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 Patternmaking for Fashion Design (4th Edition)

Renowned for its comprehensive coverage, exceptional illustrations, and clear instructions, this hallmark book offers detailed yet easy-to-understand explanations of the essence of patternmaking. Hinging on a recurring theme that all designs are based on one or more of the three major patternmaking and design principles–dart manipulation, added fullness, and contouring–it provides all the relevant information necessary to create design patterns with accuracy regardless of their complexity. Sewing guides included for the pleated trouser (with pattern layout), belt/loops, pockets, and zipper; the jean pant with pockets, countour belt, and fly front; and the gusset. Updated jacket foundation draft includes fabric preparation, interfacing, chest piece, tape control, and shoulder pads. Pant drafts–Trouser draft including pocket, waistband, and loop; dungaree foundation draft; grunge pant draft; and three jean waistline variations including pocket and sewing instruction. Includes fitting corrections for the basic patterns. Unique section on patternmaking for bias-cut garments. For anyone developing their patternmaking skills.

  Date Published 2/10/2005

Average Rating: Rating Average
Rated By: A reader
From: Unavailable
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: An excellent book on all types of patternmaking
This is an excellent book on all types of patternmaking. I use it all the time for drafting and altering patterns. The illustrations are simple and easy to follow. It has been a valuable resource for patternmaking.
Rated By: A reader
From: Unavailable
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Excellent
This book, unlike many others, goes into extensive detail regarding dart manipulation. I have been able to re create the intricate designs of the 30's 40's and 50's where dart manipulation was the essence of the garment. It is complex but not so much so that the average dressmaker cant use it. It is written in a tutorial type format, with reduced scale pattern blocks to practice with. All in all, the best book I have got in my large collection.
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From: Brazil
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Comments: Best patternmaking book I ever read
This book is the most important tool you can have as a reference for your day to day work in patternmaking.
Rated By: Jonathan Anderson
From: puerto rico
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: amazing
I never drafted a pattern before I read this book. Now I can make my own designs. It is easy to follow. Has great illustrations and clear instructions. I love it
Rated By: ""
From: Sydney, Australia
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Brilliant!
After many years of diddling commercial patterns, I will never have to buy another pattern again! Great text for the novice to advanced sewer alike. Used as a text book in Australia Colleges/Universities. Simple instructions with clear diagrams. Pattern making for woven, stretch and childrens wear. Highly recommended to all! There is nothing that you will not be able to make a pattern for after studying this book.
Rated By: Susan Bischoff
From: Seymour, TN
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: The textbook I go back to most often
This was one of my favorite textbooks from design school. It's the one I refer back to most often, because I know what I want will be there, and will be presented clearly. It is the most complete reference I have in my library for flat-patternmaking, and covers everything from making basic slopers from measurements (the book provides measurements for standard sizes, or substitute a real client's), through all sorts of bodices, sleeves, collars, skirts, pants, and other details. Also included are sections on knitwear, including swimwear, and a good portion of the book is devoted to children's clothing. Highly recommended and well worth the price.
Rated By: allison taylor
From: orange county, california
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: really comprehensive text for flat patternmaking
After receiving this textbook for my third level patternmaking course in design school, I managed to read through after the term was over and realized how much we had skipped over - this book is packed with how-to information on developing not only the basic block (bodice F/B, skirt F/B, fitted sleeve) but variations of all sorts. I think a reader with good skills at visualizing a fashion design could, with this text, learn to pattern and build almost anything. First, every single exercise she covers is more than adequately illustrated, with fashion figures (or portions thereof) modelling the particular neckline, sleeve, skirt silhouette, etc so you can accurately see, not guess, what the style line in question looks like on a body. And technical drawings are clear and plentiful, so one can easily understand whether she's overlapping the skirt panels to compare hip curves or pivoting the bodice back to transfer a dart from waist to side seam. No confusion here, which is quite an accomplishment given the complexity of the subject. Second, the accompanying text is abbreviated to make the read easier but not so much that you will get lost in following from step a to step b. And at the beginning of each section the author given a little introduction which compares the efficiency and difficulty of the given method, outlines its uses and end results, and possible further adaptations. In the first 2 chapters, author covers the workroom (incl. list of tools, photos from manufacturing, completed sample cost sheet/pattern chart/design specification sheet, basic fabric and pattern terminology used in later chapters, and summaries of computerized patternmaking and development processes) and model form measurement. Chapter 3 covers drafting the basic pattern set. Chapters 4-9 cover the three main principles of flat patternmaking: dart manipulation, added fullness, and contouring. Author then devotes a chapter to each of: collars, built-up