Pattern Magic series: 1, 2 & 3



Pattern Magic is a series of pattern-making book from Japan. The Designer Tomoko Nakamichi uses nature and forms as inspiration. The author has an unique take on geometric shapes transforming and sculpting into clothes. Some concepts are more wearable than others but the feeling of figuring the puzzle out makes these book series a joy to explore. All pattern magic books come with with step-by- step projects. Each project is fully illustrated with clear diagrams and photographs showing the stages of construction, the muslins, and the finished garments. The series follows each creative approach to pattern making into separate sections (parts).

Tomoko is famous for the quick-turn technique which entice you to draft a pattern flat adding twists to create folds which in turn are sewn into your desired seam shape. “Close, cut and open out”.

Book 1 started by explaining the fundamentals of her techniques. That drape is a dance of light and shadow. That you can create three dimensional forms with design lines only. This book explores interwoven designs like bamboo shoots to musubus (bows).

Book 2: “Unexpected shapes and forms”. Part 1 explore geometric shapes like wearing a circle, a ballon, a triangle or a square. Part 2 explore decorative structures like knots, stars… Part 3 explores vanishing pockets, lapels and ties.

Book 3: Perhaps with the most unusual of the designs of the series.  Tomoko thinks authenticity is getting harder and harder to come by and that exploration of craftsmanship is translated into more complex projects. You will find ruffles, shirring and sharp pleats in a perspective you may never seen before.

All the books design concepts could be applied into wearable clothes by reinterpreting the constructions and scaling. Are you tempted?

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*Copy of the book 3 was provided for the review. Book 1 and 2 borrowed from my library for a comprehensive perspective. Opinions my own. Images my own presented with permission of Laurence King.

  • Personally, I just can’t get my mind around something that makes even a dressform’s perfectly moulded boobs look deformed and/or droopy…perhaps origami is best left to paper or non-wearable fabric projects? #ConfessYourUnpopularOpinion 😉

    • houseofpinheiro


  • The wearing a bag has me tempted! I was toying with the idea of having the detachable hood on my coat turn into a bag for when I forget to bring one to the grocery store! I have done a few pattern magic patterns (I have the first two books) and while some are not everyday wear, they are a great fun and a challenge and I think a must for anyone who ever toyed with the idea of costuming.

    • what a clever idea!!!! Since in the Uk they charge you for bags…..

  • I am soooo tempted! I only have the first book but desperately want 2 and 3 as well. And the one for stretch fabrics too. I’ve made the bow on a bodice for a dress for my 4 year old. It isn’t perfect (there’s some extra fabric right at the bust, possibly because there was no dart to close up) but my daughter loves it and wears it whenever it’s clean. Her longest run with it has been 4 days! I also made 3D cubes on a circle skirt for her. It’s very cute but I should have used sturdier interfacing to help the cubes keep their shape (I used heavy interfacing but should have gone with that craft stuff).

    • That is so cool. You get to try all the fun techniques and the outfits get worn and loved. Book two still my favourite and most wearable as is.

  • Lorraine Delhomme

    Wow, the book 3 seems really really fun to use.

    I have 1 & 2 and the one for stretch fabrics, in English (but i’m French) that’s really really hard for me to understand the construction of those garments but whatever, it really is a great inspirational book.

  • Have you used any of the books to add features to any of your clothes, Rachel?