On reviewing pattern books

Posted by Kathleen Fasanella on Mar 17, 2006 at 3:32 pm / Patterns, Product Reviews, Rants, Sewing / Trackback

I am trying to write a review of Patternmaking Made Easy by Connie Crawford. The book is hardcover spiral bound with 437 pages ($95.00). The long and short of it is that I prefer this book to Armstrong’s and Connie has generously offered a 20% discount to all of my visitors so be sure to use my name to get the discount ($19.00). You can mail, fax or telephone your order. I do not earn a commission on sales.

Anyway, in writing the review, I realized I had to list the things I look for as a point of comparison because I judge these books differently from most people. Then I realized I also had to write up what most (if not all) books are lacking. Accordingly, as you read this, my views are written in the context of applicability in a commercial environment. For the most part, I also think home sewers should weigh these opinions more heavily (as appropriate). The review of Crawford’s book as compared to Armstrong (which seems to be the favorite) will follow these points.


Beyond spot checking for obvious and basic concepts such as dart manipulation, slashing and spreading, adding fullness with tucks and darts, I really don’t look at those sections, much less test them out. Most -and I do mean most- pattern books get all of the basic concepts right. If you just want the basics, nearly any book will do. In those cases I weigh book quality according to the design of the instruction. Are the pages clear and concise? Are the concepts well illustrated? Is there a lot of copy? The more illustrations, the better. What does the book cost (what value does it represent)? Some people like a book just because the illustrations and the styles depicted are prettier but that’s a goofy ruler to use to measure a book’s quality.

Now, a strength of Crawford’s book is the instructional layout. The pages are laid out well. Continuity between frames is clear. In the basic skills section, each concept has it’s own page. You can see it all on one page so you don’t need to flip pages. The instruction is succinct yet complete. In other words, she hasn’t sacrificed detail at the expense of instruction. I don’t like many of the drafts in the Armstrong book, I can’t figure out what she’s doing. You shouldn’t have to read it to figure it out. The instruction should be visually apparent. You’re in drafting mode not reading mode and it should readily translate as you work, reflecting the example in front of you. That’s a strength. Crawford’s book is a hardcover spiral bound book. Just looking at it, you’ll intuitively know this was the most expensive binding to be had. It was worth it. It’s easier to use and lies flat. It also has a complete index (Armstrong doesn’t).

In summary, if you wanted a basic book for pattern drafting, Crawford’s is a good choice considering the binding and instructional design. As I said, most books get the basic concepts right so these two factors may weigh the most heavily for the average user. That’s not to say those are the only benefits to the book. She did have a section I’ve never seen in a drafting book, that of designing patterns for older people. As I’ve said repeatedly, manufacturers will have to start designing styles for mature figures. Baby boomers are aging so the pull of this market will increasingly demand appropriately fitted apparel.

Rather than testing the instruction of basic concepts since everybody gets that right, I spot check to see how detailed the book is (how many levels deep). The post from the other day is a good example. If a book flat out says your button stand is 1″ but doesn’t explain why, that’s a bad sign, too narrow. A better book would explain the width of the stand is commensurate to the button size (both Crawford and Armstrong do this).

Some things I check for:
I usually don’t check the drafts for sportswear because it is so basic that CAD systems can spit those out readily. I tend to look at the more complicated products like sportcoats that require higher level skills. If they get that stuff right, the lower level stuff is usually okay too. When I check a sportcoat, the first thing I look at is the collar. Does the book explain the correct way to draft collars, specifically the top and undercollars? Has the book included instruction regarding the concept of “turn of cloth” or bend allowance? Most books get these last two things wrong. They do the old add an 1/8th to the outside edge of the top collar (blending to zero at the ends) thing. I have never seen that done in a commercial environment; it doesn’t work well, we do it another way that the books don’t show. None of the books say anything about adding extra for turn of cloth.