necklines, cowls, skirts/circles/cascades, sleeves, kimono/raglan/dropped/exaggerated armholes, buttons/buttonholes/facings, plackets/pockets, dresses without waistline seams, strapless foundations/interconstruction, bias-cut dresses, shirt foundations, jackets/coats, capes/hoods, knockoff methods, pants, knits, knit foundations, actionwear/dancewear/exercisewear, and swimwear. Then follows this with 7 chapters covering various aspects of childrenswear. Yep, REALLY comprehensive. This text will function quite well as a reference volume, because it's logically organized, well indexed, tells and shows WHY the principles in question are true, and addresses problems to be solved in addition to just explaining basic elements. In addition to patternmaking instructions, the author includes lots of useful reference material, for example: names of different types of pleats, standard sizing for childrens' wear, definition of a peplum (with illustrations), recommended methods & materials for knocking off (copying) a ready-made garment, whole page of button size technical drawings, definition of parts of a classic blazer, and blank pattern charts and cost sheets (useful for manufacturing, not really for home sewing). With 821 pages nose to tail, this isn't a light read, nor will you find any color photos of designer name work. Don't buy it for your coffee table or plan to tuck it into your purse for reading in waiting rooms. But do buy it to add depth to your understanding of patterns and to expand your skillset at pattern alteration and development. If your goal is to leave behind commercial patterns and flesh out your own fashion concepts or to really figure out how mere measurements can gel into a working pattern, this text will help you do it. Since the author is an instructor of fashion design at LA's Trade Technical College, she knows how to teach and what information will really be needed. So stock up on large sheets of pattern paper, clear off a table, and dig in and enjoy!
Rated By: A reader
From: Unavailable
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Problems with the Third Edition
I am using the third edition of this book for my flat pattern drafting class. Despite good recommendations, my classmates and instructors all really dislike the book. I had a chance to compare it with the second edition, and I found out why we have had so many problems (e.g., exercises not working correctly, contradictory information in the text, missing information, etc.). It seems that when the third edition was created, a lot of essential instructions and information were taken out of the book. There are also innumerable editorial errors. As a reference text, this book is voluminous although not comprehensive. A lot of the information is presented with no explanation. There is a lot of conceptual information about pattern drafting that this book doesn't include, and overall, I don't recommend it as a book for teaching oneself how to draft patterns. If you do use it as a text, be prepared to be skeptical of the exercise directions, and remember to use a lot of common sense. Personally, I am now going to try to get a copy of the second edition, because I did really like it. The exercises were easy to follow (unlike the third edition), and the book does tell how to draft just about anything.
Rated By: Nathalie Ryner
From: Sydney Australia
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: patternmaking for fashion design
This book i feel is a great first book on patternmaking for fashion students. The information is clear & easy to follow.Yet for more intricate & complex designs look elsewear.On a personal note I do not like the block making section..And as someone who works in the metric system I find myself waisting a lot of time converting imperial into metric. All that being said i would not be without it.
Rated By: M. A. Moore "ozmoore"
From: Benicia, CA
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: The BEST!!
This is such a great book!! I just took a class in flat pattern drafting and now that I know how to use the book, I feel like I can draft almost anything!!
Rated By: A reader
From: Unavailable
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Designing is a whole new world!
I am fairly new to sewing and, while using the third edition of this book, I continually came up with problems getting the assignments done for class. The third edition has left out many of the basic instructions which are needed for the more novice seamstress. In addition, there were errors in calculations that even I, as a beginner, found. The second edition is more comprehensive and more geared to those with limited knowledge and experience in this field. I would recommend using the second edition for those individuals who may need a little more direction in designing and completing garments.
Rated By: A reader
From: Unavailable
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Patternmaking
A wonderful book for designing your clothes even on amateur level. Good pictures, lots of variations, and excellent guide for implementing designs into patterns. And the best part is the large number of ideas to try. Combined to the Fashion Design Manual by Pamela Stecker one should be able to get personal results.
Rated By: A reader
From: Unavailable
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Great for learning how to manipulate patterns
I was introduced to this book through a pattern making class, and though I have not read this book page-by-page, I found to be very useful. I have a sloper of my own measurements that I use for my own designs, but this book provides a copy of various half-scale slopers you can use to practice with. There is also a chapter on making your own sloper, but I just skimmed over it.

This book teaches you the basic principles behind pattern manipulation. You can use the principles in this book to make original designs of your own. There is so much information in this book that I cannot touch on everything and keep this review short, so it's a bit long. Once you have your own sloper made, and understand the principles that this book teaches you, you will never need to buy a store bought pattern.

