Book Review – ‘Patternmaking for Fashion Design’ 4th Edition by Helen Joseph-Armstrong

An invaluable addition to my library that I uses often…

Genre: Non-Fiction, Fashion, Design, Textbook

No. of pages: 832

Renowned for its comprehensive coverage, exceptional illustrations, and clear instructions, this hallmark book offers detailed yet easy-to-understand explanations of the essence of patternmaking. Hinging on a recurring theme that all designs are based on one or more of the three major patternmaking and design principles–dart manipulation, added fullness, and contouring–it provides all the relevant information necessary to create design patterns with accuracy regardless of their complexity. Sewing guides included for the pleated trouser (with pattern layout), belt/loops, pockets, and zipper; the jean pant with pockets, countour belt, and fly front; and the gusset. Updated jacket foundation draft includes fabric preparation, interfacing, chest piece, tape control, and shoulder pads. Pant drafts–Trouser draft including pocket, waistband, and loop; dungaree foundation draft; grunge pant draft; and three jean waistline variations including pocket and sewing instruction. Includes fitting corrections for the basic patterns. Unique section on patternmaking for bias-cut garments. For anyone developing their patternmaking skills.

My mother passed on some general sewing know-how: she had completed a drafting course in her youth, and grown up in an era (and poverty) where it was essential to know how to sew for the home, and clothing for the family. I’ve picked up tid-bits here and there and had lots and lots of practice, and had a general idea on how to construct a pattern from scratch, and finishes to produce a reasonable garment. Also making costumes for dance and theatre really drove my skill as it meant saving thousands of dollars. One time when I outsourced a number of dresses due to time constraints, the designer recommended ‘Patternmaking for Fashion Design’ as a great resource. It was the text book they used in his fashion design course. And I can’t say how valuable a resource it has been. This elevated my sewing skill exponentially as it not only gives simple-to-understand instructions for every type of design and construction, but can also be a source of inspiration to make your garment that bit more elevated.


You can craft a design from scratch, to form fit from a body’s measurements, have sewing tips to ensure the best finish, and gives you the ability to produce tools (or purchase them) for a seamless process from start to finish.

This books talks about how to sketch a dress with construction in mind, how to draft up a panel/pattern, how to lay the pattern on the desired material, how the material behaves (stretch, bias, maximise useage, shrinkage after washing, etc…) I can’t list everything here as I would waste an afternoon, but suffice to say this book is a one stop shop for everything you will need for designing and constructing a garment. From formal wear, casual wear, lingerie, to swimwear; I’d happily recommend this book to anyone wishing to elevate their sewing.

I did have to go to a specialist book supplier to get a copy, but it was well worth it.

Overall feeling: Brilliant!

© Casey Carlisle 2023. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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