The biggest issue with sportcoat collars though is how are they shaped? In most pattern books -and I do mean most, particularly the newer ones- the collar shape for a sportcoat is off by a lot. I tried for years to get my collars to fit the shapes of the ones you see in books. Here is an example from the Armstrong book, the collar is too straight and it will never lay right:

Below is a collar from the Crawford book. This is much closer to what real sportcoat collars look like. In real life, these pieces are curvier, not straight, although the undercollar should be in two pieces, not one, split at the CB neck.

Another thing I look at is the making of interfacing pattern pieces. Many books also get this wrong and it’s just so irritating. Maybe they give it a fast pass because it’s boring (and it is) but in a commercial environment, this is something you’ll be doing everyday so you should learn to do it right. For example, most of the pattern books get the interfacing of hems wrong. Either they show the interfacing ending right on the fold line (!) or they don’t interface the hem at all. Listen up folks, the inside hem of a jacket needs fusible. That hem will get a lot more wear because it’s rubbing against the body all day long. It needs to be fused. Below is a scan of the interfacing pieces from Armstrong (look at the body, off to the left). Note that the hems are not fused:

For comparison, here’s a scan of the interfaced hems of the Crawford book:

Another thing I don’t like about drafting books (in general) is that they don’t provide any sewing instruction. Or, very little. The Crawford book shows some of that with regard to the sportcoat and what she shows is mostly sound although she shows a work around for that facing, hem and lining juncture that I showed how to correct in the nameless tutorial series. I think pattern books should show more sewing.

Speaking of things I don’t like about pattern books, the first thing can’t be helped, it’s nobody’s fault or oversight. Instructional design necessarily reflects the basics but it doesn’t go beyond that to address the needs of more advanced students or commercial users. For one thing, all the instruction is shown using slopers (patterns without seam allowance). We don’t make patterns like this in real life (we do it like this). Nobody uses slopers, we use blocks (enthusiasts have co-opted the term to mean a basic fitting shell). It’s hard to illustrate drafting with the seam allowance in place so for the sake of expediency, they show you without allowance but this practice really changes the nature of the beast. You need to learn pattern manipulation skills from patterns that already have seam allowance. It’s a more advanced skill but you need to learn it that way because you’ll rarely make patterns any other way. Likewise, if you do any draping at all, it’ll be the occasional flounce or collar. We rarely drape either. We rarely use dress forms too. Very few companies have decent custom made dress forms that are shaped like people so we don’t use them because the styles don’t look the same using the standard dress form. Any respectable manufacturer will fit test styles on a live model rather than a dress form. Most patterns -in real life- are made via flat pattern making skills using patterns with seam allowance. I realize these books are used for first year students and it’s good that everyone is oriented to basic practices but in real life, these methods are often unwieldy and time consuming. My complaint is that pattern books don’t place enough weight on production pattern skills for advanced students (those intending to become pattern makers rather than designers) so it’s very hard to recommend a book appropriate for commercial users because books are not designed for them.

Here are things the books usually get wrong (for the purposes of a commercial environment), or omit entirely:

  • Sleeve cap ease
  • Ease over the bust in the side front princess panel
  • Linings for sportcoats and coats
  • Welt pockets
  • Many if not most plackets
  • Interfacing pattern pieces
  • Notches
  • Zippers
  • Guides and jigs
  • Collars (top collar outside edge).
  • Any treatment, seam or feature that will be rendered with automated equipment (standard seam classes and specifications)
  • Pattern room and style management standards
  • Explain professional practices, expectations and standards of competency.

Some things -like notches- amount to pet peeves in the workplace. Beginning pattern makers put too many notches on things, breeding them like some kind of a communicable disease or something. Or maybe warts. Armstrong loves notches. If your pieces are made correctly, they don’t need that many notches. If the patterns are crappy, sure, you’ll need to ease them in from notch to notch.

None of them say one word about guides, what they are, why you need them and how to make them.

I have never seen a book that got designing patterns for zipper closures correctly. Armstrong doesn’t mention zippers at all. Nobody ever mentions the facings must be cut shorter on the zipper side either. Perhaps you’ll now understand why I did a whole tutorial on the topic.

