Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What I'm Reading: How to Use, Adapt and Design Sewing Patterns

Please tell me I'm not the only one secretly addicted to America's Got Talent. Okay, not so secretly as of right this second. It's SO campy and SO weird...I guess it has that trainwreck thing going for it. Also, summer programming blows. What am I supposed to do with my time in the evenings, read a book or something??

I mentioned today's book a while back as one I was reading during my Thurlow shorts fittings. It didn't help me much with fitting, but it does offer an in-depth look at patterns and pattern making.

No spoilers here, the title pretty much sums up the book. Thank you everybody, goodnight!

Just kidding. The book is broken into three sections (Use, Adapt, Design). The "use" portion, I admit, was a snoozefest if you already know how commercial patterns work. It would have been helpful a year ago when I was starting out, of course. It's great information for beginners, but the second two portions are NOT for I don't know. Let's call it a good refresher/base. There WAS a great sidebar on measuring children, something I haven't encountered before.

The "adapt" part of the book focused first on creating slopers. I've read about twenty-six different resources for making slopers but I haven't done it yet. A sloper is a basic pattern which is made to your exact measurements. Vogue also sells commercial slopers. Curse me for not remembering, but I know I read a blog last week where the author said she has used commercial slopers and drafted her own, and that by far drafting her own was better. If you're interested in that, this book is excellent in teaching you what to do, complete with muslin fittings and adjustments back to the flat pattern.

As part of adapting patterns, time is spent discussing fit issues and how to correct them. I was impressed with all of it except the pants portion. If you need to know how to fit a blouse, there were things in here I hadn't read before, particularly about shoulders and sleeves and balancing them properly.

The "design" part was where I wanted to glean the most information. Sadly for me, there was probably TOO much information for me to digest in the few weeks I had this out from the library. The book was detailed in showing how to change a regular sleeve to a cap sleeve, how to add fullness to a skirt, how to change a collar, things like that. I enjoy reading these types of books, but unless I'm specifically working on that topic at that moment, all I can do is tuck away the info for a rainy day.

My favorite part of the book was a mere 4 pages that were spent on taking a sketch to pattern paper (using your slopers as a base) and creating a garment. Y'know, the kind of stuff they do on Project Runway every week. I could have read a whole book on that topic!

This is a great book for people like me who don't have any formal pattern drafting training. I'm tempted to sneak into the university bookstores in town and find some design books. But until I work up the stones to do that (I'm pretty sure having a baby with me would give me away), I'm happy knowing this book is waiting for me anytime at the library.


  1. Useful post, thank you! I've never drafted patterns by myself, but I'd love to!

    1. I tried some pattern drafting before I ever read anything about failure! It's harder than it looks, but there are some great resources out there!


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