Monday, November 19, 2012

Pattern Magic books and a Giveaway

Avant-garde, intriguing, beautiful, mysterious, puzzling, plain nuts, unwearable, different - these are only a few attributes that are used to describe the book by a relatively large community of loyal following. Over 250 projects have been uploaded by some of those fans to the Pattern Magic group on Flickr, with some fans challenging themselves to make as many projects from the book as possible.


I am one of those fans, so when the Laurence King Publishing (check out their amazing books!) contacted me asking to review Pattern Magic books I knew exactly I have a lot to say. Let's be honest, however. I am not wearing Drop Hole skirts, or Lumps and Bumps tops, but I love going through the projects figuring out how the pieces were constructed.

Definitely intriguing: a Drop Hole Skirt and a Lumps and Bumbs bodice
Take kakurenbo, or Hide and Seek design. It is a simple jabot-style frill, something you can put on a blouse or a skirt. Nakamichi asks you to draw the frill, complete the hidden parts on each section of the frill and then join the completed sections into one piece, which is, in essence, a spread-out jabot.


How smart is that? I made a few flounces this way and it seemed to make so much more sense than using C=2πr formula, or slash and spread method.



The same applies to the Flare concealed in a curve. I've seen similar style on the runway recently, but go and figure out how they did it! Pattern Magic has an answer for many of those tricky questions:
"Take the pieces of a three-dimensional garment and flatten them, to get individual pattern pieces. The relationship between the flat pattern pieces and the three-dimensional structure of the garment never changes. You can create a garment by cutting, moving and reassembling the pieces of a pattern, just like pieces of a puzzle."
And that is what makes this book so valuable to me.

Of course, many of the designs featured in the book are not only inspirational but also wearable. So it is not surprising that you will see projects from the book being quoted on the runway, just like this almost literal interpretation of the Blouse with an interwoven design by Andy South of the Project Runway Season 8.


Forget literal, look at these Dior pieces from the 2012 Resort collection. Recreating the draping on that top below, or the folds of the jacket is easier than it seems using Nakamichi's 'visual patternmaking approach' (that's how I like to call it).

Source: vogue.com
But, of course, I would not mind having some of the Pattern Magic projects on my sewing list either, and so, these are on my wish list (sigh) for the next year:


GRIPES, GRUMBLES & GROUCHES

Ok, would you believe me if I said the book is perfect?.. There is always something to grumble about, right? For example, one drawback in the book is that there are hardly any fabric recommendations. After making a few trial projects from muslin, I realized that some of them can work with only a very specific fabric. So, if you do use the book, look at the fabric in the photographs and proceed accordingly.

Second, the lack of construction information is quite a problem with some projects, even for advanced sewers. Of course, this is a book about pattern-making, but if it needs to appeal to a wider audience, at least a bare minimum of construction tips should have been included. But, well, that's my personal opinion.

On the positive side (a sigh of relief), I have seen so many bloggers make garments based on Pattern Magic that I am sure you will find plenty of information for the most popular pieces on the Internet - just google Pattern Magic.

Making these projects does require some patience, but with some basic patternmaking skills you will succeed. After all, you can take only one small detail and use it in your own garment, be it a sleeve, a collar, a frill or anything else.

FINALLY, THE GIVEAWAY

Now, readers, do you want to know more, or try the projects yourself? The publisher offered a copy of Pattern Magic in English to one reader of this blog. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by Sunday, November 25. I would appreciate it a lot if you could add a line or two about the book: have you heard about it before? any favorite projects? or just anything related - I love getting your feedback on reviews...

Good luck!

62 comments:

  1. I have heard about it before! It intrigues me, but as a very novice seamstress, it seems I would have to just look at it for the moment. I still rely heavily on the instructions!

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  2. I have heard about this book before and seen some projects. Would love to try my hand at sewing wearable garments with these interesting details such as the interwoven fabric and the draping, among others.

