Day 4 Giveaway: Patternmaking Made Easy

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.


  1. Debbie says:

    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.

  2. Nin says:

    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!

  3. Deborah says:

    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.

  4. Conny says:

    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!

  5. Demetra says:

    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.

  6. RoseMarie says:

    “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.

  7. Liz says:

    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!

  8. JustGail says:

    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.

  9. Lynn says:

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

    Need help with narrow shoulders in relation to rib cage.

    Thank you, Kathleen!

  10. Layla says:

    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.

  11. Denise says:

    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.

  12. Kiawe says:

    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?

  13. Stephanie Jiang says:

    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.

  14. Natasha E says:

    “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.

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