Very few books even mention walking your pattern to make sure all the pieces match. This is a mandatory practice! This is something you’ll do every single day. It’s amazing to me that book writers spend a lot of paper and ink explaining things you’ll rarely if ever do but spend no page count explaining the things you’ll need to do daily. Bizarre. Crawford’s book does a nice illustration of walking a sleeve but this is one thing that is generally ignored in most books.

Some people judge the quality of a pattern book based on the sizing tables assuming that the book is “better” if the measurements for the sizes listed match either their preference (judgment can be very subjective) or is the most current standard. This is silly. The book quality does not depend on modern sizing charts. If that were true, that would mean that most of the vintage pattern books would be judged inadequate and that’s just not true. Some of the older books are better regardless of the reflected sizing. Sizing evolves, the book isn’t bad just because it’s basic size does not fit you personally.

Another pet peeve is teaching students to draft the basic fitting shells from measurements. I guarantee that in real life, you’ll never need to draft a basic bodice from measurements. Once you leave school, you’ll never do it again. I almost suspect that the practice of teaching students to draft the bodice from scratch is a rite of passage. Or, it could be that authors include it because all of the pattern books always contain the instruction, so they should too but it’s largely useless. You won’t ever do it again in a commercial environment.

Another omission from pattern making books is the topic of pattern room management. What are style numbers? What are PN numbers? How do you use them properly? What is a direction card/pattern record card/cutter’s must and why do you need to make them? Where is the tracking and paper work that follows a style in the process from sketch to approved sample? Another thing I don’t like is that books usually wave off a lot of stuff saying the “production pattern maker will do it” but honey, in most companies -and I do mean most- there is no such thing as a first pattern maker. One pattern maker does it all, first through production. There’s no genie in the wings waiting to catch your goofs. A company only wants a pattern maker who can do it all start to finish and they never tell you this in books.

Regarding the widespread use of standardized classes of seams, books fail to mention you’ll need to make patterns specific to automated equipment. Books don’t provide the parameters nor seam classes nor specifications. If this stuff is in apparel management books, it darn well should be in the pattern books too. How else can you draft for it?

On an unrelated note, Connie and I had a long discussion about the “experts” in the home sewing side of things. Neither of us understand how they can continue to perpetuate the myths they do. It’s got to be a personality thing or a marketing thing. In manufacturing, we’ve never heard of these people. None of them. There is no such thing as a sewing expert in the apparel industry. Every plant has their own sewing expert on staff. They’re called “pattern makers”. I just wish pattern making books did a better job of educating them from the outset.

Lastly, if you’re shopping on price, Handford’s drafting book is an incredible value (less than $40 new). It’s not pretty, it’s not fancy, it’s not popular but it is solid. You could spend three times as much and not get nearly as much in recompense. I rarely use a pattern book, maybe once a year. If I do, this is the first book I check and I’ve spent thousands of dollars on pattern books.

Related:
How we make patterns in real life

32 Responses to “On reviewing pattern books”

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Karen
March 17th, 2006
5:06 PM

Kathleen,

I’m a wee bit confused. Is the reason you would never have to draft a bodice from measurements because you would have a library of blocks? Don’t we DEs need to start from measurements to get our blocks? I know you probably addressed this in your book (which I have read–twice), but I’m drawing a blank right now.

Jess
March 17th, 2006
8:30 PM

Is there a menswear section in the book?

LeAnna
March 18th, 2006
12:58 AM

I was going to ask the same thing as Karen. Where do new DE’s get there blocks if they don’t draft the first one themselves. Do you take it from a garment that you already know fits well?

Esther
March 18th, 2006
7:39 AM

Does she have a children’s section?

I agree with most of what Kathleen has said about the training students receive and the real world. I very rarely remove seam allowances during patternmaking. I learned how to walk all of my pieces, practical grading, etc., all on the job.

Since I do children’s clothing, forms are a practical necessity. Children are impatient, move and wriggle. Trying to drape and fit can be nearly impossible. Most things are done flat, tweaked on a form and quick fittings on a real child later.