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  3. As I learn more about sewing and fitting, I want to learn more about drafting patterns too. How much I could learn from a book like that!

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  4. Hi Marina. The book is on my amazon wishlist, but with limited time for sewing unfortunatly this kind of project is rather far down the list. I'm heading to NYC this Christmas - maybe you'd be up for a garment district meetup.

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  5. I have seen this book a few times on amazon as I was browsing through other sewing books. But I never looked into it too much because it seemed like the clothing inside would be a bit impractical. I didn't realize it has such a strong following and such useful information about flounces, weaving, and other details. My curiosity is piqued! The more I can learn about pattern construction the better. I'd love to win the giveaway and start sewing my way through!

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  6. I've heard of this book. The approach is very intriguing. The more I get into sewing, the more fascinating I find the engineering aspect of garment design to be.

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  7. If I had only seen the pics of the Drop Hole Skirt and the Lumps and Bumps top I probably not pick this book up, however, after your review I would reconsider. There seem to be some other very lovely pieces covered that could really push me to get out of my sewing comfort zone. I'll definitely keep an eye out next time I'm in the book store~

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  8. I have heard of the book, and I am very curious about it. A sewing teacher (not my sewing teacher, but, hey) told me it had a fantastic bodice block-making method. Just a few measurements, very little drawing, and voila! the perfect block. Well, thats what she told me!

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  9. I have not heard about the book until now, but boy am I interested! The pictures are fabulous! I would love to have a copy to try to work out the patterns. I would like to be entered into your drawing for the book.Thank you! Happy Holidays to you.
    Syl

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  10. I have heard of the book, but I've never seen a copy in English. I've flipped through it a few times at the bookstore, and I was very intrigued, but I ultimately decided not to get it because I need more than just pictures to understand what to do. I'm so excited that this is out in English now, and I may have to add this to my wish list!

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  11. I was just looking at my copies of this yesterday. I totally agree with your comments. some of the ideas a beautiful and simple to construct. others take some manipulations and plenty of adjustments. I've successfully tried a couple of the techniques, but haven't applied them to a garment yet. they just stay at muslin stage. I am determined to actually apply some of the techniques I've learnt - and soon!

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  12. I've been working on Pattern Magic drafting on the weekend and while there are no fabric suggestions, I've been using poly cotton to test out a 3 styles.
    I hope someone wins this book and gets to make some of the interesting styles in it.
    Don't add me to the list for this giveaway.

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  13. I first saw the Pattern Magic book while looking up Drape Drape 2 by Hisako Sato on Amazon. Would love to try using the book and find the designs just beautiful.

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  14. I have heard of these books and I am intrigued by the photography and the clear geometric references. I must admit, I'm not sure if I would try my hand at drafting any of them, but the book alone is a pictorial fantasyland. Please toss my name into the hat for the drawing.

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  15. I have Pattern Magic 2 and just love to spend a few quiet moments looking at the pictures and imagining where I could use the designs and styles in 'everyday' clothes. Actually making something from the book is on my to do list - same as you - next year! But maybe if I owned Pattern Magic 1, I might be inspired to act a little quicker. Thank you for the offer.

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  16. I have seen this book on blogs before (mainly on Handmade by Carolyn) and always wanted to have a read and make something from them. Please count me in for the giveaway!

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  17. I've been previewing these books for years, and I love seeing the blog postings and flickr pictures of samples made. It seems mind-boggling, but I'd love to get Pattern Magic to finally read all the details and attempt my own!

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  18. I'd love to give some Pattern Magic a try!

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  19. I love perusing these types of books. (And as a math teacher, I have to correct you. Circumference is 2r times pi, not r times pi. No wonder it didn't work!)

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  20. I've heard about the book and I saw few pages. I was totally impressed by variety of created shapes.

