Unlocking the Secrets of Pattern Magic

Liz H. was intrigued by Tomoko Nakamichi’s book, Pattern Magic, which inspired a cult following here in the US long before the English translation was published. She decided to replicate the book’s Bamboo Shoot bodice to incorporate into a dress. She accomplished her objective, noting along the way that the instructions in the book are less than comprehensive. Liz demonstrated the steps she used at a recent Sew Chicago meeting and modeled her dress in the ASG Chicago fashion show.

Here are some of the steps Liz demonstrated:

Liz began with a pattern that had a bust dart and a waistline seam, both essential for this design. After fitting the pattern, she made a full front bodice pattern on tracing paper, removed the seam allowances and cut out the bust dart wedge to the apex (not the dart point).

After drawing a center front line, Liz drew the desired “bamboo shoot” lines.


The dart wedge is then closed (dart rotation 101) and the lines spread apart – the farther apart they are spread, the more dramatic the effect.


Here is what the pattern looks like when it is taped back together.


And here is the final product. Beautiful.


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