Release of Pattern Design: Fundamentals

It is done and live everywhere! Pattern Design: Fundamentals is here!

It has been a labor of love and I have finally given birth to my book, 5 years in the making. I feel like I can take a deep breath now, you know, before I start the next book in this series.

But before I can do that, I have many other projects to finish, including a fashion illustration book I’ve been working on with a colleague from California. It is in its editing stage right now, but I’ll post about that project separately. I also have plans to release a new sports bra and re-release the California Dreaming bra with some tweaks and adjustments.

In the meantime, let me revel in my current COMPLETED PROJECT, Pattern Design: Fundamentals. I formatted the book for eReaders and made the book available in a variety of formats, to accommodate a variety of learning styles and price points. I believe I also set the kindle to be free (only on, not international sites) if you buy the black & white book on Amazon (if I set it up right – make sure to tell me if it doesn’t do that).

Kindle and All eReaders: $9.95
PDF Download: 19.95
Paperback B&W Interior images: 29.95
Spiral Bound Color Interior images: 49.95

I hope you enjoy the fruits of my labor. I developed this book in conjunction with a few courses I created when I had my nonprofit design school. I also created half-scale slopers and half-scale curved rulers for use with the course/book. These forms are the same specs as the book (with the exception of the sleeve – I goofed on the specs for the plastic one).

I know that not everyone is a book learner so if you enjoy hand holding while learning to draft, I will be offering this book in an online course format soon. If you ever wonder when I sleep, that’s a good question. Sometimes I wonder too.

I am working on building the coursework for learning through online classes. I plan to release my first classes sometime in November, but I have a few other things I need to complete prior to that, so in actuality, it may not happen until the end of the year. Subscribe to this blog to be updated on all future projects.

Until my next update, I think I need some minions…….

Pattern Drafting Book Review Series – Part 8 – Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi

I have officially saved the best review for last. I love all of these books equally. I currently own all 4 in the series Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi. When I first stumbled upon this book, it was only available in Japanese. I was teaching in San Francisco at the time and I used to bring it in as an inspirational “you can do this.”

Because the book was in Japanese and in metric, I did not understand that these were all drafted on the half scale, so I made the double collar on page 94 in the first book and my collar was microscopic. I still didn’t realize it was supposed to be double even after the draft.

After a semester of owning this, my Japanese edition walked off from my desk never to be heard from again. A few month after I filed a missing persons report for my beloved book, I found it in English. I was relieved to learn that I was supposed to have doubled the measurements from that initial draft for my own slopers.

I was finally able to work my way through almost all the samples in the book (to the best of my ability). Then the second book came out! I used to bring it to my sewing labs at school and draft from it to inspire my students.

The stretch fabric book came out next, but I was then teaching full time in LA and didn’t have much time to concentrate on it as I was working on my own series of pattern drafting books on lingerie design – Bare Essentials: Underwear and Bare Essentials: Bras. I still bought it and brought it to school to inspire my students. This example was something I had my students drape, not draft. It made for a fun class

The final book in the series came out when I had moved on from FIDM and was running my own shop and school out in Redlands, CA. My daughter was a few years old and I literally lacked time to brush my hair, let alone draft for fun. I hope to one day draft from these last too books. Maybe I’ll film it too.

What I love about these books: They are so creative and really shows what a pattern maker is possible of drafting. Sometimes when students start on this path, they only see the boring basic stuff and lose interest, but these books were great and kept my students inspired despite their lackluster fundamental course work.

What I dislike about these books: That its in metric. That is the only thing I don’t like, but for me that was not a game changer. It is easy enough to translate measurements.

This book is not for beginners at all, but at their price points, I recommend adding these to your collection early on as they can be that constant reminder that you can do it one day. You need to have a foundation in pattern drafting knowledge. I started playing with these books around the time I started teaching, but I think an intermediate pattern maker can attempt one or two. They may seem complicated at first, but taking each step one at a time, I think it is manageable.

