Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book Review - Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified

Posted by Kashmira

Name of Book        : Design-It-Yourself Clothes – Patternmaking Simplified
Author                     : Cal Patch
Publisher                 : Potter Craft
Year of Publication : 2009

Book Summary
Design-It-Yourself Clothes is a how-to book on basic garment pattern drafting that includes 5 key projects – A skirt, t-shirt, dress, button-down shirt and pants. It completely lives up to its name – Cal Patch does a great job of explaining the basic principles and terminology of pattern making in a lucid and concise manner. And she does not stop there! Each basic project also comes with instructions on how to apply manipulation methods on the original pattern to get a variety of other looks using techniques like darts and flairs. The end of each project also has a section that includes brief sewing instructions.
What’s to like?
Plenty! Over the last few years I’ve designed and made bags and simple infant/ toddler clothing. But clothing for adults? There’s just one catch – unlike infants, they DO care about a good fit! And without any formal training in pattern making, my repertoire was limited by whatever I could fashion from measurements and shapes of clothes I already owned. For a long time I’d been looking for a resource that gives the low-down on the fundamentals of pattern making that includes the stuff that’s not very easy to guess/ come up with – all the formulas, tips and tricks for getting those armholes and sleeves right. And on a visit to our local library I finally found it! The more I read, the more I fell in love and realized this is one book I would definitely want to own. (Cue: log on to Amazon, order book, done!)
Three things that caught my eye        
1. There is an entire section devoted to taking body measurements. This makes perfect sense – since that is the very foundation of drafting a pattern for getting a perfectly fitting garment. (Amusingly, Patch even adds a little note to be true to oneself and not put down measurements from high-school days!)

2. Here’s something I’d never dreamed of while fumbling with pattern making before reading this book – according to the laws of patternmaking, all corners where seams meet MUST be right angles! That seems downright absurd at first but Patch quickly goes on to explain how curves finally arise from these right angles.

3. The book also covers notes on fabric usage – that is, what sort of fabric could be suitable for what projects and how drafting a pattern for the same outfit can change depending on the fabric used.

Project I tried
Skirt, Dress, Shirt, Pants? First I simply had to try one of the most comfortable outfits EVER – the quintessential T-shirt. Drafting the pattern was fine, the only tricky part was getting the armholes and sleeve cap shapes right. But again, the book has a method to check and rectify your work. Once I had the pattern ready, cutting out the pattern pieces and sewing the t-shirt was a breeze.

I had a longish, tapering strip of fabric leftover from cutting the front T-shirt panel and so I fashioned that into a ruffle to add some detail to the plain T.

The bottom line
If you have a basic understanding and experience of sewing and wish to set foot in the world of pattern making, or simply to design your own outfits, this book is a great tool to have in your belt. It contains not just the fundamentals, but also enough tips and techniques to allow you to create garments of increasing complexity once you get a practiced hand. Three cheers for Cal Patch!
Author’s blog

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