Book Review: How To Use, Adapt and Design Sewing Patterns howto Full view

Book Review: How To Use, Adapt and Design Sewing Patterns

How to Use, Adapt, and Design Sewing Patterns: From store-bought patterns to drafting your own: a complete guide to fashion sewing with confidence, by Lee Hollahan

How to Use, Adapt and Design Sewing Patterns: From Shop-bought Patterns to Drafting Your Own: A Complete Guide to Fashion Sewing with Confidence

The aim of this book is to show you how to get the most out of shop bought sewing patterns, from choosing the right size to understanding all the different pattern markings and translating flat shapes into wearable garments.

The book is divided into chapters, first taking you through Tools and Materials, then all about commercial patterns and how they can be altered. Finallly, it goes on to designing patterns and provides basic pattern block graphs to get you started for UK sizes 8 to 20. Finally there is a section on core sewing techniques.

I like the simple line drawings which demonstrate the look of different fitting dilemmas and the step by step instructions for making and fitting a toile. Taking the next step to design your own patterns is described in detail and helps you understand the basics involved.

If you are new to sewing, this book will guide you through commercial patterns and their use. Likewise, if you are looking for help to make alterations to commercial patterns to get the fit that is right for you then this book can help you. I personally feel that if you have ambitions of making your own patterns then there are probably better books out there. Having said this, this book would certainly give you enough information to let you have a go before you invest in additional resources. I know I shall be using this book next time I need to adjust a commercial pattern for fit, and I have been sewing for years, so there is certainly something for the experienced sewer here, as well as the beginner.

Deb’s French is a Significant Seams volunteer and Operations Manager. She also delivers much of our outreach programme and is an avid knitter.


The Stitch & Craft Library is a central resource of hundreds of books and patterns that connect the East London crafting community, and is sponsored by Waterstones Walthamstow, and supported by Chapel End and Wood Street Ward Forums.

Members of E17 Designers, students at Waltham Forest College Fashion department, and residents of Chapel End and Wood Street Wards who are on ESA, job seekers allowance or in receipt of housing benefit are eligible for free membership.

Members of the Stitch and Craft Library receive 10% off books not already discounted from WaterstonesWalthamstow when they show their membership card.

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