Pattern Magic Stretch Fabrics Review + Giveaway

Author: Tomoko Nakamichi

Publisher: Lawrence King

ISBN: 9781856698276

Language: English (which means if it turns out weird there won’t be anyone to blame, ho ho ho).

Disclaimer: I bought this book from The Book Depository as a gift for a friend who’s just gotten into sewing. The book arrived damaged and I was sent a free replacement (thanks guys, much appreciated) which I’ve gifted. The dented original is this month’s giveaway. It’ll be sitting under a pile of reference books all month and should’ve recovered somewhat by the time the winner gets drawn. The damage is visual and does not affect usability (I just didn’t want to gift a damaged item as a birthday present).

First thoughts

  • Oh gawd there’s some some sort of mangled-hand-bag-looking sac on the back (obviously sewn on a straight stitch sewing machine by a beginner).
  • Oh yay there are sloper patterns inside!

On to the actual review

Like the two previous instalments, there are a few batshit-crazy-tripping-on-acid patterns that are fun to look at and (mentally) deconstruct but visibly inconvenient and/or angst (of the wardrobe malfunction kind) – inspiring  to wear (less so than some of the mutations from the Drape Drape series – also out in English now). For instance the ‘wear it wrong’ top actually looks like a top worn the wrong way. This will not bode well at the workplace (worse at job interviews- ‘What was that? You like drafting? Did you draft this top which you’re wearing with your head through the sleeve?’ I’m picturing Donald Trump’s rug going nuclear).

But wait, there’s more! I’ve omitted it because I don’t need a copyright attorney feeding directly off my jugular.

The modifications range from effortless to painstaking and the instructions are clear, concise, and well illustrated [200 illustrations! (exclamation mark-mine) beat that Burda!].

This is the simplest one. It’s basically two long swathes of fabric, like the ties on an infinity dress.

Some of the ‘experiments’ include twists, superimposition, scaling up (and down), layering and utilising the stretch-compression qualities of the fabric used. Due to this, some of the patterns are do-able only on lighter silk jersey type knits while others are more suited to sweat-shirting.

Or, make ’em out of Kevlar and you’ve got a motorcycle jacket.Those wings should prop up a horizontal bike at 110 kmph.


The chick doing the modelling looks fairly hot in some of the shots and disproportionately freak-limbed in others. No idea what’s going on there so I’m assuming these garments bestow special powers of some sort on the wearer.

Yea, pants. I know. I see ’em too.  See how her hands are normal-sized here?

Lana! Quick, strangle him with your giant man-hands!

The good: Fun for playing around with pattern modifications. If you yearn for unstructured clothing in the style of Nom*d/ Alphaville then this is the book for you (although it still may be a little out there). It’s also for you if you have the first two books and just want this to complete your collection. If you enjoy gifting hardcore books to amateurs and watching them sweat as the jersey gets sucked into their sewing machine cogs for the nth time – ka-ching! You’ve got your money’s worth.

Don’t ask what that drape is around the neck. Don’t. The best sausages are always made of mystery meat.

The slightly less good: If you tend to buy awesome sewing/ pattern making related books that end up on the coffee table/ in the book case – this is your kryptonite. If you’ve made nothing from the first two, you’re unlikely to use this one. There are less wearable items in this book than there were in the first two and the wearable ones among them aren’t as ‘magical’ as those in the first book (read, vanishing lapels, bamboo shoot etc). Here’s how I see it:

Pattern Magic Book I, Make* to meh ratio: 7/13

Pattern Magic Book II, Make to meh ratio: 8/22

Pattern Magic Book III (the one being reviewed, pay attention, I’m almost done) Make to meh ratio: 9/27 (but those 9, overall, look easier and more achievable than the earlier 7 and 8).

*Make, in this instance, implies items I’d like to make rather than items I’ve actually made.

Want it? Leave a comment on this post and any other post(s) in this blog. I’d like to know if you’ve ever made a Pattern Magic project [if you have a blog where you’ve posted your makes please link the (exact) post in your comment].

As always, this giveaway is open internationally and will end at the end of the month (June 30th, 2012).

Previous volumes of Pattern Magic reviewed here and here (yea I know. I tried to find a regular person blog review of the English versions but no one seems to have any images up. How the hell are you supposed to decide whether you want to spend the money or not without images?

Edit 7th June, 2012: More fabulous inspiration here.

Disclaimer: All images are used under fair use guidelines for purposes of review and discussion, and remain copyright of their original owners.

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