I have never had to draft blocks from scratch in the real world – the companies already had them. But understanding how a block is made is important. I don’t know how many times I have had to re-make my blocks for a private label program. This kind of job is like startig over from scratch. I save myself a little time by starting with my blocks. But by the time I am done with it, you can hardly see the relation. There is a lot of disparity on what measurements are correct. Some of the big box retailers have some pretty interesting ideas – and I finally understood why their clothing doesn’t always look right hanging in the store.

There are many, many things I have learned on the job and not in school. I know I don’t spec everything correctly. My patterns are not always perfect. I agree that additional training in production patternmaking/grading and technical design should be required for design students. I wish there was continuing education and collaboration among professionals.

Victoria Lee
March 18th, 2006
9:42 AM

What pattern making book do you recommed? I have basic knowledge of patternmaking and am looking for something intermediate to advanced.

Gigi
March 18th, 2006
9:43 AM

Thank you, Kathleen! I have been on the fence about whether to order Connie’s book. You have convinced me that I need it. The discount is icing on the cake!

Lisa
March 18th, 2006
1:22 PM

Hmmm…I’d better get this book. Two days ago I drafted my first collar using Handford’s book and was so proud of myself, but it looks very similar to the Armstrong collar. Oh well.

Jess
March 19th, 2006
12:27 PM

Karen, LeAnna,
I was wondering the same thing. If you don’t have basic blocks that make the foundation of what your about fit wise, then what are you?

I’ve been working on basic blocks for pants again this weekend and I’m actually feeling really confident about them and I had some aha moments so don’t tell me I was wasting my time, hehe.

Lisa
March 20th, 2006
6:42 AM

Kathleen, I’m thinking about collar shape now. I checked my closet and found two jackets with collars made from patterns similar to the Armstrong one. I don’t notice anything particularly bad about how they are laying. Would you elaborate on what’s bad about this collar shape and how it would look different when worn as compared to the Crawford-shaped collar?

Kathleen
March 20th, 2006
8:17 AM

I checked my closet and found two jackets with collars made from patterns similar to the Armstrong one. I don’t notice anything particularly bad about how they are laying. Would you elaborate on what’s bad about this collar shape and how it would look different when worn as compared to the Crawford-shaped collar?

We may be looking at two different things. I’d have to see the garments you describe. It’s nearly impossible to see the degree of curvature in a collar that’s already been melded to the neckline. Similarly, the pull of the neckline may have morphed the collar to fit. The real shape of the collar could really only be determined through deconstruction. Likewise, we may not agree as to how well the neckline suits the jacket and how well the collar is seated there.

Lisa
March 20th, 2006
11:00 AM

I made both jackets myself and pulled the collar pieces out of storage to take a look, so I was able to confirm that they both look very similar to the Armstrong example. I guess I was trying to learn more about what to look for in jacket collars and necklines.

Kathleen
March 20th, 2006
11:57 AM

I made both jackets myself and pulled the collar pieces out of storage to take a look, so I was able to confirm that they both look very similar to the Armstrong example.

You know, this would make for a really interesting tutorial but I don’t think it’d ever get done due to complexity. For one, I’d still want to compare shapes because we may not be talking about the same thing. The differences I refer to is what amounts to the pitch and depth of the centerback of the collar and (not shown) the same on the cb neck of the jacket itself.

The straighter collars require a greater pull back on the CF (where is the roll line?) and they just seem to lay back farther, pulling the lapels with them (cf lapels trimmed to match accordingly), kind of onto the shoulder area rather than rolling around the neck. If the collars are deeper (curvier), the notch rolls around to the front, rolling/shaping against the neck. It’s hard to explain but the summary is that correcting that collar involves recutting the entire front.

I think I know what you’re talking about even if I can’t describe it well. I’ve noticed the straighter collars in home patterns too. The “test” of that can often amount to the pulling apart -more broadly than it should of the jacket lapels during normal wear- of the distance between the two roll lines on each side of the jacket. I mean, does the jacket gape inordinately above the button? Does it look like it’s falling back, as tho moving off the body backward? Do you have to keep pulling the lapels of the jacket forward (and so, close the v-shaped gap between lapels)? I see this problem a lot. Most people think the front is too small (and it is, trimmed to match straight collar) but never think to tie it to the collar and cb depth itself.