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  21. I know about this book by reading blogs, specially Handmade by Carolyn who has a lot of great versions of some of the patterns. I don´t know if I´m skilled enough to tackle with these but I´d love to give it a try!

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  22. Yes! I have seen this book and it is amazing. I'm lucky to live in Japan, but that means the book is in Japanese and I can't easily understand it. I'd be delighted to see the English version! Thanks!

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  23. I have been fascinated by this book BUT know I will not put blocks on my boobs. The people that have this book talk about the pattern shapes and how well they go together. It would be fun to study this book from a learning perspective. Would love to receive this give away. Anne Szabo

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  24. It was actually the boob-blocks that first caught my eye with this series, and now they are all on my wishlist. I've always had an interest in engineering, and these books indulge that side of me. Thanks for the chance to win!

    rebekahricker (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  25. Oooh, I've had it on my amazon wishlist for two years, but I've gotten distracted with quilting this year so did not get it. I am a bit intimidated by it frankly, but I've read a lot of reviews on it and am looking forward to getting it someday!

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  26. This book has been on my wish list for a while. I borrowed Pattern Magic 2 from the library, and I'm amazed by the vanishing pocket and vanishing necktie. I would totally use those on a garment! And I would love to see what the first book has to offer. Thank you for the review!

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  27. I've been interested in these books for such a long time, but just held back from purchase as I knew I would have to resize the patterns. Now that I've lost 30 pounds, I'd seriously consider having to get the books even if I don't win!

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  28. I'm an intermediate seamstress trying to improve my skill by learning about couture detailing. I think the book would help to advance my skills.

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  29. An English version is very tempting...the designs are fresh and thoughtful. It is nice to see new thought put into clothing.

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  30. Yes, I would love to be included in the drawing. I've seen some of the garments that Claudine and Melissa have made from these books and been very impressed and I'd love to try something myself.

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  31. I've see this book around in blog world, Its seems so interesting and next level. It would be nice to have this in my book collection

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  32. I would love to receive this book, I would love to see the thought process and strange calculations behind the exquisite details.
    Thank you so much!

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  33. I have both 1 and 2 but not dared to use them yet! The fabric choice and time needed put me a bit off. But I love how carlolyn makes it look so easy

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  34. I've seen the drop down skirt and loved it! I didn't know where to go looking for it and now I know :D At the moment I'm reading all kinds of sewingbooks (Tailoring the perfect jacket and Couture sewing techniques) to improve my technique. I'm a self-taught sewer so these books are like a bible to me. I've only started 4 months ago, and I made quite some progress thanks to well written and inspiring books.

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  35. I have heard about this book, and I think it is amazing!!! I began sewing in february and am always looking at blogs, websites, tutorials, youtube, pintrest...but once I saw this book I was "amazed". I didn't realize how much influence this book had on so many "sewist". It would be a great book to have and to challenge yourself! Getting my dress form for christmas, and hopefully this book:-) God Bless

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  36. I have seen so much garments made with inspiration from this book in sewing blogs and have always thought that I need this book too, especially now - after your recommendations! This is such a great opportunity for me. I would be very happy to have this book and start to study those pattern making trics.

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  37. A book of always wanted to get my hands on to go further wiht my sewing I've found it a bit hard to come by in English in Australia! I've often stared longingly at it online! As a mostly self taught young sewing type, who prefers to make her own patterns, books like this double as my bible!!

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  38. Lovely book. I have thought of buying it, but it looks kind of complicated.
    But I promise that I will definitely do something from it if I will be the winner of this giveaway!

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  39. This little minx has been on my Amazon wishlist for at least a year; I've been ever so curious about taking a crack at it. I've seen some lovely projects come out of the blogopshere using it, but I gotta say, that sculpted sleeve makes me earn. Great giveaway!

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  40. I keep eyeing this book. It looks like a perfect combination of art and function! After countless useful but basic sewing projects, I'm ready for a little ART! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  41. Great review - this book series ALWAYS tempts me when I'm clicking through Amazon.com's sewing section. How cool would it be to win one? Completely, totally, frabjously cool, that's how.

