My Top 5 Patternmaking Books for Home Sewists

Today I’m sharing sharing my top 5 patternmaking books that every home sewist should have in their studio. Whether you’re just starting out or you sew all the time, these books will get you started designing and drafting patterns that fit YOU. Discover the must-have patternmaking books that will elevate your sewing skills! 

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Are you struggling to find the perfect patternmaking books to take your sewing skills to the next level? I’ve got you covered with my top 5 must-have patternmaking books for home sewists.  

Now let me start out by saying I am entirely self-taught. Everything I’ve learned about sewing and patternmaking has been through online tutorials, classes and through books. I went to art school (I have my BFA in Printmaking) and didn’t learn how to sew until I was in my 30’s. I love drafting patterns, it’s really fun and easy. I love that I can get the custom fit based on my measurements in the styles and shapes I like wearing. And I think anyone can do it! You just need some good instruction and some simple math. Today I’m going to share my five must-have books for pattern making success.

Top 5 Patternmaking & Drafting Books

plant display top 5 Patternmaking Books

Patternmaking for Fashion Design

Let’s kick things off with my first recommendation, “Patternmaking for Fashion Design” by Helen Joseph-Armstrong. This comprehensive textbook used by fashion design schools is a must-have for sewists of all levels. This book has everything you need: from how to start out, what tools you need to draft your patterns, what supplies. It goes into some basics of how to measure yourself, or how to measure your mannequin. It talks about body shape and the history of fashion design. And then it goes through the entire process of doing your bodice drafts, as well as all kinds of patterns and, just about anything you could think of to draft up. It does have a small section on the back on menswear and children’s wear, but it’s not especially comprehensive, but it does have the basics to get you started. It also has really good section on swimwear and knitwear. I often go through this book to start out my patternmaking ideas.

Designing Clothes with the Flat Pattern Method

Now, let’s talk about ‘Designing Clothes with the Flat Pattern Method’ by Sara Alm. This book is perfect for home sewists! It offers step-by-step instructions that are clear and concise, making it easy to create stylish garments from scratch. I’ve taken a lot of Sarah’s Craftsy classes. I think she’s a great patternmaking teacher and she has some great tips and tricks to make sewing fun and easy. With detailed photo illustrations and step by step instructions you’ll learn how to change and modify patterns.This is a really good basic book to get you started and learn how to not only draft your patterns, but also adjust patterns that you already have.

Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear

Moving on to ‘Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear’ by Winifred Aldrich. This book is a valuable resource for home sewists looking to expand their patternmaking skills. Aldrich’s thorough explanations and versatile garment blocks offer endless possibilities for creating custom-fit clothing. There’s a whole series of these books. There’s a men’s wear and children’s wear version. I have the children’s wear version that I used to use when I was making clothes for my kids all the time. But this is really way to learn how to adjust parts of your pattern. I’ve used this to make a bishop’s sleeve. This has great step by step instructions on how to do those details that you may want to add with sections focused on wovens and knits. I think this is a really practical guide and will take you step by step through the drafting process. I find this one very easy to follow and understand.

The Pattern Making Primer

Next, we have ‘The Pattern Making Primer’ by Jo Barnfield and Andrew Richards. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced home sewist, this book covers everything you need to know about designing, adapting, and customizing sewing patterns. This one is really geared toward the home sewist. So, I would really recommend this if you’ve never done any drafting if you’re a true beginner, because this will also help you with your sewing skills. With chapters on basic sewing techniques, tools and supplies, fundamentals of a garment design and fabric considerations, this is a great book to have in your arsenal. And I think this will be a great book for any beginner sewist, because it does go through step-by-step how to understand a pattern and how it’s written as well as different types of seams that you may want to use.

Building Patterns: The Architecture of Clothing

And my very favorite patternmaking book, ‘Building Patterns’ Second Edition: The Architecture of Clothing by Suzy Furrer. Now I know there’s a new edition of this book that’s been released since I got mine, it also comes with an online version now, which is great. Now, I’ve taken ALL of Suzy Furrer’s online Craftsy classes. (I can’t wait for the new one’s in the works!). I wish I lived closer so I could take her in-person courses. She’s my very favorite teacher, and this is really how I learned to pattern draft. I’ve made all my basic Slopers and moulages using her courses. I’ve made a surplice dress, a wrap jacket in a knit, all kinds of things using her videos and book as my guide. So, this one is my top choice. She goes everything over everything, from your introduction to drafting, to what tools that you’re going to need, to how to understand patterns.

I especially like her guides for doing adjustments on patterns. This is the kind of information that’s often missing in patternmaking books. It goes into the detail of how to fit everything to your specific shape. And because she is geared toward more of the home sewist and the fashion sewist it focuses on your individualized measurements. Most design books are based on industrial sewing and sewing to specific (store bought) sizes, while this one is based on your individual measurements.

My Top Picks:

To wrap things up, we’ve covered 5 essential patternmaking books that are sure to elevate your sewing skills. By incorporating these books into your sewing library, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle any sewing project with confidence and ease. 

  • Patternmaking for Fashion Design 5th Edition by Helen Joseph Armstrong  
  • Designing Clothes with the Flat Pattern Method by Sara Alm  
  • Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear Hardcover by Winifred Aldrich  
  • The Pattern Making Primer: All You Need to Know About Designing, Adapting, and Customizing Sewing Patterns by Jo Barnfield and Andrew Richard 
  • Building Patterns Second Edition: The Architecture of Clothing by Suzy Furrer  

Check out some of my Patternmaking Posts:

I wanted to give you an idea of how I learned to draft my own patterns- it’s really not as hard as you think. From someone who grew up thinking I was bad at math, I now love doing calculations and designing flat patterns. Below are some of my self drafted pattern and muslin posts.

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Top 5 Patternmaking Books for Home Sewists

I hope you found these recommendations helpful! Now it’s your turn – share your favorite patternmaking books in the comments below. Don’t forget to subscribe for more sewing tips, book recommendations, and creative inspiration. Happy sewing!

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