In this guide, you will find the exact Pattern Making Books according to your needs.

We have included everything from how to identify the techniques you want to learn and the books that will match your skill level for that purpose. 

Whether you are looking to create a fashion brand or simply to draft and create clothes for your own, here you will find the perfect book to do it.

Pattern Making Books

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Pattern Making Books can be so much more than just a guide to draft patterns.

They also help you to understand how garments are made and sewn. 

So, the more you learn about pattern making, the more you will learn about how the clothes you sew.

Learning how to draft sewing patterns is imperative if you want to own and sell your designs as a fashion designer.

If you don’t understand how clothes are made it will be very hard to imagine and invent new shapes and styles.

Every designer has to learn how to draft patterns and sew clothes before actually designing.

It is kind of learning how to talk before you can go out and make a speech. 

pattern makers pattern

Can I get a Pattern Book if I only Sew as a Hobby?

And even if you are just looking to learn how to draft patterns to make your clothes.

Understanding the science behind making a garment is a must-have skill.

If you want to learn how to make your patterns you probably have some sewing knowledge already.

This will give you a huge head start when it comes to pattern drafting. You already have seen and worked with patterns.

So, you’ll have the advantage of knowing the shapes, names, and how they are constructed.

Which, I am telling you right now, will do wonders for your journey.

But, if you don’t have any knowledge at all about sewing nor with drafting patterns, don’t worry.

That’s why we have made this guide.

To help you find exactly the kind of Pattern Making Book you need.

There are a lot of options out there.

And not all of them are very clear or explain well at beginner levels. 

So, we have sorted these books for you, to help you understand what you are looking for and where to find it.

First of all, let’s start with the basics.

How can I make my own Patterns?

To make your own patterns first you need to have the right tools. This includes things like pattern-making rulers (those are the ones that I’ve been using the past 15 years), the best pattern paper, the top 5 sewing scissors, pattern notcher, tape, and, of course, pencil or pens.

You also need to learn how to take your own and others’ body measurements.

The next step is to start learning to make the basic slopes, which are the very basic forms of the garment’s tops and bottoms.

Once you learn how to make the basic slopes for the bodice, sleeves, skirts, and pants. Then, you can go ahead and start altering them to make all sorts of variations and designs.

What are the 2 types of Pattern Making Books?

There are a lot of pattern-making techniques out there. But the most common ones you are going to find in books are the Draping technique and the 2D Drafting technique.

Draping Technique.

what is a muslin

The Draping pattern-making technique consists in using “try-out” fabrics such as muslin fabrics over a mannequin to manipulate the desired shape.

Many people think that draping is just the art of gathering fabric over a dress form. 

But that is just one thing it does.

Draping over a dress form actually takes a lot of skill and technique. You need to know how to identify the grainline of the fabrics. Know where and how to cut your slope. 

Leave seam allowances, make the proper notches…

All this to finally take it out of the dress form to the table and draft the final design on paper.

2D Pattern Making Tecnique.

pattern paper

The 2D pattern-making technique consists of drafting the shapes of a garment on flat paper to then cut the fabric and sew a garment.

To use this technique you will have to learn how a 2D drawing can be transformed into a 3D garment with the help of darts, cuts, and more.

As well as in the draping technique, the 2D pattern-making technique has different drafting processes within.

For example, you can find instructions in the metric system or the most common one in patterns, the imperial system.

The other thing you should take into account is that the drafting process is different depending on the book.

The differences aren’t that big.

But you will completely notice them if you are married with one technique. Don’t worry though, because the end result is the same.

You just need to find the one you like the best.

How to use a Pattern from a Book?

Some books might have paper patterns included or even scaled versions of the slopes for you to retrace.

If that is the case make sure to read and learn the pattern symbols from each book before cutting or tracing the pattern.

This will help you to understand what it might seem like all lines and gibberish at first sight.

Pattern Making Books by Level Skill and Type of Garments.

Depending on your needs there are different pattern-making books categories to choose from.

For example, if you want to learn how to draft and make clothes from scratch choose a beginner’s pattern-making book.

In this guide, you will find four categories to find the best pattern book for you.

  1. Pattern Making Books for Beginners. Sort through this list if you want to learn how to make 2D patterns from scratch.
  2. Draping Pattern Making Books. Here you will find the best books to learn how to drape your garment designs.
  3. Altering and Fitting Sewing Patterns. If you have made patterns before, but you want to learn how to make them fit better and altering its shapes this is the list for you.
  4. Advanced Sewing Pattern Making Books. Beginners stay away! This list is for the pattern maker who wants to upgrade her/his skills level to never-seen before techniques.

