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Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  451 ratings  ·  57 reviews
If you’ve ever watched Project Runway and wished you were a contestant, or you’re simply ready to take your sewing to a new level, Design-It-Yourself Clothes teaches you the fundamentals of modern patternmaking so that you, too, can create your own inspired clothing.

Until now, the aspiring DIY fashionista has been hard-pressed to find self-teaching tools other than dry text
Paperback, 158 pages
Published September 22nd 2009 by Potter Craft
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Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, sewing
First off, this book is not for people who don't already know how to sew. You should have already sewn a few garments (so that you know what the general steps are when constructing them, because even though it's included here, it's done in a huge paragraph that you're better off not trying to follow) and have a working knowledge of sewing terms (which is weird when the author goes on to differentiate between muslin the cloth and muslin the garment you use to try on for fitting purposes).

This lo
Indiana Jayne
Feb 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If you have some sewing experience (eg know the basics) and are interested in learning how to draft your own patterns, I can't recommend this book highly enough.

I've been sewing for 28 years and have made all sorts of garments, but I've never really taken the time to learn about fit and tailoring in any detail. I wanted to start at the beginning and go back and really learn the basic garment shapes, how to properly measure the body, how to draft slopers, etc. Most books I came across
Alethea A
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sewing
It's really, really hard for me not to go online and order this book immediately. The clothes are very casual--just the kind of thing I'd wear--but also structured. No sloppy Walmart shoppers here. The best thing is no patterns to figure out--at least, not any that come with the book. The book actually teaches you how to come up with your own pattern from your own measurements, using basic exercises and clear instructions you can actually make these clothes fit you perfectly. The book only shows ...more
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: other-stuff
I need to test it more seriously, but so far, very disappointing:

- the tone is too cutesy ( "ah, brownies". And let Laura Ingalls Wilde be the judge of what she would like. And the word stylizing, urgh) or too trendy ( "it is no secret sewing is the new hot craft") in a way that gets on my nerves. And instructions to make muslin versions time and again anytime one wants to make alterations make my teeth grind. Uh, no, generations of thrifty grandmothers in my blood would basically ki
Dec 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: costume
Not for me. In the introduction, she writes, "The clothing we currently wear tends to be relatively simple from a patternmaker's point of view. We don't wear finely tailored suits or dresses with princess seams, darts, and gussets. We wear simple knit tops, skirts, loose dresses, basic woven shirts, and pants. Their style tends to come from details, as opposed to dramatic or complicated cut and construction. Thus, it's quite possible to teach today's sewers how to make their own patterns. And th ...more
Aug 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've taken several classes with Cal, both in-person and online, and this book is like having my lovely friend in the room with me. Up until this weekend, I've just been dipping in and out of it. After reading it cover-to-cover, I am excited to draft my own a-line skirt and button down blouse! Cal includes a ton of information in a style that is easy and fun to read. Be inspired!
Sarah Mottaghinejad
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
You know how you find the perfect dress--except maybe it would look better if it were a little longer, and the color doesn't really work with your complexion, and the you don't quite fill out the bodice or you fill it just a little too well? You find yourself thinking about what would truly make it perfect, yet none of these big time fashion designers seem to be in step and you can't really just go and make it yourself, right? I mean, pattern making is like the Holy Trinity and why hot dogs come ...more
Tracy Shephard
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is not for the faint is NOT a pattern book.

What it is, is a brilliant and informative guide in how to create your own patterns to make your own designs and creations. 

It is just like having a one to one dressmaking lesson in your own home all for the price of one book. 

