Pattern Magic Challenge: the Reveal

So, Pattern Magicians, here we are: to display triumphs, maybe lick wounds and most definitely to give ourselves a pat on the back for having taken a bold leap forward with our pattern-drafting.

Back in August when I initiated the Pattern Magic Challenge, I had certain misgivings about the patterns being a bit too challenging for most amateur sewists (including myself).   The take-up was low.  So it cheered me up when Carolyn sent pictures of several of her favourite Pattern Magic makes (she’d been trying out the designs for a few years from the original books in Japanese).  It was most encouraging that she looked fabulous in each one:

(N.B.  Click on any image to view source or for more information.  This also applies to any text in bold.  All bloggers in the Reveal are also linked to in my Blogroll on the right).

Thanks Carolyn.  Your creations and beautiful photography deserve a book of their own!

Shortly after, this beach gem arrived: 

Do you recognize the Stingray from Pattern Magic Stretch?  It’s one of my favourites and I was hoping someone would make it – someone with a sense of fun and a more svelte figure than mine!  This skirt comes form Pella of Pattern Pandemonium.  Pella drafts most of her patterns – she has a half-scale mannequin on which to try out designs – and thinks that Pattern Magic should be approached with admiration but also caution!  Some of the designs are purely concepts which would take a lot of work to be made into wearable garments.  “There are two or three things in each of the books which aren’t too difficult to adapt though.”  Thanks, Pella!

The Bamboo Shoot Bodice from the first Pattern Magic was a design I particularly wanted to try out as it’s just so elegant.  Though busy, it seemed easier to tackle than a design such as the kakurenbo which projects forward and hides backward and seems a dimension too far for my “advanced beginner” brain to handle.  I had a go at transferring the design to a (flat) side of a bag which I was very pleased with:  

But this lady did one better and came up with a deliciously-hued Bamboo Shoot Bodice with Peplum (click for blog post with design tips and adjustment details). 

Thanks so much G, for finding the time to take part 🙂  Hope you get lots of compliments wearing it (send in a pic too please, if you get the chance!).

A word of warning to the uninitated: certain Pattern Magic projects take a lot of time, what Meggipeg called “a month of Sundays”.  Here is her kakurenbo (hide and seek) top:

Meggipeg’s post revealed a useful tip for dabbling in Pattern Magic: get yourself a stiff drink when the going gets tough.  So that’s how to tackle these seamlines…

Thanks very much for taking part, Megan!  (psst, I actually prefer your top to the Pattern Magic original…)

My own project, a dress of Gathered Holes, also took ages, interrupted largely by a half-term holiday in which the kids kept stealing my equipment and laughingly threw it back and forth over my head… ok, I exaggerrate but that’s how it seemed.  Carolyn had sent in her own version: this beatifully fitted and draped number.

So, no pressure then 😕   I finally made this:

That wrinkly plughole at the waist needs cutting out and I could put on some sexier boots, but overall I’m quite pleased with it.

I contacted Tracy, the Material Girl after finding her review of the Morley College Pattern Magic course and she joined the challenge with an idea for a Disappearing Scarf Top (from Pattern Magic 2).  It is now apparently somewhere near the bin!  The back view gives an idea of what might have been. 

The front….

I was hoping for glitzy – I ended up with tacky, creased and puckered.”  A combination of tricky fabric and not enough clear instruction.  If anyone else makes this successfully, please post us a tutorial for the next glitzy season!!

Unwilling to admit Pattern Magic defeat, Tracy then turned to page 40 of Pattern Magic Stretch and using a tube of fabric as well as a mere 20 minutes of her time, she made “The Magic’s in the Wearing”!

 Excellent!  Thanks Tracy.

Violette à Paris, a self-taught pattern maker, also picked one of the quicker projects: the Twist top.  She made it twice though!  The first one was made from cotton jersey.

For the second version, she used a striped material to emphasise the twist lines, changed the shoulder seam from the back to the front and added flourescent piping.

Merci beaucoup, Violette, for taking part!

Here’s another Twisted Top from Lisa of Only the Small (pattern makers: check out her drafting a folded mini tutorial). 

Lisa isn’t won over by the twist and thinks it looks like “a top sewn by someone who’s just seen a sewing machine for the first time”.  Hang on a minute!  That sounds suspiciously like the sort of comment a boyfriend would make…. Lisa, it’s great!  In fact the whole outfit is fantastic.  I’m jealous, but thanks!

New blogger Eszter of Creatuu had no previous drafting experience but very daringly wanted to join the challenge so she gave the Twist Top a try.

She seems to have done a fine job though apparently the top has a mind of its own and wants to “twist back” during movement…!

Sew Ruth is a blogger who sets herself ambitious projects almost weekly.  Leather, jackets, lingerie: hasn’t she heard of the comfort zone?!  Oh, hang on, she has!  A comfy yet glamorous nightdress and robe:

Reminds of something Greta Garbo would wear gliding through her mansion in an old black and white movie.  Here are the beginnings:

Thanks Ruth, I knew the challenge wouldn’t worry you!

