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How to Make Sewing Patterns [Paperback]

by Donald H. McCunn, Robin Lew
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 1, 1977 0932538002 978-0932538000 Revised
Solve the mysteries of pattern drafting with this instructional book. Simple and easy step-by-step instructions with clear understandable line drawings.

Frequently Bought Together

How to Make Sewing Patterns + The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting + Couture Sewing Techniques, Revised and Updated
Price for all three: $51.92

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Editorial Reviews


...most readable pattern drafting book... simplest line drawings possible, but executed with concise purpose. -- Whole Earth Catalog (The Epilog)

Product Details

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Feather Products; Revised edition (November 1, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0932538002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932538000
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.2 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Don McCunn wrote his first book in 1973. The current edition of this book is "How to Make Sewing Patterns" which has been continuously in print since 1977.

He is a rabid do-it-yourselfer who has explored a variety of eclectic interests including theatre, personal computers, and website design which have resulted in original shows, costumes, books, and software development. (Not to mention house repair and remodeling.)

He loves sharing his interest in patternmaking through his Yahoo Group named after his book and through his online school. He is currently involved in researching and developing additional patternmaking techniques and sharing the results through his passion for photography and videography.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
901 of 905 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ONLY Patterns-from-Scratch Book You'll Ever Need! January 8, 2005
By Barb
Other books that allegedly enable you to draft your own patterns all turn out to be either how to BUY a commercial pattern & then alter it to make other designs, or else they only enable you to make clothing for the perfectly portioned body, which few of us have. A third alternative is that some books teach you to make shapeless "sack" clothing without much style. Almost all of these books require that you have a partner to help measure yourself and later to help fit the basic patterns to your body.

THAT IS NOT THE CASE WITH MR. McCUNN'S WONDERFUL BOOK! He starts out by showing you how to measure yourself accurately without any helpers.

Then he takes you step-by-step through how to draft the basic patterns from your own measurements. He does NOT give tables of measurements for putting darts in, since the tables don't work for anyone without a "perfect" body. Instead, he explains how to custom fit the basic skirt, pants, bodice, & sleeve patterns to your own body, even if you don't have a "fitting buddy."

And if that isn't enough, he includes instructions on how to design your own clothing styles (or copy those you see in the stores) and then change your basic patterns to make those styles.

He expands on this to show how to make waistbands & cuffs, pockets & plackets, jackets & coats, and even how to make & fit a man's suit. (Yes, this book even has info on making basic patterns for MEN, not just women.)

There is also discussion of how to choose the correct fabric for your style.

As a bonus, he explains how to take your perfectly-fitted basic patterns and turn them into a "fitting dummy" that mirrors your own body perfectly!
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176 of 178 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good technical information July 22, 2006
This book is packed full of drawings so that you can visually compare them to the written content. It's very useful, just be aware that it is an older book so a lot of the styles are out of date, still the principles remain. No matter your style, the technical information is worth the purchase.
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271 of 278 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars McCunn Rocks! March 15, 2003
This book was the answer to my dilemma. I've been trying to make a pattern for my mother who is severely deformed with osteoporsis. This book answered all my questions. It's a must for anyone trying to sew for someone without "perfect" proportions.
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107 of 107 people found the following review helpful
This is one of the BEST sewing investments I've ever made!! This book is absolutely wonderful. It is soooo easy to follow!! I'm simply thrilled with what I have accomplished. I have bought so many pattern books, trying to understand how to alter the commercial patterns to fit my body--even bought those "BASIC" commercial design patterns to try to help with fit, etc...Never could get any of it to fit my body right, couldn't get the bodice to fit my stomach and breast area, couldn't get the skirt to fit the hips and thighs and on and on...but with this little treasure, I've been able to DRAFT my own BASIC pattern and it actually fits and I understand why I'm doing WHAT I'm doing. Granted, there is some study time involved, but it is relatively easy so far. If you're wanting to create patterns that fit your unique body, I would consider this a great buy. I've been sewing for years (and am self taught) and I would trade in a boatload of my other reference for this one. I'm thrilled and wonder why I've never seen it before now.

