. Connie’s expertise through her book will be put to good use now that I have the time to learn. Thank you for this giveaway Kathleen. P.S. I live in Canada and will happily pay postage for this expertise!

September 3rd, 2013
6:43 AM

My vexing problem–pants. I don’t even know where to begin, but I wish I could make pants that fit well and flatter. Doesn’t everyone?

September 3rd, 2013
6:58 AM

For me, it’s 2 areas that I need help with – getting the sleeve cap/arm scye to match up, and the crotch areas for pants. I can figure out changes for most other parts of patterns, in order to make them my size, but these 2 areas are way more complicated. I haven’t yet tried drafting from scratch, but could use all the help I can get for altering purchased pattersn.

I’m glad you pasted some of Sew For Fun’s comments into your blog entry “how we make patterns in real life” – her blog is now by invite only. Pity – she had some great posts and tutorials.

September 3rd, 2013
7:02 AM

I am vexed simply
Transforming 3Ds to 2
Answers be revealed

Need help with narrow shoulders in relation to rib cage.

Thank you, Kathleen!

September 3rd, 2013
8:49 AM

I’m only beginning pattern drafting as well, but am driven to it because of my petite proportions which come along with a regular sized hip, as well as very little waist to hip difference. I’ve read a few drafting books and have noticed that a lot of times in describing how to draft a block, there’s little discussion as to why certain choices are made, for example the relation of bust point to armhole depth.

September 3rd, 2013
8:52 AM

I am vexed with a E cup bust I’d like to draft a pattern for a dress that fits instead of fiddling with FRANKENPATTERNS for hours.

September 3rd, 2013
8:59 AM

I would like to understand why women’s and men’s pants patterns are drafted so differently. In rtw I wear both. I’ve altered a women’s pattern to fit my flat butt/wide waist/skinny thighs. I end up with the same flat measurements but a different shape than a men’s pattern in the same size. Why?

Stephanie Jiang
September 3rd, 2013
9:56 AM

I go to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, and thoroughly enjoyed my pattern-making classes. I have tried to work on my own designs on the side, using my textbook, Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph Armstrong.

My main problem is that my textbook often make assumptions that I am not aware of as a beginner – such as how to draft zippers for pants. The first time I tried to draft a pant with zippers for men, I was completely lost. I understand that it is something completely basic within the industry, but I didn’t know the first thing about drafting zippers, and the instructions went more along the lines of “extend the center front by 2 inches, draw a curve down 7″, now trace this piece out, etc.” as opposed to explaining what each piece was used for, and how they would be sewn together.

I later figured out how the pieces worked together by tearing apart one of my older pants, but I think it would’ve been really helpful if the pattern-making instructions had included details for what each piece of the pattern was for (i.e. this is the flap, this is the cover, this is the zipper extension), as opposed to just giving instructions to make the pieces.

Another gripe of mine is that seam allowances are almost never mentioned. I know that 1/2″ for joining seams is an industrial standard, but, like the zipper case above – the zipper extension was so tiny, I wasn’t sure if the seam allowance should be 1/4″ instead of 1/2″. I wish points like this could’ve been clarified in the book.

Natasha E
September 3rd, 2013
3:11 PM

“Another gripe of mine is that seam allowances are almost never mentioned. I know that 1/2″ for joining seams is an industrial standard”

It’s not. It’s something teachers like because its easier for students to measure. When I studied at FIDM (10 years ago) our instructors taught us variable SA’s based on the needs of the pattern but with 3/8″ being the most common.

Kathleen has a post griping about 1/2″ seam allowances somewhere.

[…] know everyone has been eagerly awaiting the result from this very popular giveaway -comments are now closed as a winner has been selected. We had 98 qualified entries. There were a […]

So… how do you make facings?
September 17th, 2013
4:33 PM

[…] so and finally decided to risk looking stupid to ask about it. The reason being, many comments on Patternmaking Made Easy giveaway made reference to facings as being particularly vexing. No slight intended but until […]



The Entrepreneur's Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing

Often described as the garment industry “blue book”, the most highly rated book in the business is guaranteed to get you off to a solid start or your money back. Many service providers require you read this before they’ll work with you. Learn more »

Subscription Options

RSS Feed My Yahoo

Subscribe by email: