Pattern Puzzle: Shingo Sato

shingo_satoToday’s pattern challenge isn’t. By that I mean there’s no challenge for you to figure out because the pattern maker -Shingo Sato- in today’s example shows you how to tender said results. At right is such an example; an origami bodice. Pretty fun huh? You can see the making of this particular example on Youtube.

Shingo Sato holds pattern workshops if you’re interested. His claim to fame is popularizing the elimination of darting through style lines. His site erroneously claims his “Transformation and Reconstruction” technique is “significantly” different from conventional pattern making since clothes are “constructed in 3D” etc but this is clearly a case of what’s old is new again. It’s nothing new. Anybody who was trained in a good school learned to eliminate darting with style lines. Which is not to say these styles aren’t a departure from the majority of what is on the market today but “his” technique isn’t his and it isn’t new. Heck, I showed how to make a style similar to one of his in the video I made 15 years ago and at lower right is a jacket of mine (circa 1992?) that has no darting in it either but it is very fitted, courtesy of the style lines. I think the value of what he has to offer is the rediscovery of design possibilities for today’s designers. And I am all for that!

style_linesShingo starts with a muslin bodice on a form. Make careful note that his block is not over fitted(!). I think too many people overfit. From the muslin, he draws in style lines with a sharpie (more on that below) which he then cuts apart to draft the style. Like I’ve said ad nauseum, you can develop styles a lot faster with drafting than draping. I can’t imagine how many hours and hours it’d take to drape the style I opened with but drafting could get you there in an hour or three. If there is a genius to “his” method, it lies in his understanding that this form of instruction is most appropriate with the majority of his seminar students. Drawing style lines on a bodice on a form is much better for designers whose drafting skills have not matured fully. A good pattern maker wouldn’t need this but the way he shows it is a readily transferable way for those whose skills aren’t as solid. I think it is also good for people learning to draft. And then, the styles are very inspirational. The sample above isn’t exactly wearable for most consumers but there are plenty of other styles that can be rendered this way that would be. Considering how bland design has become, I’m hoping Shingo and “his method” will become more popular.

He’s posted a bunch of instructional videos, mostly solid information judging from the few I scanned. Keep in mind these were done for demonstration purposes meaning he needs to use a thick sharpie rather than a 4H pencil because the latter can’t be seen by the camera. And he uses lots and lots of pins, placing them at notch points. Again, that is to impart proper matching habits to students but is not something he’d do in real life or at least to this extent. If any of you watch the sewing videos (sewing tight curves, sewing points) I’d be curious to know if this is anything new to you. Other than the too-much pinning, they are accurate. Oh and we build in the marking portions into the pattern with drill holes and such so one wouldn’t need to manually mark everything. Look over some of those and let me know what you think.

All in all the drafting processes are great for first patterns but I can only hope you’d hire someone to clean up the styles for production. Or maybe I’m biased. This type of drafting is the sort of work I enjoy most only there’s not much call for it these days. Pity.

Get New Posts by Email


  1. Theresa in Tucson says:

    I’m trying to get back to sewing and here you are with more excuses to waste time, er, add to my knowledge base, on the computer. Glad your back to posting. Hope the move went well.

  2. Els says:

    Thanks Kathleen for sharing the work of Shingo Sato. I know how to draft and eliminate darts into style lines. He shows lots of ways which are interesting. Some examples of the book Pattern Magic are also done this way.

  3. Kathleen says:

    I’m so overwhelmed I can’t even get back to any semblance of a routine. Shingo was the *only* thing I could focus on today.

    Theresa, you’re close. Why don’t you come up for a couple of days and help me get this place together? All you really have to do is direct, and tell me what to do next. I’ll do all the heavy lifting. I just need a boss…

  4. Clara Rico says:

    I like that you can take the ‘origami top’ and change it so the folds go the other way. Concave to convex, if you will. I’m imagining it with different colors for each fold. I guess the seam would have to be placed on the back side of the fold when convex in order to stay hidden.

    The examples on his site under “Concept” are very cool. I want the pink dress with ribbon like swirls. :)

    Thanks so much for this post. It is quite inspiring. I’ve been thinking about how to do designs that eliminate darts since you showed us the Parrot Jacket from East West. //

  5. Theresa in Tucson says:

    Don’t tempt me, girl, but I would be next to useless as a director because I would be continually getting sidetracked by all the cool stuff. Take it step by step; power, lights, heat and a good lay-out plan. It will get better. That said I’m off to watch “The Grinch” cartoon with the spousal unit and the offspring.

  6. Lisa Brazus says:

    I like watching the demos. I would never go from fabric to fabric. I would want to work off of a flat and clean up the style. It would drive me crazy.
    Great Post Kathleen and good luck with the organizing of your “stuff”
    Lisa Brazus

  7. Lisa Blank says:

    Drat you. I don’t have time for this! I limited myself to watching two videos this time around. The one on sewing pointed angles was useful. Thanks (I think) for getting the word out.

  8. Marie-Christine says:

    > I just need a boss…
    :-) :-)..
    We could all boss you remotely. OK, so what’s that pile of boxes, eh? Put that away! Quit wasting time on the computer! And get some sleep!

    Agree with you that most amateurs tend of overfit. I think it’s very sad when someone takes an 80s-revival pattern (or a vintage one) and then fits the thing to death, complaining that the drafting is atrocious and bragging about removing 12″ of ease. Yet you can’t peruse a week’s worth of patternreview for instance without finding dozens and dozens of examples. Some of that is difficulty with a changing esthetics, since we seem well on the way to that, but some of it is merely confusing skin-tight with perfect fit.

    On the other hand, I’m chuffing up my collection of vintage Miyake with great glee :-)..

  9. Eddie says:

    I’m watching him make the origami pattern, and I have an issue with the permanent marker, and how he just tapes the fabric to the paper, there’s no line to guarantee that he placed the pieces in the right spot. He could have drawn a straight line though all the panels first so he knew they were in their original position. Ahh. overall, simple idea.

  10. Bente says:

    So very inspiring! He seams to be a world reference on the Fashion Planet.
    He is actually doing work shops as well. It’s worth to be alerted if he comes by!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.