24 August 2011

Pattern Magic: Book Review


Even before I started pattern drafting I had my eye on the intriguing-looking Pattern Magic books, so I was thrilled when the publishers, Laurence King, sent them to me to review.

Accordion Back

Knot Dress

The books outline how to create flat patterns for avant garde garments inspired by geometric shapes. The author, Japanese professor of fashion Tomoko Nakamichi, says, "You can create a garment by cutting, moving and reassembling the pieces of a pattern, just like the pieces of a puzzle." And they really do look like puzzles - beautiful, mysterious, sculptural puzzles...

Bamboo Shoot Bodice

Drop Hole Skirt

Some of the designs are pretty and wearable - such as the Knot Dress, Bamboo Shoot Bodice and Cowl Neck - the kinds of garments that will have people staring but in a good way. Others are plain nuts, featuring craters in skirts, cube-shaped protrusions, accordion-like depressions and even Escher-style "vanishing" pockets. At various page turns I found myself scratching my head and yelping, "What the...?! How the...?!"

The books aren't too text-heavy, which I really like, and include detailed diagrams for each design. And when I say detailed, I mean detailed. And complicated. These books are not for the faint-hearted. Or the beginner. But if you've mastered the basics of pattern cutting, have caught the bug and are eager to experiment with complex three dimensional designs, you should definitely take a look at Pattern Magic. I'm really looking forward to a rainy day when I can get stuck into one of these puzzles...

[Soundtrack: 'Impossible Soul' by Sufjan Stevens]

Disclosure: Laurence King sent me these books to review. This is my full and honest opinion.


  1. Wow, amazing pieces! I love the look of the bamboo shoot bodice!

  2. It's so cool you got sent these to try out! They're like the holy grail of pattern cutting. Looking forward to reading about your experiences of giving some of these a go!

  3. I'm desperate to get these books. I just love some of the styling and would love to have a go at some of the designs. I understand the basics of pattern cutting, but am no expert. I just love a challenge!

  4. Which one are you going to make first??

    I also like that it's not text heavy; I need as many photos as possible so I don't miss a step and end up with a garment that I can't wear.

  5. I've been trying to find these books since I saw another blogger's dress with a big bow at the neckline. It was gorgeous! It had two exaggerated cowl like necklines that were only attached to the back and sides of the neckline and tied in a bow in the front. I'm still on the search. Glad to read your review and encourage my search!

  6. These books are awesome! I just love the 3d puzzle aspect of even the weird ones. Making them on 1/2 scale is fdefinitely on my sewing to do list. Some of those designs are just so hard to wrap your head around. Are you going to do more book reviews?

  7. I've been eyeing those books for a while. The designs are so interesting. I think I should get some pattern drafting experience under my belt before attempting them.

  8. That drop hole skirt is a bit crazy. I just imaging keeping an apply in there or some other little snack...on the other hand, the dress with the bow is gorgeous. I hope you attempt one of these!

  9. I really really want a knot dress now!!! It's too cute.

    Can't wait to see what you make.

  10. I've got the first one and just been a bit bewildered by it (pattern drafting novice here!). but really excited to try something from it. I'd love to hear your experiences!

  11. I love the bamboo shoot bodice - that looks fabulous!


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