These are currently the last books in my review series for drafting books, but if you know of any others I should get my hands on, feel free to let me know what they are. I have so many books and I think I will be doing reviews on nearly all of them at some point, but my goal was to explain what I loved and didn’t love in all of these books. Stay tuned for the release of my very own introductory pattern drafting book titled Pattern Design.

Here are links to add these books to your collection. Note that these are affiliate links. Affiliate links help support my small business. Pattern Magic Pattern Magic 2 Pattern Magic 3 Pattern Magic: Stretch Fabrics

Pattern Drafting Book Review Series – Part 7 – Designing and Patternmaking for Stretch Fabrics by Keith Richardson

For the 7th part in my series about pattern drafting books, I am covering Designing and Patternmaking for Stretch Fabrics by Keith Richardson. This book is massive. 477 pages in total, but mine is a spiral (not sure if they are all), so it is easy to lay flat to use.

This book is not for beginners. It gets pretty technical with the grading size charts, but once you understand them, it is a wealth of information. If you want to understand how to grade knit patterns, this is great, even though I’m not even reviewing grading books. I would also not attempt grading knits until you attempt to grade a woven pattern. Again, not this review. I have a whole bunch of grading books I can review also, but I might just wait to cover those when I am ready to release my grading book.

This is certainly a one stop shop for all things knit related, including mens knitwear. This book does cover a certain amount of draft by measure, but the steps might be difficult to follow if you have not started with an introductory book. This book covers everything and I mean everything related to knits.

What I love: This is virtually everything a knit designer would possibly need to draft a knit collection. It is chocked full of information, 477 pages of information.

What I don’t love: The steps to complete a design are basically one picture with a little paragraph. I can follow without a problem, but I am a seasoned pattern maker. I would say this is not only not introductory, but advanced in nature. I’m not sure if there is an introductory stretch pattern making book out there, but I get the feeling there isn’t. This book also has the draft by number/letter instructions, which my now, you get I don’t like.

I definitely recommend this book for advanced skills. Put it on your wishlist for the day your skills can be put to a challenge. There is so much valuable information in there and this is probably the best book for knits.

You can score a copy of your own here. You can probably find one on Amazon used, but this is the product listing that looks active. Designing and Pattern Making for Stretch Fabrics by Richardson, Keith Published by Fairchild Books (2008) Paperback Note that this is an affiliate link. Affiliate links help support my business.

Pattern Drafting Book Review Series – Part 6 – Pattern Making by the Flat-Pattern Method by Hollen & Kundel

You probably never realized how many pattern making books there were. This is the 6th book in my pattern drafting book review series. This is an old book, just look at the cover image. The copyright is 1993. This book is called Pattern Making by the Flat-Pattern Method by Norma Hollen and Carolyn Kundel.

By the looks of this book, you might wonder if this is a computer pattern drafting book, but no, it is not. The cover photo is very misleading. This is a very good beginner pattern drafting book. I would compare this to Helen Armstrong’s book. The font is outdated and small, but very informative.

This book covers a lot more pattern manipulation than the Armstrong book does, but it does not cover drafting by measurements (with the exception of pants). There are both 1/2 scale slopers and 1/4 scale slopers for manipulation.

If you can get your hands on this (most of the used books are listed at $200+), it is worth it (but not at $200). After the explanations in the chapters, they include a page of designs for you to practice. I love this feature. No one else does this.

What I love about this book: I love that it is spiral and you can lay it flat. I wish Amazon allowed print on demand books to be spiral, because I would totally take this route for my pattern books. They don’t because it goes back to the store shelf display option. Print on demand books can be sold to bookstores, and bookstores can’t properly display a spiral bound book.

Perhaps it would be smart to take all my reference books that are bound and have them put into spiral binding. I like this idea. It only costs about $5 at Office Depot to spiral bind a book. They will even cut the spine off for you.

Okay, back to the loves. I love the examples to practice. They even have some sewing tips. I love the multitude of options included in this book.

