Book Club


Welcome to a new Closet Case Files feature: Book Club! You may not know that I am a total book and reading nut. I have grade school report cards that complained to my mother about the novels I hid behind my textbooks in class, and I have to wear glasses because I used to try and read by the light of my alarm clock after getting busted reading under the covers with a flashlight one too many times. So, it’s appropriate that I have a few publishers sending me titles to review these days. Books make me very, very happy, especially ones crammed with information about sewing.

With the veritable explosion of DIY fashion culture, the craft section of the book store is becoming an increasingly exciting place to be (especially considering the upcoming releases by Colette & Tilly!)  Many of you probably already have a great sewing library filled with vintage sewing books, or some of the newer releases by Gertie, Burdastyle, Christine Haynes, Sewaholic or Colette. These are all invaluable resources, but for those of use who want to take our sewing game up a few notches, a thumb eared copy of a pattern making book is invaluable.

Let me introduce you to your new bible:Pattern Making by Dennic Chunman Lo. Laurence King sent this gem after I reviewed Draping: The Complete Course (another must for your sewing library). The author is a professor at London College of Fashion, as well as an independent fashion designer. Pretty solid bonafides.


I was intrigued by the Patternmaking title since I’m a self taught pattern maker. I’ve used a very of tutorials, technical textbooks and classes in my own practice, but I was curious about what a book designed for the layperson would look like. I was not disappointed.

Patternmaking walks you step by step through the pattern making process. There is a great chapter on the kinds of materials and supplies needed, which makes the scary drafting tool section of your fabric store much less intimidating.

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After explaining the basic fundamentals of pattern making, Chunman Lo walks you through drafting a simple bodice, sleeve, pant and skirt block. These blocks can then be used as a base for designing new garments.

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Pattern designing is highly technical and mathy (which appeals very much to my left brain) but the methods used in this book break down every step in an easy to comprehend way. The books includes a lot of “cheat sheet” information that explains common pattern making rules and measurements – invaluable!

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After the more basic pattern making principles are covered, the book moves on to more complicated and advanced pattern making techniques. Using designs by the author, you learn how to use your basic blocks to create unique patterns. This section was not as long as I would have liked, but it would be impossible to cover everything in one book (or a dozen, for that matter). I would LOVE to see a book that breaks down the pattern making techniques of designer or couture designs – something like the Cutting Class in book form (Hey Lawrence King – that blogger deserves a book deal!)

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Finally, Patternmaking provides basic information on transferring you pattern to a digital format, and some basic information on computerized drafting.

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Overall, I was thrilled with this title. I think Pattern Making is very successful at breaking down the pattern making process in a way most people with a basic knowledge of garment construction will understand. If you are interested in designing your own clothes, this would be a great book to get started with. I think it would be especially helpful for drafting custom slopers, but you will probably need additional resources to work out fitting issues.

Does anyone else own this book?

Would you be interested in learning to draft your own patterns or do you prefer working from commercial offerings? I’d love to know!