Book Review: Patternmaking in Fashion Step by Step. Lucia Mors de Castro

Book Review: PatternMaking in Fashion Step by Step/ La creation des patrons de mode pas a pas/ Schnittmuster entwerfen schritt fur schritt by Lucia Mors de Castro

PATTERNMAKING IN FASHION Step by Step by Lucia Mors de Castro (book cover)

First thoughts- cool, cool, coolcoolcool, cool (Abed’s voice). It is a soft cover book but the spine is actually stitched instead of  being glued so you can have it laid open while you are drafting (this is a massive plus in my book). The patterns are awesome, the drafting is based on the Muller and Sohn system which is a German drafting system oft-quoted as being the best in the world. I’ve looked for German textbooks based on this system and they’re all expensive (and not in English). Given Google Translate’s propensity for turning German language sewing instructions into English language soft porn* this book is a BOON (of the non-Mills-& variety).

On to the actual review- the basic sloper drafting instructions start with the taking of measurements (they’ve used a fairly attractive model with a healthy, athletic body type- a massive improvement over books like The Perfect Fit that use headless cadavers from the eighties) and proceed through making sleeve, top and skirt slopers. The instructions are comprehensive, profusely illustrated, and multilingual (English, French and German). And then-cue Game of Thrones music- it walks you through a basic skirt, a wrapped tulip skirt, a pleated/ draped skirt, basic separates, an awe-frackin-some oval (60s style) dress, a flouncy jacket and a fitted leather jacket, explaining all the reasons for specific fitting and cut decisions. If you actually go through this I have a feeling you’ll start to see clothes in a totally different way-i.e. you will understand (to some extent, based on your intelligence/ interest/ level of oxygen your respiratory system is able to conduct to your brain) the whys and hows of dressmaking. Its like seeing the matrix code underlying fabric design**. The mind boggles.

Pros

  • When I read this book in my head it is in Salma Hayek’s voice.
  • The author cut her teeth on couture dressmaking at Vivienne Westwood’s Studio.
  • It is a German pattern making book in three languages (apparently there are other editions in other languages too). This is the Top Gear equivalent of a BMW that speaks to you in three languages (about pattern making).
  • It is metric (people, you cannot infiltrate the Matrix in empirical. Take my word for it).
  • Printed in Spain-the paper is nice  *happy sigh* none of that rough stuff made from the ground up bones of Chinese dissidents.

Cons

None that I can think of-oh wait, it sucks that I don’t have someone to help me take awesome measurements and stop time so I can draft, fit and sew all the awesome patterns in this book and still have enough time to sew all the other things on my to do list.

Homework

Read the reviews for this book on Amazon.com. Most are written by beings of greater experience and wisdom than myself. If you’re in the Antipodes (read Australia, New Zealand and surrounds) do yourself a favour and compare the pricing for this book (and all others) on The Book Depository vs. Amazon.co.uk. Amazon UK has (real) free shipping to the Antipodes on most books that I have found to be consistently cheaper than that offered by the bookdepository (especially so if you’re buying multiple books). Not anymore. Sorry. Use booko to compare prices+shipping across sites.

Conclusion

If you can only afford one pattern-making book get this one (I say this as a starving student who has starved in order to acquire both Helen Joseph Armstrong’s Pattern Making book and Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s wear neither of which are anywhere near as awesome for drafting blocks but both of which make great encyclopaedias/ reference books).

Disclaimer

Don’t blame me if this book fails to lend you wings – I am near incapable of seriousness under normal*** conditions.

*Oddly enough Google Translate is great at translating Dutch sewing instructions to English (this may be a indication of the clarity and non-colloquial-ness of Dutch (as compared to German), rather than a result of any awesomeness in Google Translate’s algorithm for the latter).

**Yes you will be the Neo of dressmaking. Use your powers responsibly and don’t be a tool. Actual results may vary, exclusions apply, there may or may not be dragons (see above).

***My definition of the word normal is unfortunately, always in flux.

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