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Pattern Magic Paperback – October 6, 2010
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About the Author
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Once you get beyond the basics of creating patterns that fit, commonly called slopers, what do you do with them? Most designs I see on the street, in catalogs, and in the stores are so easy to execute that the design process is not challenging at all.
But there are a few designs that have me scratching my head thinking "How did they do that?" I have taken to calling them "Pattern Puzzles." This book is full of these designs. Each one is uniquely different but beautifully illustrated and explained in anywhere from one to three page spreads. Tomoko never takes more than three pages of illustrations to show how to make even the most complex and unusual design from a fitted sloper.
I am pleased to see her using the front bodice sloper for women that I now use in my online patternmaking classes. It has one dart for the bust to the waist and one to the armscye (arm hole). In my experience this configuration for the darts provides the optimum way of achieving an accurate custom fit. I also believe it is the best sloper for visualizing how to create the lines of original designs so you can convert from a two dimensional form to a three dimensional one.
She uses a technique for evaluating pattern shapes that I have found invaluable in my teaching which is to prototype design ideas in paper so you can assemble the shape before you even touch needle and thread.
Tomoko also shares another passion of mine for developing design ideas using dress forms in scale. All the photos in this book are of the designs on a half scale manikin.
Caveat #1: These designs are unusual. If you are looking for the conventional, this is not for you. But if you step beyond "I wouldn't want to wear that" and move on to "What can I learn from this pattern design technique," I believe you will increase your pattern design skills exponentially.
Caveat #2: There are no sewing instructions. I would recommend when you try these ideas out you do what Tomoko does and try them in scale first. If you don't have a scale dress form, fashion dolls such as the ones Tomoko works with are an excellent medium to experiment with.
Bravo Tomoko--I can hardly wait until your volume 2 is translated into English. Although your illustrations are so clear, I am almost tempted to get the Japanese edition.
Author of How to Make Sewing Patterns
This book assumes a basic level of pattern-making skill (the stronger your skills the easier it will be to re-create these designs). You can use your own slopers (or blocks) to try out the techniques shown or you can copy the half-scale slopers (front and back bodice pieces) that are included at the back of the book, allowing you to start practicing the examples immediately. Note: the measurements given throughout the book are in centimeters (cm.) so those of use who are used to working in inches have some converting to do!
The sketches (lots of them!) for each style/pattern show each of the major steps very clearly and the book includes many photos (all very clear and lots of close-ups which are helpful in understanding the shapes and steps involved). The author uses paper to mock-up many of the concepts then cuts them apart to create the patterns -- think of draping, but with paper instead of muslin! (The author doesn't mention the need to add seam allowances to the patterns created from cutting apart these paper mock-ups -- you will just need to know that it's necessary and how to do it.)
I imagine that anyone with some background or experience with pattern-making or draping will thoroughly enjoy the projects shown in this book (even if you don't make them, just reading about some of the ideas will be enjoyable). This book was definitely worth the price. In fact, I'm going to purchase both of the other Pattern Magic books (volume 2 and volume 3) by this author.