Reviews: New pattern making books

patternmaking_in_practiceLucia Mors has published a new pattern book, Patternmaking in Practice: A Step by Step Guide (my review of her previous book). A departure from US textbooks, this title isn’t as overwhelming with competing style options. The basic pattern is developed via draping and copiously illustrated step by step with large clear photos. Further along in the text, drafting a block from measures is also shown. Plenty of instruction is provided for the sleeve drafting process. I’m partial to this style of sleeve development which seems to be common in all drafting books, save those published in the US. ~sigh~

There are only a few styles in the book (two skirts and two dresses) but these are covered in great depth. Specifically, developing a complete pattern from the block -to include facings and linings-, cutting, fitting and sewing the whole garment start to finish. It’s refreshing to follow style development from the beginning through finished product. And of course, that few pattern books show any sewing at all, this book provides comprehensive grounding and context.

The book also shows how to develop a notched collar draft. This is a different style than is common here, very European looking. I had wanted to draft a sample collar before reviewing the book but I lacked the time. I may update this later. Reason being, I’m not wild on the shape of the collar at the back neck. I’ve never been able to get this style to seat well at the back neck. Maybe it works better in lighter goods? I don’t know. Perhaps you can tell me and we’ll all be the wiser for it.

At a cost of $18 (hardcover with 120 pgs), I rate this lovely designed book as a nice addition to your library.

stefani_lincecumThe second title in today’s entry is Steffani Lincecum’s Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit: Using the Rub-off Technique to Re-create and Redesign Your Favorite Fashions. The subtitle pretty much says it all.

The value of the text lies in its clear illustration of the rub off process for those of you who have need of it (nicely done too). She uses a variety of products -a blouse, dress, skirt and handbag- illustrating the rub off process for each. She then shows how you can modify the resultant pattern to create new design iterations. Some construction instruction is also provided but it appears choppy in places (as does some of the drafting). Knowing what I do about publishing, I seriously doubt the fault lies with the author. Publishers often winnow text in less than ideal ways and authors have little to say in the matter.

Amazon reviewers say the book is for professionals but that should be qualified somewhat for our purposes. Steffani’s expertise lies in costuming one-offs (for film and TV) so the materials, methods, processes and tools illustrated are more typical of home sewing rather than RTW.  That said, this could be a good fit for you if your needs are similar; it is an excellent book for the primary purpose of learning to copy a beloved garment. However, standard practices particular to the RTW industry like pattern development and sewing of details specific to facilitating production are better derived from the tutorials.

At $16 (176 pgs) I think this is a good buy for the purpose of learning rub-offs and some tricks of the trade specific to costuming. Detailed and well illustrated, the author’s integrity in the treatment of her subject matter is palpable.

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