Book Review: PatternMaking for a Perfect Fit by Steffani Lincecum

Book Review: PatternMaking for a Perfect Fit by Steffani Lincecum

Sub-title – Using the rub-off technique to re-create and redesign your favorite fashions

Patternmaking for a perfect fit by Steffani Lincecum

First thoughts- The model on the cover looks better in reds than she does in pastels. Why doesn’t this book cover pants? Pants is (mostly) what I bought it for. If that is exactly what you’re thinking, read no further and go check out this video on accurately reproducing pants (by the master of accurate pants reproduction) and this blog.

On to the actual review- this book shows you a step wise (non-destructive) technique for copying a pre-existing garment right from laying out the garment correctly and finding its grain line to making the pattern, adding seam allowances, and fitting. It also shows you how to modify the copied pattern into other styles. Most importantly, it shows you how to alter vintage styles for a contemporary, modern fit (bullet bras and corsets are neither modern nor contemporary as far as I’m concerned so this is a plus for me).

Pros

  • Shows you how to copy a purse pattern.
  • Shows you how to alter vintage patterns for a modern contemporary fit-this is like a cheat code for sewing in god-mode, you will be an invincible demi-god and your enemies will be crushed and impaled upon stakes like moths on a pinning board (pinned by an amateur Lepidopterist on meth).
  • Incorporates a good number of pro techniques into the copying protocol that the author earned from her multiple decades (I skim read, I do not memorise if you want exact numbers buy the book, or cross your fingers and browse it on Amazon) of costume and vintage garment reproduction that you may not find elsewhere and that may be difficult/ unintuitive to figure out on your own. A prime example- you should endeavour to make your reproduction from the same/ similar fabric as the original. I failed to absorb this enlightened logic and made my partner a perfectly reproduced pair of boxer briefs in fabric with slightly (read approximately 20%) less stretch than the originals. It is a tribute to his gentlemanly-ness that he tried them on (somehow) before declaring them ‘somewhat small’ and offering many words of encouragement (a wider seam allowance perchance?).
  • Things like professionally (read, not haphazardly) adding ease and sizing up from the original pattern are covered in a fairly understandable manner (i.e. Don’t just add width to the centre, larger sizes do not equate to wider shoulders etc. Sage advice that methinks the big four pattern companies would do well to read).

Cons

  • I am not interested in purse patterns.
  • Where are the pants? Will there be another book for those? (it doesn’t matter I’ve already seen the David Coffin video and if it works for boy-shorts it works for everything else pant-like).

Asides

  • Actually contains more than one technique for copying garments.
  • I read this book in a more focused manner for this review than I did when skim -reading it for fun/ using it as a reference.

Homework

There are heaps of videos on copying garments on Youtube. If you are one of those people who prefer being shown rather than being told (and aren’t aiming for ‘completeness’ on your bookshelf as opposed to owning a house one day) stick to those or at least check them out and have a browse of this book using Amazon’s Look Inside! Feature to compare the two.

Conclusion

This is a good investment if you seriously want to get into copying clothes that fit well and get professional results (bearing in mind that things can still go wrong- for example one of the t-shirts I copied is so old and distorted that the sleeve on the final pattern looks unhinged even to the untrained eye, and will need serious modification).

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