Kerry O'Brine Womens Wear

Behind the seams

Pattern Cutting – Book Review

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For the first read the book Metric Pattern Cutting by Winifred Aldrich is hard to get your head round. That link above is to the latest edition of the book and perhaps they have altered and improved it since I purchased this 2004 edition of the book.

I found Aldrich’s instructions to be too short and leaving gaps in the information. Aldrich takes you through creating blocks in a very specific way and then how to adapt them to create certain standard shapes and style lines.

In creating the blocks I often found the clarity of her instructions left me frustrated. Once I had worked with the book several times and started drawing out the blocks I began to develop an understanding of what she was saying.

I don’t think this is a book for a beginner but would be good for someone with a base knowledge or experience in pattern cutting. In Aldrich’s adaptation of the blocks to other designs she uses clear drawings but again for anyone not experienced there isn’t a lot of instruction.

The edition I have includes overgarment blocks and close fitting blocks. As well as blocks for knit and stretch fabrics. There is a small section on CAD at the back of the book that feels like a token and unnessary gesture.

Drafting blocks for individual figures is a useful part of the book but I have other books on alterations for fit which demonstrate in clear photos the problems and solutions better.

Although I don’t think it’s for beginners the design adaptations are not advanced and for more help with more complex designs you might find another book more helpful. If your looking for a pattern cutting book with instruction on creating new and interesting shapes and styles then look towards the Japanese pattern makers. For instance I purchased Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi which I’ve found to be inspiring.

Overall I feel the book has some great and useful information, I have created many starting blocks from the book. I feel that it would be even better if the book was more focused on just the blocks and block adaptations and expanded further in this area. The other areas Aldrich touches on would be very useful as seperate books and she could then extend the information.

I often go back to the book as a starting point and keep it nearby for reference.

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