There are 36 chapters in this book; and just to give you an idea of how broad a scope of pattern manipulation this book touches on I'll list the chapters:
1. The work room, 2. Model Form and Measurements, 3. Drafting the Basic Pattern Set, 4. Dart Manipulation (Principle #1), 5. Designing with Darts (Tuck-darts, Pleats, Flares, and Gathers), 6. Stylelines, 7. Added Fullness (Principle #2), 8. Yokes, Flanges, Pin Tucks, and Pleat Tucks, 9. Contouring (Principle #3), 10. Collars, 11. Built-up Necklines, 12. Cowls, 13. Skirts/Circles and Cascades, 14. Sleeves, 15. Kimono, Raglan, Drop, Shoulder, and Exaggerated Armholes, 16. Buttons, Buttonholes, and Facings, 17. Plackets and Pockets, 18. Dresses without Waistline Seams (Based on Torso foundation), 19. Strapless Foundations, 20. Patternmaking for Bias-cut Dresses, 21. Shirts, 22. Jackets and Coats, 23. Capes and Hoods, 24. Knock-Off-Copying Ready-Made Designs, 25. Pants, 26. Knits-Stretch and Shrinkage Factors, 27. Knit Foundaiton, 28. Actionwear for Dance and Exercise, 29. Swimwear, 30. Introduction to Childreswear, 31. Drafting the Basic Pattern Set Measurement taking Standard Measurement Charts, 32. Collars, Sleeves, and Skirts, 33. Dresses and Jumpers, 34. Tops, 35. Pant and Jump Suits, 36. Bodysuits, Leotards, Maillots, and Swimwear.

Rated By: A reader
From: Unavailable
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: VERY comprehensive but lacking in basic/beginner's details
This book is packed with dozens of different patterns, from different types of pants to different types of skirts. But I have two gripes with it.

My first problem is that some of the instructions seem like certain, important, key manuvers (i.e. how to blend the hip line into the waist line, from the slack pattern) are more inferred than they are explained. It feels like the author assumes that the reader knows to do this as opposed to that. Unfortunately, little things like that can result in the wrong fit. I wish the author could have explained the instructions more, like why this has to be done and why that won't work... I know this was created for the more experienced sewer but the format seems so much for the beginner.... It just felt a little misleading to see that each step is clearly organized only to find that in between steps there are un-noted, excluded instructions/reasons that are obviously very important to the final pattern.

My second problem is that alot of the styles seem very dated and downright dowdy. Yolks? I don't see many people wearing yolks these days, nor do I see them on ready-to-wear clothes in the stores. I probably have the 2nd edition but still, it wasn't written that long ago. But then again, as they say, to each their own.

I really wanted to give this book 5 stars for being the only comprehensive and somewhat up=to-date book on patternmaking available today but I felt that it could have been much better and less of a struggle for us less-experience sewers. So, if you've taken patternmaking classes before and are well-versed in dressmaking, this book would be great for you. As for the rest of us, this book is not as kind to the beginner.

Rated By: "eidas17"
From: Jamaica West Indies
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: The Teacher's Guide
I am living in Jamaica West Indies,We do not have this book here on the market so a friend who travel brought it and lown it to me .As a fashion desinging teacher i found this book very good,i need one for myself but i can notbuy it through this method.
So the bottom line is i used this book as my teaching guide.
Thank you.
I am,
Cynthia Mcdonald.
31 Aqualitavale Ave,
Kingston 20.
jamaica West Indes.
Rated By: Kim V. "laniana1"
From: Chicago, IL
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: It has its shortcomings
This is the book we use at my college. I can't compare it to other patternmaking books, but I know that Armstrong's has problems and really needs a good editor. Occasionally, steps are missing and measurements aren't accurate, and both my classmates and my teacher have found it frustrating.
Rated By: Jennifer L. Lopez
From: Los Angeles, CA
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: [Knock off]
Okay, this book promises good stuff, but ... could it be any harder to understand? You basically need two books to interpret how to make a single pattern. Very vague. We use this book at FIDM and I think it would have been better if the two books we use were put into one. Use it if you must, because it is a good reference for children's and body suits. Also, the illustrations are better than most.
Rated By: "sparkgrrlx3"
From: Chicago, IL
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Excellent!
This is a great book to learn how to make patterns and also a great reference if you already know how. The pictures and diagrams are very detailed and helpful and the instructions are easy to read. I highly reccomend it!
Rated By: Elizabeth M. Allemong
From: Columbus, OH
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Start learning patternmaking!
Elizabeth M. Allemong from Vestis Books
author of European Cut - How to Draft Basic Slopers for Custom-Made Clothes

This huge and comprehensive textbook prepares college students for making patterns for the ready-to-wear industry. As most patternmaking manuals in this country, the book teaches the American method of drafting slopers with minimum ease included, as well as applying design lines to basic patterns.