What I dislike: The same as all the other books really, I really dislike the instructions grouped by letters and numbers. This one isn’t too bad, but it doesn’t show all the steps to do something, just writes it. The font is small and totally an 80s font, so are the illustrations. I also dislike that you can’t buy this used for $20.

This book is out of print. I found it on Amazon for $200-$500. Pattern Making by the Flat-Pattern Method. Sometimes there are used versions out there, you can try with this link. Note that this is an affiliate link.

Pattern Drafting Book Review Series – Part 5 – How Patterns Work by Assembil Books

Thanks for reading my review series on pattern making books. This review is the 5th in my series and is called How Patterns Work – Fundamental Principles of Pattern Making and Sewing in Fashion Design.

For a book with exactly 500 pages, there sure is a lot of text. I personally am a visual learner and have always had issues in my reading comprehension. I know, that may sound strange. I can write a 400 page book myself, but I can’t sit and read one. Its different to write one than to read one.

This book covers a lot of information. It is wonderfully packed with information if you are an avid reader, which I am not. One of my students turned me onto this book. She raved about it, but our backgrounds are vastly different. She was a nursing student, so she was used to massive amounts of reading and comprehension.

The book covers a lot of information, from draping (which none of the other books cover) to transferring the pattern to paper. I would say the main focus of this book is to take a drape and to true it and turn it into paper patterns.

What I love about this book: This is a draping book on turning a drape into a pattern. I like this approach as this is the way I learned how to draft. But as a drafting book, this isn’t really a drafting book when you compare it to all other drafting books. This book is thorough and covers everything it takes to draft basic silhouettes and turn them into a pattern.

What I dislike about this book: The size of the book. Not that there are 500 pages, but the fact that it is 7″ by 10″. The book is hard to hold open for the amount of content there is. If this book ever did a second edition, I would love seeing this larger, so the information isn’t broken down so small. There is a lot of text to read, but I think a little layout revision would solve readability.

I had considered writing a draping book, but as my mentor, Dawn Marie, says “You can’t teach draping in a book.” It is extremely hard to write about a creative process such as draping. It’s about as hard as trying to teach someone how to paint a creative painting. This book is about draping, but not about the creative process, which is what I think I would write about (if I wrote about it).

This is a book I don’t think I will ever need to reference for myself, so if you are interested in having this book, comment below and I might do a give away if I have a big enough response.

You can get your own copy on Amazon now by going to the following link. Note that this is an affiliate link. Affiliate links help support my business. How Patterns Work: The Fundamental Principles of Pattern Making and Sewing in Fashion Design

Pattern Drafting Book Review Series – Part 4 – Pattern-Drafting for Fashion Advanced by Teresa Gilewska

This is the 4th book in review for my pattern making book review series. I would have written about the Basics book of this title prior to this review, but I can’t find it anywhere. I think I loaned it to an employee or a student. It was at my store, so I’m more inclined to say I loaned it to an employee. If I ever get my hands on a copy, I will review it. I have made a Wishlist of the books I’d like to get if anyone is feeling generous.

This book is very colorful and pretty to look at, but in my honest opinion, most of the color is too much. I like that the sections are separated by color, but the colors are so bright, it is slighting blinding and distracting from the material in the book.

The first section is on jackets. It covers everything from drafting the sleeve of a jacket to drafting a lining. The second section is all on Kimonos, followed by Raglans and Trousers. There are draft by measure directions for pants, but not for the bodice and torso. I think those were in the basics book, but I can’t recall. I have so many books that remembering the specifics of each are difficult.

What I love: The visuals are great on the drafting instructions. The colors for variations and steps are helpful. The book appears very thorough in the topics it covers, but to be honest, I have never referred to this book. I think it is pretty to look at, which is why I think it survived the book shelf cut. If I ever get heavy into drafting jackets or cold weather clothing I will definitely be referring to this book, but most of what is covered doesn’t peak my interests currently.