Lisa
March 21st, 2006
4:35 AM

Kathleen, I just want to say “thank you” for opening up a whole new world to me! I took another look at the two jackets and the two collar patterns and discovered some very interesting (to me) things.

I evaluated the jackets much more critically, keeping in mind what you mentioned about pitch and depth at CB. Now, I am a home sewer and just beginning to learn to make my own patterns, so I may not have interpreted pitch and depth as you meant them, but here’s what I found.

One jacket has a roll line that starts at the bust. The collar pattern for this jacket is very straight. The collar does not cover the neckline seam at CB. I never noticed this before! Also, while the pitch looks okay, it could be improved.

The other jacket has a roll line starting at the waist. The collar pattern is actually somewhat curved, not as much as the Crawford example above, but still, there is a definite curve to it. I had simply held it in the wrong direction the first time I looked at it. Stupid me. What I noticed when wearing this jacket is that the collar hugged my neck and seemed to mold to my neck at CB. The collar also covered the neckline seam beautifully.

Now, I don’t know how to cut a center front properly to match a curved collar, but I’m hoping to do more comparisons once the Crawford book arrives in my mailbox. I’ve started reading the archives here, and yesterday I read about how does one know what one doesn’t know yet. Well, here’s an area that I now realize I know very little and can’t wait to learn more. Thank you!

Marilynn
March 21st, 2006
7:15 AM

No menswear or children in the book. It covers the basic principles and also gives quite a few “fixes” for problems (like how to correct a gaping surplice neckline). Her book on draping covers the basics on bustier construction and her book on sewing covers many factory techniques with easy to understand line drawings.

Bobbie
August 16th, 2006
10:22 AM

I happened on your site when I Googled Patternmaking books and got to your review of Connie Crawford’s book, which was very helpful. I could not help but read on to other postings and I have a question. It may be like asking, “How do I build a space shuttle?” but what are blocks and how do I make or get them. Judging from the postings, I am guessing it is not so straight forward an issue, but if you you direct me where to look. As you have already guessed, I am a home sewer. I have wanted to make my own patterns and would like to know more about it.

I have long considered sewing for profit and lately decided to put a plan together. I feel
lucky to have found your website.

Kathleen
August 16th, 2006
10:38 AM

Hi Bobbie
I have written about what blocks are but it’s usually been buried within the context of other entries so I probably should just do one as a glossary definition, particularly as I see that some comments in this section ask the same question. Also, I wrote extensively about them in my book and I try not to duplicate information btwn the blog and the book. Each compliments but does not replace the other.
There are several entries on the blog that may be helpful. Please note you’ll have to follow the internal links within each post for still more information.
Start with how blocks work. Also see What is Kaizen? and lastly, see PN Numbers
I realize it may be frustrating to have to follow all of these links to find what you’re looking for but that is the nature of blogs. Books have the advantage over blogs in that respect. Blogs are free but you have to hunt around to find it.

anonymous
November 9th, 2006
10:34 AM

I am taking a flat pattern course at a local community college (have had custom clothes made all my life) but never sewed until now. My pet peeve is that we work from a standard block that we manipulate or draft accessory pieces for and never actually discuss block engineering or draft a standard block.

I am also taking an additional course on drafting a custom block and don’t believe it is what the basic flat pattern course needs to do. I am also aware that pattern makers/ designers in the industry will not need to draft a block at all.

