Category Archives: Books

Review: “How To Make Sewing Patterns”, Second Edition

Don McCunn’s book How To Make Sewing Patterns came to me when I first started investigating fitting.  It was recommended in response to my question on PatternReview’s discussion forums, asking for a treatment of the subject that catered to men’s as well as women’s physiques.


Covers: First Edition on the left, Second Edition on the right.

I feel fortunate to have learned pattern making from this book first, because it provides a conceptual basis to flat pattern work.  It explains how seams and darts, pleats and gathers can actually shape fabric to fit a three-dimensional body. I reviewed the first edition for this blog.

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Every Menswear Pattern Ever

…or at least, it seems like it.

Generally at the Bay Area Sewists meetups, I’m the only guy present and the door prize (usually a women’s sewing pattern, or a book filled with women’s sewing projects) isn’t really something that I’m going to sew.

Which is fine with me – I’m there to meet other sewists, look at what others have done, and exchange ideas.  It’s one of the things that I accept for taking on a hobby that has a miniscule amount of male participation.

Yesterday’s meetup was at the Sips N Sews studio.  And though I didn’t win the door prize this time around, I did walk out with an entire tub of menswear patterns:

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A New Toy

I’ve been reading David Coffin’s brand new book, The Shirtmaking Workbook: Pattern, Design, and Construction Resources. It’s a wonderful book, and it’s best described as the “yang” to the “yin” of his classic book, Shirtmaking: Developing Skills For Fine Sewing. While Shirtmaking centered mostly on skills and technique in construction, this new book concentrates on design inspiration and pointers to helpful resources.

I’ll probably post a detailed review here soon, but if you’re reading this blog you should just go out and buy it.  It has a ton of content, and it’s more than worth the price.

Coffin discusses digital pattern drafting in the early portion of the book, and describes his workflow using a large-format office printer/scanner to scan patterns and garments, edit the patterns in Adobe illustrator, and print on large format paper (13×19 inches).  With a machine that can gulp in scans that large (11×17 inches), you can scan large pattern pieces and even whole garments into the computer fairly easily.  And printing out patterns is a lot easier because there’s a lot less cutting and taping involved.

I’ve shied away from print-at-home patterns for the most part, as well as using a computer to do my own pattern work. I don’t like cutting and taping letter-sized sheets a whole lot.  And I simply don’t have the space for a large-format plotter, like many digital pattern junkies have.

Following his recommendation in the book, I recently purchased an Epson Workforce WF-7610 printer.

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Japanese Pattern Book Winner, and New Patterns!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Japanese Pattern Book contest.  I really appreciated hearing what you think of the blog, as well as the suggestions for projects for me to work on.

One surprise was the votes of support for non-garment projects such as the recent Duffel Bag project. It was gratifying to hear there’s a segment of my readership that really likes those types of projects, and I definitely have more planned for the future.

There were a total of 14 entrants to the contest.  The Internet Random Number Generator picked the winner.


The lucky winner was reader “Auschick in VA”, 12th in the list of entrants:

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Japanese Men’s Pattern Book GIVEAWAY!

I’m very proud to offer you my first blog giveaway ever at Line of Selvage!

I’ve sort of known about Japanese pattern books for a while. Peter has mentioned them a few times at Male Pattern Boldness, and of course MainelyDad has created an entire blog inspired by them in the men’s sewing blogosphere. But the books I knew about didn’t catch my interest, and some (like the Pattern Magic series) looked too fiddly and “out there” for me.

Two things inspired me to look further.

Local blogger Chuleenan Svetvilas is the coordinator for the Bay Area Sewists meetup, and I follow her blog C Sews.  She’s been doing some Japanese pattern book projects lately, and that woke me up to the idea that there is quite a lot of diversity in the kinds of projects you find in these books.

Secondly, reader Corey let me know there is a Japanese pattern book out there with men’s trouser patterns, including a pattern for selvedge denim jeans (a future project — I have a Pinterest board for planning here).

That was enough for me. I went to Kinokuniya Books in San Francisco on a sunny Saturday morning during the Cherry Blossom Festival, and scoured the shelves. They had dozens of pattern books with great looking projects — for women.

There were exactly three men’s pattern books on the shelf. Two were by the same author, Shimazaki Ryuichiro: Men’s Coat (scroll down the page after clicking the link) and Men’s Apron.  The Men’s Coat book I knew of, having been the inspiration for the Japanese Pattern Challenge blog. The Men’s Apron book was an interesting curiosity, but I have no interest in sewing aprons.

I did, however, find this very interesting book of casual clothing patterns for men.

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