Finally, let’s end with a clear triumph.  Here’s Sally of Charity Shop Chic:

This take on the Union Jack was inspired by “Like a Jungle” in Pattern Magic 2 and worn to a US/UK party (blogged here with tips on how to design).  Thanks Sally for making me realize that the Jungle isn’t as scary I’d thought.  And isn’t it magic that a thrift-store rescue could end up so dazzling?!

Pattern Magicians, thanks so much for taking part and for all the support you’ve thrown into the challenge through your links, buttons and encouraging comments on my own efforts.  I realize this was no ordinary sewing challenge: more like a sewing challenge combined with scary coursework/essay/half-marathon.  I look forward to following your progress  and if there’s anything you’d like me to add, remove or change here, let me know!


35 thoughts on “Pattern Magic Challenge: the Reveal

    • Thank you Nicky
      I’m sure you’d be very good at clothes-making but it does take a little while to pick up (and then another age to even think about attempting Pattern Magic).

      I shall think of my dress as an “original”!

      • No, the bow design is relatively straight forward to draft. It can take a little while to figure out how to tie the bow the first time… but once you get your head around it, it’s actually really easy! I wish I *had* remembered to join in… I remember seeing the original post, and then forgot about it between then and now! Whoops! 😛

  1. Marianne thanks for setting this. I think the real challenge for you was to keep us all on track! There are some brilliant makes in this post. Well done everyone!

  2. Marianna, thank you so much for hosting this challenge! Your gathered hole dress is superb! and I am really impressed that you thought to combine with those sleeves as well.. an inspired decision!

  3. These creations are so inspiring. I’m just sorry I didn’t do anything for the challenge. Think I might have just needed that stiff drink. I’m going to try my hand at this book one day. one day.

    • Just one drink, mind. You know what they say about “operating machinery”…

      We will rope you in next time, don’t worry, and you’ll end up with something super!

      Best wishes

  4. Loved to see everyone’s makes! Now the other two books are on my Christmas list 🙂 Thanks Marianna! It’s indeed so much more fun sewing with others!

  5. All your garments are fabulous ladies! Marianna Thank you for this post. I so wanted to join in on this challenge, having dabbled with Japanese book patterns earlier this year. They do take a big time commitment but it’s great to get out of the comfort zone occasionally. Alas funnels, cubes and horse’s head sleeves still await me, as moving house got in the way of my plans..

  6. I’m so gutted – I only just found your blog and i’d have loved to take part in this Challenge. I’ve tried a couple of things from pattern magic 1 & 2, but the styles haven’t suited me. I haven’t given up yet, but have taken a break from them. I need to have another go at a couple of these ideas. you’ve inspired me!

  7. This whole post is such a lovely read – and so interesting. I’ve read it twice already and will be going over it several more times to pore over those pictures and click back and forth to the original blog posts. I am so pleased that I took part in this challenge and actually made something from my PM book after owning it for over a year and never using it! Thank you Marianna and everyone else who took part and made this so fun and rewarding 🙂

  8. I’ve had these books for a while and never thought I’d be able to decipher them. I saw them as cuisine cookbooks. But I’m doing the Pattern Magic 1 course at Morley College at the moment, and it has set my brain on FIRE! It’s resulted in a googling frenzy and I just came across this page with all these FANTASTIC executions! Well done everyone, taming these patterns is one BIG corner to turn! Thank you all!

  9. What an amazing collection of beautiful and original garments! Thanks for hosting this draft/sew along Marianna, so many creative solutions to the PM challenge in one place.

  10. Wow!!!! These are seriously impressive garments. I love your dress too – you must be so proud of yourself! Such a great idea for a challenge. I’m itching to make something from Pattern Magic now… although by the sounds of it, it’s not something to be entered into lightly, so I think it’ll have to wait until I have more free time on my hands!

  11. Hey i only just found this and i have to say i LOVE the pattern magic books. i have them all as well as drape drape 1 and 2

    this is something I made for my last project at college and it an adaption of somthing I saw in pattern magic (the double collar)

    it was super fun but because I elaborated the concept a little by turning it to the shoulder seam and ect it took longer to to put together I think.

    I also have to say thanks for changing my mind on the gathered hole dress. i used to be my LEAST favorite of the patterns but having seen it styled on a person I now think its one of the best ^_^

  12. Hi Marianna!! I just found your blog, your Collete patterns brought me here. I have recently purchased Pattern Magic 1 and 2. There weren´t translations in my languaje for the books so far, till now. The translate versions in Spanish arrived a week ago and when I flipped through the books I was instanctly in love with the diferent shapes and inspiration ideas. Now that I´m seeing all the beautiful cloth you have made, I can´t wait to start trying Tomoko´s ideas. So thank you very much Marianna for sharing all the fotos from your contest, and congrats for your Gathered Hole Dress. It´s great. Amazing blog.
    And if you post PM clothes in another oportunity I would love to share my future creations.
    Thank again! Best wishes!
    And sory for my english

    • Hi Cristina
      It’s great that you’ve got in touch and nice to know there’s another PM fan out there.
      I’m really glad you like the blog.

      Lisa of “Only the Small” is soon to start a monthly PM project that we can join and there might be another PM challenge on Sew2Pro so keep in touch!

      And don’t apologize for your English: it’s pretty good actually…

      Marianna 🙂

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