Pattern Making Books for Beginners.

Pattern Making for Fashion Design 2nd edition 

Don’t judge this book from its cover!!

I am putting this book first on the list because I think it has the best and most complete content that is actually presented clearly. 

While this book dates from the mid-’90s it has the best pattern-making information. 

Beware though, that it is a psychically old book. But that does not make it any less valuable.

On the contrary. You will get a lot of hands-on information on how to create your own patterns from scratch.

You will learn how to create the basic slopers, with standard or your own measurements.

It is loaded with information and graphics explaining all the step-by-steps on creating patterns.

Also, it covers pattern making for both Men and Women. This is excellent if you want to create clothes for both genders.

The instructions are very clear. And according to most of the reviewers, this “old” version is even better than newer editions.

And cheaper too!


Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear 

A very beginner-friendly book that will introduce you to the basics of pattern making and transformation.

It has very well-written instructions on how to develop your basic blocks.

Then the author will show you how to transform those blocks into multiple different style variations.

A perfect book to have at the start of your journey, and to come back to for references once you level up your game.

The explanations are very detailed. And the illustrations will help you to draft your patterns flawlessly. 

This book covers how to make tops, skirts, pants, and their transformations.

But it doesn’t stop there!

It also has information on how to create lingerie, activewear, and even tailored coats.

You will be able to use the industry-standard measurements or even your own.


Designing Patterns: A fresh approach to Pattern Cutting 

A well-laid-out book with easy-to-follow diagrams.

It does come in the metric system so if you are used to it, it will be perfect for you.

If you don’t like to use the metric system though, it will be just a matter of little conversion skills and that’s it.

This book is perfect for people who are just starting their journey on pattern making. 

It has a very visual approach and clear instructions that are easy to follow.

But also, for people who have already used commercial patterns and want to learn how to manipulate and transform them.

As I said before. Learning about the basics will help not only beginners but also experimented sewers too.

The information is very basic and very well written and explained. So it will be the perfect book to dive into this world.

You will get a very deep understanding of how patterns work. Which will help you when you use your next store-bought pattern.

Another bonus point for this book is that the vendor has great return policies. Just in case you get it damaged by the carrier.

You can also get it here if you don’t find it available on Amazon.


Pattern Making for Fashion Design 

This book has a deep level on all topics you need to learn about making patterns from absolute scratch.

The author starts explaining the most common and basic terms first. This will help you to understand everything you need to know even before your first draft.

As I told you before not every book explains techniques in every detail. They just assume you know most things.

Not this book. Here you will actually go from zero to pattern making from cover to cover.

And that’s not all. 

You will also get a glance at garment-making history, industrial production and, even digital pattern-making techniques.

Isn’t that enough? Well in this book you will also learn how to draft Men’s wear, Swimwear, Activewear, and more!

Not only women’s wear as most books teach you.

In my opinion, this book will be loved by both beginners and advanced pattern makers.

Draping Pattern Making Books.

Draping the Complete Course 

A fairly must-have resource for anyone who wants to learn how to drape.

This book will take you from beginner draping techniques to advanced ones.

It is a complete course that will teach you how to drape skirts, dresses, trousers and even jackets.

The price is totally worth it as it includes some pretty cool features too.

You can use the QR codes in the book and they will take you to video tutorials that demonstrate the written explanations. 

How cool is that?

It is well-written, easy to understand and it has a lot of pictures for visual learners.

The book has pictures of the fabric being draped on the dress forms, along with their flat patterns.

And to top it off a bunch of tips and tricks on how to manipulate the fabric.

A lot of fashion schools actually use this book as a requirement for their courses on making clothes.

So you know that it’s good.

It will only cover women’s clothes, though. Which for many of us is more than enough to start with.

It has so many pages to learn from. Definitely not a condensed book.

A note for this book though. Do not get the kindle version of it. 

Many reviewers said that it is a very hard-to-read version. They somehow had the zoom disabled so it will make it very hard to read that way. The physical book is only a few bucks more, but it’s totally worth the investment.


Draping: Art and Craftmanship 

The great manual for draping techniques.

This book has greatly advanced directions on how to drape your patterns. 

But don’t worry because before getting into that, the author actually explains draping from the very basics.

It starts teaching you all the basics of draping theory and the tools you will need, as well as how to use them.