What I dislike: There is too much color running down the sides of the pages. I can’t focus on the information. The text seems kind of small for the amount of white space in the book. This book also utilizes the letter/number instruction steps that I’m not a fan of. I just find it difficult to focus on the measurements at hand. Measurements are also in metric. Some imperial measurements are listed randomly, but I would have to write in the book for reference so I don’t make a stupid mistake.  Although I’m not so sure writing is possible due to the type of paper it is printed on.

This book is not readily available on Amazon. I think I saw it listed for something like $400-$1000. If anyone is interested, comment below and I can offer a giveaway of my copy of this book. Although, as it goes, as soon as I get rid of something I generally need it again. I will consider it if I get a lot of comments.

Pattern Drafting Book Review Series – Part 3 – Basic Pattern Skills for Fashion Design by Zamkoff & Price

Thanks for reading the third book review in my pattern making review series. This book is called Basic Pattern Skills for Fashion Design by Bernard Zamkoff and Jeanne Price. Zamkoff was my instructor of pattern making at the Fashion Institute of Technology. This is the only book I kept from my college years.

I don’t know what happened to this book, but I’m guessing I used it so much that the covers came off and I wanted to preserve it so I put it in a folder instead.

When I first started teaching pattern making out of my studio, I used this book with my students. The steps are easy to follow. This is great for a beginner in the pattern drafting. I don’t know whether this book included any slopers, but my version does not have any it, but I’m also missing pages at the end. There is no draft by measure, but drafting from measurements is not very introductory. I don’t think anyone should be drafting from their measurements until they understand how to draft.

The pivot method and slash and spread are easy to understand and follow as well as the dart manipulation and pattern alterations.

My first day in pattern class with Zamkoff, a lightbulb went off and I finally understood how everything was connected. It helped me understand the relationship between the draping and the drafting methods to create a sloper. At FIT, our focus was on draping. Drafting wasn’t offered to first years. It wasn’t offered until you were almost out of school. We learned by draping and creating patterns from our drapes. I transferred in from another school so I had extra electives available. I took this class a year before I was supposed to.

What I love about this book: Everything. It is great for a beginner, but for me, even as a beginner I had a background in draping. I wonder if I would have found this as easy to follow had I not taken draping first. Either way, this is great book.

What I dislike: That I lost part of the book, but not the books fault. I just used it too much I guess. I would question whether someone being introduced to this book without any pattern or draping knowledge would struggle.

I thought this book was out of print, but it looks like the second edition is still available on Amazon. Here is the link. Note that it is an affiliate link and affiliate links help support my business. Basic Pattern Skills for Fashion Design

Pattern Drafting Book Review Series – Part 2 – Designing Apparel Through the Flat Pattern By Fairchild Publishing

Introducing the second book in my pattern making review series, titled Designing Apparel Through the Flat Pattern.

For those you who did not read the first part, here is a my disclaimer: I am a fashion design teacher and author. I am in the process of completing my own introductory pattern drafting book. I have worked my way through many books in the industry. I love parts of all of them, but other parts I dislike. I have written this series with the most impartial view I could have as a teacher.

I love all of my books, especially since these are the ones that made the cut to sit on my bookshelf. I won’t be reviewing any of the books that did not make it into staying in my collection. Know these are great reference books. Here you can see my inappropriately loaded shelves that have collapsed. Sorry for the lousy photo, but I have to crouch between two sewing machines for this shot. Nothing has fallen out of the shelves, so until that day comes This broken shelf will remain.

To start, this is definitely the most thorough book in drafting that I own. It covers everything, except draft by measure. This book provides a 1/4 scale slopers for drafting all the examples throughout the book. If you prefer to work in half scale, you can copy and scale up the patterns 200%.

If you understand the basics in pattern drafting, dart manipulation and how to turn a draft into a pattern, this book is awesome. It is definitely NOT an introductory book. You will need prior knowledge or you may get frustrated and walk away. The drafting steps are very brief. In the beginning, each page has multiple examples on it with only a paragraph of information.

What I love about this book: It is great for visual learners. I can depict what a picture says without the text, but unfortunately it took me years to get to this level of drafting. It covers everything! From skirts to jackets to pants to dresses, it covers it all.

