Pattern Magic Challenge

Calling all adventurous, experimental and courageous sewists! Oh, and anyone fascinated by Tomoko Nakamichi’s Pattern Magic. Have any of you made stuff based on the ideas in the books? How did it go? If you haven’t, would you like to give it a try, with a bit of hand-holding in the form of a group sewing challenge?

The Inspiration

When I bought the first Pattern Magic book, I hoped that this much praised and beautifully produced tome would throw some light on the relationship between the two-dimensional pattern and the three dimensional body. To some extent, it did that, but mostly I was awestruck by image after image of possibilites in garment design.

Some achievable, as I’d like to think these lumps and bumps on a bodice might be.

A dress for Björk, perhaps? She used to be in the Sugarcubes, you know.

Then there was the outlandish. This design of the Otoshiana almost freaked me out, bringing back supressed memories of Ring, the only genuinely creepy horror film I’ve ever seen!

I can laugh about it now, but only because I showed the book to my pattern-cutting tutor and far from being frightened, she reassured me that the pit would make a handy holder for one’s lunchtime Lucozade.

Other designs, such as the elegant Bamboo Shoots bodice, made me wistful for the day when I’d be grown up enough to attempt this pattern-drafting feat.

And as I waited for that day, guess what?! Two more Pattern Magic books came out….

Now I was taunted by even more designs of blatant originality. Like the Knots.

Some with a twist on the sophisticated and classic.

Some familiar but, er, more confrontational.

And some plain bonkers, like the Stingray. What a glorious celebration of fish and hips!

The Challenge

If you too have had enough of looking at the pictures and feel ready to try out one of the ideas in the book, then I’d love you to join me. Your project can be as simple or as complex as suits you. The only requirement is that your creation is inspired by what you’ve seen in one of Tomoko Nakamichi’s books.

Maybe you have a teen with endless legs that can accommodate the Shar Pei-like folds of the Apple Peel leggings?

Or how about incorporating a detail from the books into one of your already tried’n’tested patterns. The Pocket Vanishes?

Or one of my favourites: a modern take on the leg of mutton sleeves.

You’ve got plenty of time to decide, maybe even to practice.

Here are details:

The Deadline

Email me your images by the end of Saturday 10 November GMT. Your message should include your name, a link to your blog or picture gallery, and maybe a picture of the Pattern Magic design that inspired you (and I’ll email back to confirm receipt).

If you wish, tell me:

Why you chose that particular design,

The fabric you used,

How much drafting experience you’ve had,

Any other tidbits of info you’d like to share.

The “Catwalk”

I’ll compile our creations into a review to be posted on Wednesday 14 November.

The Button

If you’d like to display the Pattern Magic Challenge button in your blog, copy the text in the box below and paste it into a text box of your widget area.

Pattern Magic Challenge


In the meantime…

Please leave a comment below if you’d like to take part so that we can keep in touch – or, if you’ve already had a go at Pattern Magic, let us know how it went. As my blog is relatively new, I’d be very grateful if you could forward the details of the challenge to Pattern Magic enthusiasts you may know, as well as pattern-drafting students and fans of clothes that get talked about. I’ve taken part in some very lively and creative group challenges this year and though I realise that a Pattern Magic challenge might be intimidating to some people, this needn’t be an overly ambitious project. Give it a go and you never know – you might just get a sensational Christmas party outfit out of it!

“No, no hoodies. Oh, I am sorry… I thought you were wearing a hoodie”.

43 thoughts on “Pattern Magic Challenge

  1. What a great idea! I’ve made stacks of clothes from the three Pattern Magic books already, but I’m always up to make another one. Of the projects pictured here, I have made the Bamboo shoot top, the apple peel leggings (although I didn’t know they were called that since all my books are in Japanese) the mutton leg sleeve and the “hoodie” thingie. I’ve made at least a dozen other things too… mmmm what to make next?

    • Sounds like you could show us a thing or two! I really look forward to seeing what you come up with, and you were very brave to work from the Japanese editions!!

  2. Hi marianna, thanks for visiting. I’m in awe of your talent – I particularly like the cuff dress and you do look great in shorts! The bamboo shoot bodice is amazing. I won’t be taking part in the challenge as I would not know where to start but I will be visiting to see how it’s going.

  3. Hi. I have made a few PM inspired garments, some blogged about. I’m mulling over doing one in full scale from the stretch fabrics book which I’ve been working through in half scale, so count me in. It will be fun to see what everyone else comes up with.

  4. Great idea! I’d love to connect with more people who sew and I just won book nr 3 in a giveaway, so I’d love to give it a try! I just started following a pattern drafting course, so you know my level 🙂 I’m always up for a challenge though, but I think the biggest challenge will be to make something weird and still make it work. Ooh I’m getting excited!

  5. I have books 1 & 2 (number 3 is still on my ‘to buy’ list… ) and I’ve made a couple of things using those. And blogged about them: here’s my curve collar shirt
    wearing a square
    I’ve also made the twisted top but I can’t find the blog post right now.
    Next to those, I’ve drafted several garments with some variaty of a draped/twisted effect. I started the first one before I even owned a Pattern Magic book, but they’re all closely related to PM’s twists and flip-turns. (like this one here:
    and, most recently, my twisty top pattern: )

    Of course, I want to join in your challenge. I may use it as an excuse to finally buy Pattern Magic 3 and make something from that book. Or I may go and incorporate one of the ‘tying a bow’ details into a garment of my own design. I’ll have to think about it.

  6. Meredith and Lauriana: thank you so much for joining. I’ve in awe of your experience and look forward to what comes next.

    Now, only two months to get to grips with this… 🙂

  7. What a great idea – I’m in! I’ve been on two courses here in London (Morley college) that go through the book’s concepts but I still have only made the twist top. This is just the sort of inspiration I need to get my teeth into one of the more adventurous projects – my only problem is going to be deciding which one!

  8. hello! thank you for the message you left on my blog – as you rightly guessed I have been struggling to find time to sew (and blog) for the last few months (or so!) but just last week i went fabric shopping and have got a load of ideas and (i hope) some time set aside to get at the machine. I would love to join you for the challenge and – as my new years resolutions said – i will attempt to tackle the bamboo shoot bodice – have you had any luck finding any help with it???
    I’ll get my blog a little more up to date over the next week or so and will link up (with the button) and let you know when I get started. thank you!!

  9. Hi, I’ve just found you via your beautiful bamboo shoot bag on the PR website. Great idea making a bag from this lovely design. I have had Pattern Magic 1 for a few months now. Every so often I get it out and flick through, but it always seems to go back on the shelf without me making anything. This challenge is a great idea to get me motivated to actually try making something from the book. Thanks so much and count me in!

  10. Hey I just found your blog. Can I still join? There’s a summer knit dress in my queue from one of the books and it would be great to have company attempting some of these wonderfully crazy designs.

  11. I’ve longed to make one of the creations from these books, always thinking my ability to be a shortcoming. Hand holding is what I need. 🙂 I’m in! And thanks to StephC who tweeted this post.

  12. Hi, am I too late to join? I’ve tried a couple of things from the books but have only had epic fails so far. I’m thinking of starting with one of the easiest projects this time. Can’t wait to see what everyone else is making, too.

  13. Is this going on? I would love to join, I am studying these books for my ” Special topics in fashion design” class and incorporating some of the techniques into circus costumes.

  14. Hi, I have a problem when I am working with a pattern named Knot. Would you please make a tutorial on that one? I am appreciate it.
    Best regards.

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