Sewing book review: Pattern Magic 3 – now in English!

I don’t buy sewing books very often these days, usually preferring to get my information and inspiration from the internet and sewing pattern magazines, but I’ve found so much inspiration from the Japanese design schools lately that I just can’t say no when these are translated into English.

If you recall, I reviewed the first two Pattern Magic books here, and then, just recently the first Drape Drape book was also released in English (with the second coming out later this year).

Drape Drape uses included patterns which you trace off and sew, but the Pattern Magic books all rely on instructions for altering your existing sloper, so they can work for pretty much any size or shape person.

The big difference in this third book is that all the patterns here are designed for stretch fabrics, which adds a whole new level of fun! But of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t use stretch fabrics for the designs in the first two books – I’ve already made the flip-turned top twice as teeshirts, though I did have a great boost in understanding the Pattern Magic instructions on the Morley College “Pattern Magic” course I took earlier this year (I’m eagerly awaiting the new course guide so I can sign up for the rumoured class on this new book next year!).

EDIT: Stop presses! Morley College have posted their courses for next year, and they’re offering courses on each of the Pattern Magic books again!!

So enough intro, let’s have a look at some of the wonderful (and weird!) designs in this instalment!

The first design that caught my eye is this “Pea in a Pod A” – I just love all the gathers as you see it on the model, and I was shocked to see how easy the pattern looks on paper! It’s just two identical shirt shapes, one too large, and one to small, so the seams wrap around to the smaller side! So clever!

The shoulders on this “Sharp and Snappy D” top remind me a lot of the shoulder variations seen at the Maison Martin Margiela exhibit a few years ago. You’d have to choose your fabric very carefully for this to get one with enough body to hold the point. Maybe a sweatshirting would do well here, and be a fun echo of the shoulder pads worn by American footballers?

There are a few “Roots” designs, which are variations on a theme, but I like A and B best.

OK, I just could not stop laughing at this one! It’s supposed to be a top with an integrated hood, but all I could see was The Great Cornolio! “I need TP for my bunghole!” (That’s Beavis & Butthead reference for anyone who wasn’t a teenager in the 1990s…)

And finally, I just love the simplicity of these “Apple Peel B” leggings (“Apple Peel A” is a shrug). Better yet, if you’ve already got a leggings pattern that fits you, there’s no real drafting required, either! Just slash and spread the outer leg seam to create pleats the whole way down…

Unlike the previous Pattern Magic books, this one includes the fixed-size, full slopers in fold-out patterns sheets at the back of the book, so if you’d rather work from a standard (tiny Japanese) size, then you can just trace one off.

Any guesses which design I’ve already started on? Ok, I’ll give you a (really obvious) clue!

Pattern Magic 3 (English version) is out now and available to buy on Amazon UK and Amazon US. My review copy was a birthday gift, and not a promotional copy, just sayin’.

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