Rhonda --Atlanta, GA
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81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book is AWESOME!!! March 16, 2006
Great Book. This book takes all of the guess work out of pattern drafting. It is also very easy to follow. It teaches you how to first draft the basic patterns, then it explains how to incorporate different designs into your patterns. This is a must-have for the person who is tired of buying commercials patterns that do not fit. You will gain a better understanding of commercial pattern design and how to alter them by reading this book.
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86 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Accessible. Well worth it. January 3, 2007
I must have fifteen books on pattern making- I'm a fashion design student who is trying to make it through pattern drafting! Honestly, this is the only book I ever use. I take it to class and all of my classmates ask me where I got it, because it helps them as well. If you need a book that is extremely down to earth in it's approach, then this is for you. I applaud Donald McCunn for knowing that when you're doing something like pattern drafting, you want a book that is going to remind you how to do basic stuff like take measurements. Also- plenty of pictures (even though they're black and white, they are easy to see.) I love this book!
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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive and not particularly difficult December 29, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wow, I'm impressed. I've been sewing since I was about eight--I won't tell you how long ago that was!--and even got into designing my own clothing as a teenager. Because of this experience I was already aware of the degree to which one can combine patterns or redesign parts of them to suit one's own design ideas. What I had not learned already was the wonderful principles of measurement--especially self measurement--provided by the author or of the methods by which a pattern piece could be altered easily and more precisely.

The chapters on altering patterns for the bodice and sleeves of blouses or of skirt darts and drapes, etc. were amazing and so easy. The word descriptions sometimes get a little confusing, but a quick look at the illustrations makes any issues clearer immediately.

I felt that the explanations especially of fitting the garment to the figure of the wearer were very informative and helpful--they were definitely worth the price of the book. Little that I had learned previously prepared me as well as this book did for fixing design flaws. One still has to recognize what looks well on the individual for whom the apparel is designed, but at last no one is expected to diet down to the figure of a hat-rack with a head to wear a nicely designed and fitted garment.

Those who like to buy commercially made clothing might also appreciate the information on tailoring garments to the figure, since from these instructions, problems areas in fitting might also be corrected with a little additional work.

One of the more interesting facets of the book is the set of instructions for putting together a posterboard designer's model for fitting clothing without the wearer's presence. The stiff material of the paper model of a blouse or dress, sans bust, is made from a pattern, and a padded bra placed over it to help with fitting. Ingeneous and very inexpensive!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative
This booklet filled in the blanks with information for pattern making that I did not have. The illustrations were very useful.
Published 7 days ago by Linda Wheaton
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful & informative.
The only thing stoppping this book from being 5 stars is the lack of the modern multimedia content, but otherwise an excellent book.
Published 9 days ago by Panda
5.0 out of 5 stars You made that pattern!
Simple yet incredible powerful.

The simple techniques for making bodices in this book make you an expert in no time. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Rhys Tague
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good option
If you are looking for an informative,well organised publication on pattern making then this is a great book for the home sewer.
Published 18 days ago by Mrs. Adele L. McFarlane
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book for learning how to make sewing patterns
I have been looking for this book since I was a college student in the 70's. This book was used as a textbook for the fashion design program at my school. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Andrea Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars An Awesome Resource
I have been wanting to make my own patterns for years but didn't know where to start. This book is a great resource--it teaches you how to make your own sloper, and then... Read more
Published 1 month ago by KB
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Exactly What It Says On The Tin
Maybe I'm an idiot. It's entirely possible I got the impression that this book was going to teach me the basics of flat-pattern making. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rabid Reader
3.0 out of 5 stars Really helpful
I like the idea of being able to find and apply the secrets of the pros. I found out that as suspected, the differences between sewing pattern sizes are standard and rather... Read more
Published 4 months ago by K Consumer
5.0 out of 5 stars get it if you want to sew
you cannot go wrong with this one. this is my go to book for all reference. I love that it has covered everything that you can possibly need. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Adil
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile Book
I have been sewing for 50 yrs and just lately decided to make my own patterns. It isn't so hard at all. I feel this book is better than others I have had. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Alta L. Hanlon
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Topic From this Discussion
Does this show how to make different sizes from one pattern?
Mar 19, 2014 by Rabid Reader |  See all 2 posts
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