What the book does not teach is where and how much to add of design ease. (Wearing ease, design ease, and design or style lines make up the complete sewing pattern). The technique of adding design ease to every possible garment cannot be done in a book of hundreds pages; this book would have to be thousands of pages. Readers must understand that.

Adding design ease depends on several factors, for example: type of garment, occasion, fashion silhouette, fabric, type of fit, etc. Professional patternmakers know these factors and they consider them carefully, whether they make patterns for factories, pattern companies, or individual clients. (I imagine that students attending Armstrong's classes at the L.A. Trade-Technical College learn about adding design ease.) I learned about adding ease in my school.

Would I recommend this book to a home-sewer who wants to start learning patternmaking? Wholeheartedly! While I prefer to use the European method of drafting basic slopers, I used Armstrong's book extensively when I was learning to apply design lines. Adding design lines is universal, regardless of what method of drafting slopers one uses.

Armstrong's book is also rich in details of other aspects of patternmaking, like contouring, an important patternmaking principle, often forgotten by other books. The reader must also remember that while faddish designs change quickly, classic designs remain the same. The purpose of this book is to learn basic patternmaking so that making any future patterns, regardless of style, becomes possible. Helen Joseph Armstrong prepares her students well.
Rated By: Tanisha Roy "tanisharoy"
From: New York,NY
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: HELP with this book
Some of the reviewers are right This book definitely is tough and hard to understand.Could any one please help me with the slinky skirt pattern on page 254-255 I just couldnt make head or tail of it.PLEASE HELP SOMEBODY.
Do send me a mail at
Rated By: C. Clarke "trinibunny"
From: Trinidad, W.I.
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: A godsend
I learned to sew a long time ago as a little girl, and as ten year old I could not identify with the outdated sketches in the pattern drafting books my mother had in her possession. This book on the other hand inspires creativity, I look in it and I see her explaining methods that result in clothes close to what you see on the runway. She doesn't get into haute couture but you can make some pretty darn amazing stuff using her instructions. She also includes variations and encourages readers to practice or at least figure out the method used to achieve it. I did think that she could have had more clearly defined areas for her basic blocks, and she really didn't delve deeply enough into pants for me. Overall though I am thrilled with this book and even though in my money it is six times the price you see, I think it was a great investment!
Rated By: S. Baker "copper tresses"
From: Unavailable
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: A plea from a taller woman
A tall woman with shoulders broadened by swimming, I spent hours looking for clothes (in flattering colors) that actually fit. Although I hadn't sewn much since I was in 4-H more than 30 years ago, I was inspired when I saw the marvelous patterns in this book and was able to follow the instructions fairly readily. This work, and the marvelous book, the Triumph of Individual Style by Carla Mathis and Helen Connor, have allowed me to dress in both flattering and expressive ways. Simultaneously, I would love it if Ms. Armstrong would include in future editions information relevant to pattern making and modification for the thousands and thousands of women taller than the sizes specified in standard misses patterns, information that I ended up culling from less comprehensive books on pattern alteration.
Rated By: Tracey
From: Wisconsin
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Excellent resource
This book contains everything the experienced person needs to get a good start at making their own patterns. Obviously, you'd need to be at least at the intermediate level to even contemplate a larger project . . .
Rated By: Happy Sewer
From: Wellington, NZ
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: good value
I have found this book to be excellent. Heaps of clear diagrams and written in plain english. The only thing I would have liked it to include is grading.
Rated By: Everything's Going to Be Sew K!
From: Cape Cod, MA
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Great but doesn't include draping details
I am an experienced sewer. I learned to sew professionally at the age of 12 when I attended the Singer Dressmaking Program during the summer and have been sewing ever since. I purchased this book based on recommendations I read in and I am not disappointed. The instructions are very detailed and clear. I think the program could be enhanced if it also contained information on how to drape as it is also part of the pattern-making process when you're designing clothes. I don't believe you have to be an experienced sewer to enjoy this book. In fact, I am thinking of purchasing a copy to give to my younger sister for her birthday. She will be 41 and is just learning how to sew, on her own at that!