However, the process of drafting a block is the fundamental step to anyone understanding how/ why a flat pattern fits a 3-dimensional body. It may be as relevant to have beginner students engage in an exercise on the first day of class to draft patterns to fit various objects – a ball, a chopping block, a cone or box. It doesn’t have to be a person/ body form etc. though it would likely be more relevant if it is. But to skip this process altogether leaves most students missing the critical step between their pattern and “fit”. Your entire post above about the problem with the collar in Armstrong’s book strengthens my conviction about the mediocre quality of these pattern making books because the authors don’t understand engineering/ geometry or the link between flat patterns and 3-D bodies. Armstrong doesn’t fully understand how curves relate to the 3-D body and therefore cannot draft for it. Of course, if she sewed up a sample and noticed the problem with the drape/ pull of the bodice – she should have corrected her pattern/ thought harder about the collar curve.

Relatedly, see the basic British pattern making books (Winifred M. Aldrich and Natalie Bray among others) that focus on drafting basic sloper drafts (for RTW – not custom) and only then have students worry about manipulating these blocks.

Sue
November 21st, 2006
8:21 AM

Kathleen,

Reading your blog becomes more fascinating every day :-)

Manufacturers and home dressmakers have entirely different goals, hence the development of different ways and means to a superficially similar result (i.e., a fashionable and wearable garment or household item). I think that most home sewing “experts” evolved through the old Home-Economics-courses approach to sewing. They are geared to commercial sewing patterns because that is what they know. Like the average home dressmaker, they probably have had no exposure to garment manufacturing. Individual home dressmakers usually make one-offs, not multiples of one particular size or style (at least, not all at one time). Since the Home Ec industry has always been heavily supported by the large home sewing pattern companies, it makes sense that the companies would support, in turn, those who endorse their products. Since home or “hobby” dressmakers (an old-fashioned, but much more charming, term than “sewers”), purchase McCall’s, Simplicity, Kwik Sew, et al, patterns, no “expert” is going to promote the idea that one can derive many style variations from a few tried and true basic patterns (Nancy Erickson is a glowing exception), nor are they likely to teach pattern manipulation beyond what is necessary to adjust the industry’s commercial patterns for minor body variations.

Gretchen
December 2nd, 2006
11:54 PM

This may spark a whole new discussion – but – I am a beginning “sewer”, but have a degree in theater, where I watched the costumers whip up their creations(on a dress form) daily. And since anything out of a McCalls or Simplicity envelope ends up two sizes too small or funny shaped when I try to wear it, I have talked my husband into buying me a dress form (thinking it would help me make better fitting clothes). I have never taken a fashion or textile course (in college) and don’t even now what a block is or how to manipulate one. If I am just going for the basics of better “home sewing” should I drape and create on the dress form, or should I look into pattern making from a block? (Or would I just be getting in over my head?)

I realize I’m talking to the converted, since most everyone knows about blocks. I just want to be able to use the dress form and the patterns to the best of their ability, and get a new piece to add to my wardrobe every once in a while! Thanks!

J C Sprowls
December 3rd, 2006
3:17 PM

Gretchen,

I do recommend that you get a dressform – especially the Uniquely You model. They can be found for about $120 (try Atlanta Thread) and can be customized to your body’s shape. Most basic “home sewing” models by Dritz are more expensive and will never replicate your identical shape. And, the commercial models, well… they belong in design shops – they’re too generic for your purposes.

You can create your own personal block from a commercial pattern, you need to make pattern alterations. The easiest method of getting that first cut is to pin-fit the tissue to your body, then cut a sample garment for final fitting.

If you build your pattern library to include the basic shells (i.e. skirt, trouser, bodice, etc) and make them well-fitted, you’re halfway there. Then, I’d recommend adding 1 book to your library: “Designing Apparel through the Flat Pattern”. I don’t particularly love this book; but, it does provide a good foundation on how to pivot, slide, and slash a basic bodice into other styles.

Gretchen
December 4th, 2006
10:29 PM

Thanks for the advice!

Once Christmas gets here, and I actually get my dress form, I’ll look into getting the book too, and try my hand at some creative sewing!

Passion
December 16th, 2006
8:49 PM

Greetings;

I have the skill of patternmaking and I was wondering about maybe advertising and making patterns as a business. Now, I just don’t know how to charge for this, or how companys order these things. Do they order one size, many patterns at diffrent sizes, more then one pattern size at a time. What do most pattern design companys do? How do they charge. I am interested in working more on an individual bases or with small companys. Can you help me???