You will learn how to draft, fit and customise patterns for your size and shape that will fit perfectly every time. Included are Dresses, Skirts, t'shirts, Blouses and Trou
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
nonfiction (advanced sewing/patternmaking).
This shows you how to draft your own made-to-order/personalized-fitting patterns from scratch (there are no actual patterns in this book), and then how to adapt those patterns (slash and spread) to create various styles. While I am not in the mood to attempt such a project now, the instructions appeared to be pretty good. See also Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing for actual patterns that she shows you how to adjust to fit to your measurements and mor
Sandi Dickenson
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book from our library's e-collection. Was quite impressed to discover the digital links worked fine.
The author covers very basic pattern construction and alteration for casual and general purpose garments. I am an experienced sewist and found them to be useful as a starting point.
I think anyone with sound sewing experience who is familiar with pattern alterations and manipulations would benefit from this book if they want to branch out and go beyond what they can do with tradi
Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: orlando-library
Only skimmed the book but seems like reasonably good instruction for simple clothing shapes for non-curvy bodies. The value is more in how to adapt the initial basic pattern for each item to create unique clothing.
Andrea McDowell
Sep 29, 2013 rated it liked it
This is, first of all, about a million times better than Improv Sewing. You can click through and read my review of that title if you'd like; or you can satisfy yourself with the knowledge that Improv Sewing is the first, last and only book on sewing that I have actually been offended by. I can't understand why anyone would want to go to all the trouble of sewing their own clothes from their own patterns and not also want to take the steps of making sure it does not look like crap.

In the ca
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I read the beginning pages, the first think I can think of is how warm is the author's tone toward the reader. She gives good encouragement for the reader to make their own clothes pattern. I knew and I know that patternmaking is not an easy task (actually, I'm still struggling to make one until now), but she talked and ensured me that patternmaking is an enjoyable learning, and it ease my tense about drafting my first pattern.

Second of all, I felt that she really did the effort
Nov 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, non-fiction, sewing
I'm always watching for good books on pattern design. This one is very practical. Cal Patch starts at the beginning of flat pattern design, which is the technique I often use. She guides the reader step-by-step to create a custom-fit skirt, T-shirt, woven shirt, and pants and then shows how to add different design elements and vary the basic patterns for a wider variety of styles. For someone who already knows all the basics of sewing, this is a great book to use to develop pattern design skills ...more
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, hobbies, 2013
I would give this book 3.5 stars. It was really easy to understand her drafting process. Her writing is easy to follow. Good thing because there are not very many illustrations for the process. I would have liked it better if there had been some mention of darts in the basic shirt pattern. I have a feeling it may be pretty big on a large-busted woman. I can get that info from other sources, though. Overall, I am really excited to work on some of these projects, and I will most likely end up buyi ...more
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, sewing
I read this book cover to cover after taking Cal Patch's Creativebug class on pattern drafting. I got this book from the library, but after reading it, I now must own it so I can dig into drafting my own clothes patterns and making the clothing. Cal's instructions are straightforward and simple to understand how to get from one step to the next. Her teaching style is very calm and laid back, which is reassuring for newbies like me. I can't wait to play around with the variations she suggests to each ba ...more
Feb 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a great introductory text and makes pattern drafting seem entirely possible. I did encounter some troubles though in adjusting my muslin when I came to the t-shirt, and perhaps more could have been included to help resolve some common fitting problems. I really liked the idea of five basic patterns with several variations on each, and the styling and fabrics were all really attractive and motivating. Other people have commented they didn't like Cal Patch's writing style but in the circum ...more
Nov 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book zings right over my head as a person with beginner sewing skills and zero drafting skills. It's not that I don't understand - it's that more instruction is given through written paragraphs than with diagrams or visual aides. It's a tough subject to teach to someone through the medium of a book, I suppose. Standing next to a teacher who can say "draw your line like This" would probably help me more.

It did help me understand the whys and hows of pattern drafting, but I need m
Nov 27, 2015 rated it liked it
The actual writing is a little on the twee side, but it's nice of Patch to be so encouraging. At some points it feels like there are holes in directions, nothing you can't find more information about online, but I prefer a more complete approach. Still a good overview of pattern drafting for an ambitious beginner or a self-taught hobbyist. Skills are taught through specific projects in a "building-on" order, and most of the designs would work as casual pieces within a either modern or slightly b ...more
I just made my first skirt using the instructions in this book, and I'm so excited! For beginning sewists, I would recommend this book only in conjunction with another (like Sew U) that gives more detailed instructions on sewing and stuff like inserting zippers. But for patternmaking, I'm thrilled to have this as a resource.