What I dislike: It is very advanced. It is not for a first or even second year student in design. I believe it is more of a graduate level book. You must have a strong foundation of drafting to follow this book. Several of the drafting steps in the book also use the letter/number instruction steps which I have a hard time following. A teacher could follow this book to teach, but I would question whether the student could follow on their own.

If you are just starting on a pattern drafting path, put this on your wishlist. It is an expensive book, but will be worth it once you learn from the introductory books. Here is the Amazon link (this is an affiliate link – affiliate links help support my business). It looks like the last version of this book came out in 1992. Designing Apparel Through the Flat Pattern

Pattern Drafting Book Review Series – Part 1 – Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Armstrong

So here is my disclaimer: I am close to completing my own an introductory pattern drafting book but I felt it would be a good idea to explain why I decided to write my book in the first place. To do this, I feel the need to discuss the other great pattern books I hold near and dear in my collection. Before you stop reading with certain assumptions of a skewed review, know that I own all these books and still refer to them when I have a difficult project. I do not believe my book will be superior to any of these, but a different instructional take on the same material.

I do not believe that someone should only have one pattern making book and live by its word alone. It is important that when working in the fashion industry, you are aware of all the techniques out there, which is why I have so many.

I am starting this review series with Helen Armstrong’s book Patternmaking for Fashion Design.

I have actually owned four separate editions of this book, three while teaching pattern drafting at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Although, I purchased my first book right after I completed my schooling at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I bought it off of eBay back before Y2K. The last days of the 90s. Oh, how I miss your carefree days of being single and living in NYC.

My purchase was of the first edition from 1987. To quickly compare the four different editions that I owned, the first edition was, by far, the best in my opinion. For that reason, I parted ways with all the others.

In general, the book is really good for beginners, but as a teacher, it was very frustrating having to relearn the “new method” of drafting each edition change. Every book ended with virtually the same outcome. I taught for about 9 years and the editions changed every 2-3 years. Each edition had changes to their directions.

As a teacher, it was expected that we taught in the same manner that the book demonstrates. Every time a new edition came out, we had days of training on using the new steps and making notes on the changes we needed to make, in order to make the patterns fit our dress forms correctly.

Other than the direction changes between the editions, not much else changed except for maybe the illustrations. I felt the first edition was closest to perfection, but why mess with perfection? Profit is the answer.

Whichever edition you get your hands on, you will get a great addition to your library. As you can see, I have post-its throughout my book for easy referencing. I put these post-its in there about 15 years ago and I have never had a need to remove them.

What I love about this book: the draft by measure slopers came out pretty accurate for fit for the dress form. The pattern manipulation is also pretty inclusive and has a lot of great exercises to hone in on your skill development.

What I dislike about this book: the drafting instructions were very hard for me to follow. My biggest pet peeve with any pattern making book is they are very technical in nature and not written for a visual learner with a short attention span.

Directions by letter/number reference are difficult for me. I constantly look at the wrong letter and make the measurements in the wrong step. I have issues telling certain letters apart so I get confused easily. I am also not a fan of the “standard” measurements used for darts, but all my books do this, so its not exclusive to this book. There aren’t many measurements that are consistent across all sizes, so the “standard” measurement is misleading for those that are either large busted or over a size 8.

My other pet peeve is related to teaching from this book. Patternmaking for Fashion Design covers so many options and designs, that I discovered my students were too afraid to try something that wasn’t in the book. They got this idea in their head that because the book was so thorough, if it wasn’t covered, the design was not possible.

I have probably used this book more than most of my other books combined. This is a great reference book, but is better when you have an instructor walking you through it.

There is a paperback version available on Amazon. It states it was printed in China. I have honestly never seen it priced this cheap, so I would question the quality of the printing, but for $20, you can’t beat it. I just hope it was printed legally. The normal price is over $100. Note that this is an affiliate link. It helps me keep up my blog to offer affiliate links. Patternmaking for Fashion Design