Dr Rekha Sharma
December 27th, 2007
1:34 PM

Thank you for comprehensive review of Connie’s book. I have ordered it on Connie’s URL

vontinka
December 27th, 2008
12:38 PM

Kathleen,

This review was very helpful. I really like the way you break things down to bare-bones in order to give a concise and fair comparison, and how you choose certain sections to focus on due to their complexity- a sort of test. I am elated to hear that in the industry one will most likely never draft a block from measurements. I was really wondering how often that lengthy process was used. Also I was peeved that the illustrations showed a pattern without seam allowances. I have never taken a class in pattern making, but every time I change a pattern weather it is one I have made (my own self taught way) or from a draft, I always have a seam allowance. What a waste of paper to have to retrace a block just to add seam allowance! I am going to try Crawford’s book now. I am looking forward to better instruction, and to the section on pattern-working for the elderly. I too think that is an important endeavor.

john
January 2nd, 2009
8:12 AM

Kathleen,
I am ready for your pattern making book to be published. I am dying to start leaning pattern making. Now after reading this review I am afraid I don’t know where to start. I don’t want to start out learning one way, only to find out later that it is wrong. I wish you would publish a pattern making book for real world manufacturing purposes. I would definitely pay for that, especially since your other book is so helpful. How do I approach these books you have discussed. Do I use them for learning the basics? Your review makes me weary of all patern making books.
Please publish a pattern making book that addresses all of the shortcoming of the other books. If you don’t want the formal hassle of publishing a book, how about an informal pdf we can pay for and download.
Thanks for all you do.

Design Paralysis pt.2
July 20th, 2009
10:46 AM

[…] to seeing (I’m not thrilled about my latest acquisition). I’ve been recommending her drafting book for some time now. She asked me to tell you to get the discount by mentioning it; it’s not on […]

Jessica
June 25th, 2010
11:10 PM

Hi Kathleen,

It would be so awesome if you came out with a sewing and patternmaking book!

Annik Van Steen
October 16th, 2010
2:52 PM

I seriously have to disagree on one thing: everyone in Europe (and I think so do Australia and Japan) uses patterns without seam allowance, we just add seam allowance on the fabric. Burda advices such and it is the practice at the (Haute) Couture houses.

I did recently buy a few patterns with seam allowance (clearance at a shop that meanwhile closed), and it is alloying, here 3/8in, here 1/4in, and there 5/8in. It’s crazy, especially since I do all seams with a serger.

[…] in mind how I review drafting books, I’ve done pretty much the same with this one in that I review basic techniques, verbiage etc […]

Seth Meyerink-Griffin
December 30th, 2010
5:58 PM

This may sound dumb, but…
If you are trying to create a new style, how does one arrive at that new style without a fitted block, draping it or drafting to measurements?
As a for-instance, I made a shirt a few weeks ago that combined jersey and woven panels. I draped the basic shape for the torso and collar (I don’t like the way that drafted stand collars work when I use Armstrong’s book), transferred to paper, walked my seam lines, drafted in the additional details and sleeves, added seam allowance and then cut/sewed a tester to check fit.
How [i]should[/i] I be doing it?
Please bear in mind that I’m a new grad, no industry experience (and little possibility of getting it in Chicago), and this was the only way I was taught how to do it. I would love to be able to save myself the time…

Review: Patternmaking by Dennic Chunman Lo
December 2nd, 2011
5:06 PM

[…] Another thing you should be aware of is that this book was written by a professor in the UK so there are regional differences. For example, the standards for color coding are different. Additionally, the one review written on Amazon mentions that the drafts were created in metric and converted to imperial measures. The reviewer says that not all the measures were converted accurately so to stave off  frustration or discouragement, you might consider drafting in metric. In case you wonder, I haven’t drafted any styles from the book, that’s not how I review them. […]

[…] This one is relatively inexpensive ($40 list) and represents good value. Oh, before I forget, how I review patternmaking books may be helpful […]

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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 »

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