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  42. Thank you for the review and the giveaway! :) I've had this book on my wishlist since I started sewing just over a year ago. It's still above my skill level but I am always drawn to more advanced books because they inspire me to reach higher & achieve more. I'd love to make many of the garments in this book - the idea of fabric manipulation to this degree is exciting and intriguing to me :)

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  43. This book would open up a whole new avenue of exploration and experimentation. I love the concept of 3-D features designed into the garment, though not the particular ones shown. I would love to have this book.

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  44. I have the book on my wishlist. The construction of the garments is intriguing and I would love to try tofollow those instructions. Great giveaway!

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  45. Thanks for sharing your book review. I've had this particular book on my wishlist for quiet a while now, and winning it would be even better. Although it might be slightly more advanced than my skills are, working through it would help me become more proficient. As a self-taught seamstress, the only way for me to advance my skills is through texts like these.

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  46. Never heard of the book, but after reading your review and seeing those photos I sure would want a copy. Count me in http://stellulastyles.blogspot.it/

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  47. I've definitely seen the book around and would love to add it to my sewing library. Thanks for the chance.

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  48. I'd love a copy of this book! I have seen reviews of it, and I am interested in learning and reading about pattern drafting and design. Thanks for hosting the give away!

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  49. Like some of the other ladies, I have seen this book on blogs and I do want to try something from them. Please enter me in the drawing!

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  50. I have held this book in my hands and almost bought it a couple of times. It is inspirational, but I often feel like it would be one of those luxury items that I'd like to have. It would be fantastic to finally have a copy and as you say tackle one small element at a time.

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  51. I just recently added both 1 and 2 to my amazon wish list. Was pleasantly surprised to see your review. Good informative review makes me want it even more. If I don't win I guess I'll have to drop some big hints to my husband for Christmas!

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  52. I've had both books on my Amazon wish list for awhile now. Very much like you said - I've read about them in several blogs, plus they popped up on Amazon's "you might be interested" section when released since I tend to look at sewing books often. While I can't see me ever wearing some of the designs, I am fascinated by seeing HOW on earth they were created, and using that information to create unique garments. Let's face it - at 48 i'm past wearing some of those designs as created! LOL!! But they are amazing, and some look like distinct possibilities.

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  53. I'd love to own this book and really love when others review it, especially if they have tried one of the patterns. That sleeve fascinates me. I'm just taken by shapes and their possible combinations.

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  54. I'd love to win this book! The designs are so creative and skilful - just what we need to make our clothes couture and amazing.

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  55. love your post on this book! i've definitely heard of it...am too intimidated by it at my current skill level to buy it yet, but it's on my wishlist!

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  56. Great review. Thanks. Your tip of just taking an idea from the book and incorporating it into a "normal" garment is encouraging. I have heard about Pattern Magic a lot around the sewing blogasphere but haven't been game enough to try myself.

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  57. I have heard about it, in fact it is on my Wish-list. So of course I have to enter in the giveaway!

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  58. First time I heard about these techniques was through a YouTube video; completely blew me away! I love the way garments are constructed in a more sculptural, architectural way.

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  59. Count me in for the give away! I've seen this book mentioned on other blogs before, and been intrigued by it, but never as in depth as here. It sounds fantastic!

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  60. I've picked up the first Pattern Magic book so many times in the bookshop but I've never had the guts to buy it. I don't give myself enough credit. My sewing skills are not the best but they are reasonable and if I just went for it I'm sure I could incorporate some of the elements from the books into my hand made clothing.

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  61. This was one of the first Japanese sewing/crafting books I browsed during my first visit to Kinokuniya. Years later it is still on my wishlist!

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  62. Oh, that Drop Hole Skirt is so odd. I don't think I want to invite someone to reach in there!

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