Review: The Magic Pattern Book

02 Oct 2014

The Magic Pattern Book Review


Amy Barickman runs a well-known pattern company called Indygo Junction. She also authored one of my all-time favorite crafty books. And now we have her newest book, The Magic Pattern Book: Sew 6 Patterns into 36 Different Styles. It's one high-value sewing book!


The Magic Pattern Book Review


The concept here: six basic patterns, each of which has been customized six different ways. So you have 36 garments in total. Interestingly, the idea of "Magic Patterns" comes from a vintage source, which you can learn about in my review my favorite Amy Barickman book.

The patterns are presented in a CD in the back of the book. Once you've loaded them onto your computer, you print them on your home printer in "tiled" form – that is, there are keys to help you assemble all the 8 1/2" x 11" (or A4) sheets into the full-size pattern pieces.

Honestly, this isn't my favorite way to get pattern pieces, but you have to realize that trying to put 36 garments' worth of patterns onto large pattern sheets would have been very costly and bulky.


The Magic Pattern Book Review


The presentation of patterns here is just stellar. First, let me show you the sketch pages with all the variations. Here's the tank set…


The Magic Pattern Book Review


…The skirt set…


The Magic Pattern Book Review


…The cardigan set…


The Magic Pattern Book Review


…The coat set (yay coats!)…


The Magic Pattern Book Review


…The accessories set (yay hats!)…


The Magic Pattern Book Review


…And the dress set. So as you can see, there's a wide variety of looks here. And I think they're very intelligently designed for a sewing book – there's just enough fittedness (true, not a word) that the garments look trim on the body, but would still be pretty simple to construct.

I'm also loving that these garments are great fashion basics that would look pretty on a wide range of ages. They also offer wonderful opportunities to add custom details.


The Magic Pattern Book Review


So, having shown you the dresses, let me walk you through one so you can see how thoroughly each pattern is presented. The instructional-quality nerd in me is very happy.

First, you get a nice full-length photo of the garment on a model. You even get a notation of the model's height, which is an awesome fitting clue that should be in all sewing books.


The Magic Pattern Book Review

The Magic Pattern Book Review


Then you get a detailed cutting diagram, and a very thorough presentation of the construction directions, liberally sprinkled with diagrams.


The Magic Pattern Book Review


There's a little sidebar with suggestions for ways you could customize the garment (which is such a lovely extra).


The Magic Pattern Book Review


…And finally, there are six fabric suggestions for each pattern, prettily presented. I love being able to see each garment in lots of guises like this – sometimes, I find it hard to visualize design possibilities beyond what's on the model, so these illustrations are so helpful.


The Magic Pattern Book Review


Speaking of fabrics, I loved this index of all the patterns. listed by compatible fabrics. So if you have a couple yards of something on hand, you can easily find the best patterns for it.

I'm also loving the variety of fabrics this book encompasses – and this ties in with my recent rantings about the scarcity of sewing books for people who aren't beginners. These patterns offer a sewist opportunities to explore working with all kinds of fibers, and there's a nice section in the book explaining the qualities of each fabric.

Also, each of the pattern sets features one design that's made from a repurposed fabric of some kind - an old curtain, tablecloth, garment, etc. That's an inspiring touch!


The Magic Pattern Book Review


There's the usual chapter of basic instructions, detailing the tools you'll need, how to access, print, and assemble the pattern pieces, how to make a muslin, and how to alter the patterns. All of this is very thoroughly and encouragingly presented. I'd definitely call this book beginner-friendly, as long as that beginner has a little machine-sewing under her belt.

This is an awesome gift book for someone who wants to sew their own clothes, and a great investment – you can make things to wear for years from these Magic Patterns!


(Disclosures: Workman Publishing sent me a review copy, and the title link above is an affiliate link. Now, go forth and sew!)

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Comments

Can you comment at all on the sizing of the garments? I know it's S-XXL included, and by doing the "Look Inside" at Amazon I was able to find out that the bust measurement for the XXL is 45.5", but I'm interested in the other measurements too. I'm a plus size but usually altering from an XXL isn't too bad, unless the measurements are ridiculously small!


Hi, Donna - Sure thing!

That bust measurement of 45.5" applies to all the tank top patterns.

Looks like the skirts are based on a hip measurement of 49.5" and waist of between 31.5" and 33.5" (depending on style) for XXL.

The dress chapter patterns all use a bust measurement of 54" and a hip measurement of 60" for XXL.

Cardigan and Coat patterns use a bust measurement of 49.5" for XXL.

Does that help? Please holler if you're looking for something else!


Super! That's exactly what I was looking for. Here we go - another book added to my list!