You will learn how to make slopes from scratch. And then, you will advance on more complex techniques of fabric manipulation.

This book has a very interesting input where it shows designers’ drapes and their step-by-step instructions to replicate those designs.

In the end, the book will take you through a path of historical draped garments and the insight on how to recreate them.

Beginners and advanced pattern makers will love them equally. 

It’s definitely a great to-go book to have among your Pattern Making Books library. You will find yourself getting back to it all the time.

The book covers how to make sleeves, jackets, coats, skirts, dresses, pans and, collars. Basically everything you need to form a basic garment.

This book is recommended mainly if you have any base point on pattern knowledge. If you do you are going to be able to make the most out of its content.


The art of Fashion Draping

What I love the most about this book is that it has a beginner, intermediate, and advanced section.

It will take you from the very basics on how to create drapes of the bodice, skirts, and sleeves first.

Then you’ll move on to more complex top patterns such as kimonos, blouses, ruffles and so much more.

In the end, you will find yourself making pants!

I don’t know about you. But for me, pants are the hardest garment to make. 

And if I were to draft a pattern I would love to drape it out of a mannequin first.

Another thing. Did anyone say knit fabrics? 

This book will also teach you how to drape certain knit fabric types into garments.

It also includes how to make collars, casual and formal dresses, and other clothing complements. 

With very detailed and organized information, this book is going to take you to the most amazing learning experience.

Not only is going to teach you how to make the blocks. You will also learn how to fix fitting mistakes.

So, you can be sure that with this book your patterns will be top-notch.

This book has more than 400 pages filled with a bunch of different types of garments waiting to be draped by you.

Despite that, it leans more to an experienced audience any confident beginner can make good use out of this book.

Altering and Fitting Sewing Patterns.

The Fitting Book 

Hands down, the only book you will need for a fitting!

The author of this book, Gina Renee, is by far the most expert influencer of fitting on the internet.

She started out sharing fitting tutorials online. They became so popular that this book was born out of it.

There are so many concepts covered about getting the perfect fit in all your clothes that you will find things that you haven’t even thought about before.

And it is technology-friendly too. The book contains QR codes to her fitting video tutorials to help you if you don’t fully understand one concept.

I can personally tell you that a lot of work was put into this book, as I followed the whole process from my sewing room.

And my opinions here could be totally biased because I am a huge fan of Gina. 

So, don’t take my word for it. Click on the link to the book and read all the amazing reviews this book has.

The knowledge inside this book is so extensive. And for me, the best part is that it helps fit all kinds of body shapes.

If you have any fitting problem at all you will find the solution inside this pattern-making book.

The instructions are clear and it has a lot of easy-to-understand illustrations.

It is a must-have book for anyone who sews. Not only for pattern makers. 

If you like to make garments out of bought patterns, then this book will make an even greater resource.

You know that patterns are not made for a specific type of body. And sometimes grading between sizes is just not enough.

Reading this book will open your eyes to all the better things there are to be made in garments.


The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting

A very popular book with all the basic information all beginners need.

If you are looking for straight-to-the-point information, this is the book for you.

It covers all the essential fundamentals to understand fitting issues and their solutions.

Perfect for increasing your knowledge of the topic and great reading for your rainy days.

You will learn how to choose the right size on a pattern, and to know your own body shape and measurements.

The pictures will teach you how to recognize fitting issues easily on any garment and why those issues happen.

Then the picture and written step-by-step guide will show you how to fix those issues.

The interesting thing about this material is that it doesn’t only covers bodices and bottoms. It also teaches you how to fix pattern pieces such as collars, cuffs, and hemlines.

If you like sewing for others this will be your perfect to-go book. You will be able to identify and change the patterns accordingly to your client’s bodies

.It will take you from muslin to the actual perfectly fitted flat pattern in no time.


Pattern Fitting with Confidence 

Nancy Zieman is a well know expert in the sewing community.

She even has her own brand of sewing tools!

Her approach to fitting is really easy. No cutting or slashing. But rather a logical technique on fixing the flat pattern issues.

Her painless methods will result in a very appealing and nice fitted garment for you, and all of those who you sew for.

This book has multiple charts and an organized index to jump back and forward to the topic you are looking for.

If you are a beginner in sewing and pattern making then this is the perfect book for you.

You won’t find any intricate words or complicated techniques.

Just straightforward solutions.


Fitting and Pattern Alteration Multiaproach

An extensive guide on fitting garments.