I'm not rating the book yet because I haven't tried the more difficult patterns, and I'm very skeptical that Patch doesn't include any darts in her upper-body patte
Jan 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
I've just started drafting a pattern for one of the skirts in the book, and am finding Cal Patch's instructions easy to follow. She is good at making the steps understandable and logical - why am I making this dart here, or how should I plan the sweep of the skirt?
I'm guessing this will be one of my most useful books on pattern-making and sewing, as the layout is good, the pictures look inviting, and the language is easy to follow.
I highly recommend this book to those who want to learn ho
Oct 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Melissa H.
I'm not completely finished with this but I think it's safe to say that this book will be at the top of my Christmas wish list. This book is awesome, especially for someone who would rather make their own patterns rather than buy them. The styles in this book are cute, but I love that the authors gives readers a lot of options on how to change things and make personalized patterns and styles. I have actually already used some of the instructions to make a skirt; they were pretty easy to follow, ...more
Jan 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm not a fan of sewing books that are to technical. I need something fun, easy and quick to follow. This book was perfect for that. It gives you the basics for designing your own patterns. Now I can understand sewing patterns better. Which will come in handy when I need to modify them. It's a good book to have on hand for reference.

I didn't care for the designs in the book (not my taste), but I didn't read this book for that. I read this book in hopes it would teach me to design my own pattern
Nov 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book to help understand pattern making. I have not yet made anything from this book and now realize that they don't include how to put together a garment, just how to create the patterns. Currently sewing clothes, this has helped me understand better how to adjust patterns for a better fit. This book, through a blog review of it, led me to The Perfect Fit, which goes through specifics of pattern modifications. This other book is very helpful not only because of the directions but ...more
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-chipublib
An intensely useful book, including the clearest, most accessible discussions of basic pattern drafting that I've found since I started sewing. The language and illustrations are clear, concise, and as complete as I can want at this point (I'm sure I'll have questions not answered here down the line). My one misgiving is that the two models used throughout the book are both very thin with similar body types - and in a book that has such utility for sewists outside the typical straight-size sizin ...more
Melissa Ennis
Dec 30, 2013 rated it liked it
I'm not exactly sure where this book is aimed. There's lots on basic sewing, which is helpful if you're a new seamstress. But IMHO, a new seamstress will get farther on commercial patterns than on custom-drafted ones.

OTOH, custom-drafted patterns are friendly to the non-standard figure, and 98% of the planet has some sort of non-standard figure. This could be very handy, since the basic garments are classic designs that are easily tweak-able.
MaLora Ann
I am learning a lot about how to draft patterns and the geometry necessary for making your own patterns. However, most of the patterns are unflattering for most body types. Her instructions are limited and not well organized, and more garment construction visuals would make it a lot easier. This book is great for the intermediate Sewist who wants to learn more about drafting and doesn't mind being adventurous with changing the instructions given.
Sep 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Cal does a great job in describing how to draft patterns and the line drawings that go along with the steps helped me enormously in trying to understand the concepts. If anything, I would have welcomed fewer photographs of the models and clothes and more explanation, line drawings or photos in the sections on sewing the clothing pieces, making patterns from existing clothes and insider sewing techniques. Sewing invisible zippers still eludes me!
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it
This seems to me (a beginner) a great introduction to pattern drafting. It gives you just enough rules of thumb paired with actual measurements to make you feel somewhat confident that you are learning something that you could carry on to making simple designs of your own. There is just enough hand holding to make your first few projects turn out really well (the basic "t" I have made so far did) and inspire a little branching out.
Jan 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I have been waiting for this book for SO long! As someone who makes up her own patterns for clothing but has absolutely NO formal training in patternmaking, I gobbled this one up as soon as I got it. I can't wait to start on some of these projects. For an amateur like me who wants to make patterns for themselves, this is a must-read!

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