Inspired by nature and geometry, this Japanese series of Pattern Magic books offers fashion designers & dressmakers the chance to be more playful with pattern cutting. Each design comes with step by step written and photographed instructions making these intriguing designs possible.
(Please note that I have not been paid to write this review, I just wanted to share our resources and provide you with a genuine review. We do however make a small amount of commission with any affiliate links you may use )
Who are the Pattern Magic books for?
This series of books is ideal for intermediate & advanced fashion designer/dressmaker. In the series, Tomoko Nakamichi has written 4 books, 3 which use woven fabrics and one of which uses stretch fabrics. I would be lying if I said these books are good for a beginner as you need some knowledge of pattern cutting and sewing to be able to use and understand the processes required to make the designs. That said, they're also great books if you would just like some design inspiration for a collection or for fashion illustrations.
For me, these are timeless books and I know any sewing enthusiast would be over the moon if they received one of these books as a present. Every time you look through them you'll see new ideas and each book provides infinite design inspiration, they're definitely value for money.
Why are the Pattern Magic books so good?
One of the best bits about the books is that Japanese born Tomoko Nakamichi has created these sculptural designs so they can be incorporated into other designs/outfits. I can imagine many of the designs making up a part of a red carpet outfit or to be worn at a Sunday brunch just by using different fabrics. For example, this front top section below, from Pattern Magic, could create a beautiful bodice section for a silk dress or the perfect front of a top in a light cotton fabric.
I first saw these books in a Japanese book shop in London (I'm sad to say this shop has now closed) and I was so excited to see something different to your usual make at home sewing book. The only problem for me was that they were all in Japanese (I'm sorry I don't speak Japanese). When I got back home, as a fashion student at the time, I had a look on the internet and luckily I found the first Pattern Magic book had now been published in English, and after a few clicks, it was on its way to me. I've now bought a few of the series and they never fail to inspire. Every time I look at them they provide new ideas for other designs or just a great 3D fashion jigsaw puzzle; as a lover of jigsaw puzzles, this is a great variation of the classic puzzle for me.
I can't show you these books without showing you one of my favourite ideas, 'a vanishing pocket', as shown below from Pattern Magic 2. It's such an intriguing design, at first look the pocket looks normal and then upon looking again it just disappears into the garment. This and the top above are just two of many designs in the books that can be incorporated with other ideas or can be used to create a feature for a simple garment.
Having made a few of these designs, my advice would be to always label your pattern pieces, use more notches than you've ever used before and number the corresponding notches. Sometimes the pieces can look so distorted or they are so intricate that you will need all the markings you can get to sew them together in fabric. This dress below, from Pattern Magic, is one design that I found to require numerous numbered notches since once you've dissected the pattern and cut it out of fabric, matching the curves becomes a lot more tricky.
You might find it helpful to use our free Introduction to Pattern Cutting eBook to what you should have on every pattern as well as giving a better understanding of all the pattern cutting symbols.
Where can you buy them?
If you click on the images of the books below they'll take you over to Amazon where you can buy these books from anywhere in the world.
I would thoroughly recommend any of these books and you don't need to use them in order, just have a quick look at the contents page (previewed on the listings) and see which designs tickle your fancy the most. If you're anything like me that decision will be too big and you'll end up buying them all.
If you've tried out any of the projects in the Pattern Magic books, I'd love to see, tag me in your creations on Instagram using @thesewingretreat