This pattern-making book is considered “the bible of fitting” in many sewing communities.

It has very systematic solutions to fitting problems that are easy to understand and practice. With this content, you will have the skills to undertake any fitting issue that you may have.

It also walks you through pattern alteration in a very simple, yet technical way.

So, you can make changes in your patterns any way you like.

This book has almost 500 pages filled with a lot of useful information and instructions.

Graphics included!

You will need to have some level of the fashion terminology though. 

But if you have been sewing for a while, it won’t be an issue.

It’s divided into three sections.

The first one is all about understanding the basics of fitting and altering patterns.

In the second section, you will dive into the different body types and how to alter the patterns accordingly.

Finally, in the third and most important section, you will find all the tools necessary to make the pattern alterations as needed.

Advanced Sewing Pattern Making Books.

The Practical Guide to Pattern Making for Fashion Designers 

One of the reader’s favorites.

This pattern-making book comes with a very full and complete information load.

Not only covers the basics to make the bodice, skirts, and sleeves as any other book does.

It also teaches you how to manipulate the patterns in all sorts of ways. From darts to cuts, to things you can’t even imagine.

You will learn to make princess cuts, yolks, pleats… How to insert the zippers information into a pattern and so much more.

You can dive into the concepts of fullness, ease and, flares and translate them into actual flat patterns.

I wish I could somehow summarize the index but is too extended for me to do it.

Enough said.

It covers so many sewing and pattern topics that you won’t need to look for inspiration anywhere else.

A very special topic that this book covers and I do want to mention is knock-off pattern making.

Which in human terms translates into how to make a copy of already made garments.

I love this part because I own so many garments that I am very attached too and I would love to replicate them in an easy way.

I know that a garment of yours just came into your mind.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could make copies of it? Well in this book you will learn how to.


Pattern Magic 1, 2, and 3. 

I actually own the 3 editions of this book. The first, second and, third volumes.

Pattern Magic is a pattern-making book that will allow you to make unique pattern transformations that you will not find anywhere else.

You do have to have advanced knowledge of pattern making though. 

This book is not very clear on step-by-step instructions. It rather explains how the transformed pattern was made.

It is totally worth your money if you want to step up to an unexplored level of garments manipulation.

The shapes you get out of these techniques are simply amazing.

And with the knowledge acquired through this book, you will be able to tone it down and implement these techniques into your designs.

Book 1 and 2 uses only patterns made for woven fabrics. It plays with volume, shape, and dimensions. While book 3 explores knit fabrics designs.

You will also get kick-off draped fabrics, knots, and… I am so excited to talk about these books I can even put words on them. Just go check their indexes and you will see.

I am not going to lie. None of these books are made for beginners neither intermediate sewers and designers.

You need a strong knowledge foundation to make your money’s worth.

If you have it. You will find that all 3 of these books are totally unique valuable items by themselves.


Fashion Patternmaking Techniques: Haute Couture

Haute Couture techniques are life-changing.

This book will teach you the secrets of the runway.

It is a pretty good book to learn about the fashion industry, but also to understand how high-end garments are made.

If you have ever seen a fashion show and wondered how the heck was that shape made.

Well, this book will tell you the answer.

You will be able to unravel the pattern secrets behind every design with full explanations.

The skills and diagrams are very clear and informative.

If you have made patterns before you will enjoy this reading as it will level up your skills.

And as same as the books above this one is not fit for beginners.

You will love it if you want to discover new ways to upgrade your patterns, though.

Final Impressions

As you can see there are many options to choose from when it comes to pattern-making books.

The only thing you need to take into account is your skill level and what kind of technique you want to learn.

If you want to upgrade your sewing skill too, you can also check out fun sewing books. Most of them have projects and free patterns included.

I hope you enjoyed this list and that you were able to find what you were looking for.

If you have any of these books in your library already let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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8 Comments

  1. I see you have the same book on there twice (Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph Armstrong). Are there major differences between editions, and if so which one would you recommend if one needed to pick? Thanks!

    1. Author

      I have the second edition. Don’t have the first one. For what I know the second edition is better in quality and on some updated instructions and graphics.

  2. Thank you so much for this information! I want to get the pattern magic books. Do you recommend them?


  3. Thank you for this wonderful book list! It is really tops and I have to agree with your choice of Helen Armstrong’s book as First on your list. I found some other gems that I would like to add to my library.

    1. Author

      I am so happy that you enjoyed this list! If I would choose another one besides that first one, I would go for the Fitting Pattern Book!



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