Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Magic Pattern Book: A Review & Giveaway


Today I have a book review for you:  The Magic Pattern Book by Amy Barickman!

The premise of this sewing book is a wearable wardrobe made from six basic patterns which can be transformed into many, many different looks.  Included is a tank top, skirt, dress, cardigan, coat, hat, and tote bag.


The Magic Pattern Book is geared towards the beginner, and uses a very intuitive approach to teach garment sewing.

The book also includes basic construction techniques that will be quite helpful for anyone interested in learning to sew.


Each individual pattern also includes a few sidebars with suggested design changes and fabric choices to keep you thinking of even more creative uses for the base patterns.


The patterns in the book are included on a CD in sizes S-XXL.  Finished garment measurements are noted on the first page of each individual design; for instance, the "Anne" shift dress ranges from a finished bust of 38" - 45.5".  Most patterns work directly from body measurements, so I am not sure why this choice was made.  And yes, these are PDF patterns.  This is my least favorite part of the book, and unfortunately, it seems to be a growing trend.


What I really love about this book is the fact that it encourages beginners to be creative with pattern pieces and fabric choices right from the start.  Six basic patterns may seem limiting, but in reality, it takes away some of the guess work while still allowing for creativity.  (I clearly remember sitting at the pattern book table in JoAnn Fabrics many years ago and feeling completely overwhelmed by hundreds of choices, none of which were exactly what I was looking for - this book would have been very helpful at that moment.)

I think Amy has created a clever approach for someone interested in learning to make their own self-made wardrobe.  There is a lot of wonderful information contained within the pages of her new book, but it remains very approachable.  The illustrated diagrams are clear and concise, and the overall layout of the book is easy to follow.  And best of all, while working your way through several iterations of one basic pattern, you cannot help but learn how to do the same for any design you come across in the future.  


Workman Publishing has generously offered a copy of The Magic Pattern Book to one lucky U.S. resident.  To enter, leave a comment on this post - if you like, tell me what your next sewing project will be.  The giveaway will close at midnight on October 21st PDT.  

And make sure to check out the rest of the blog tour!

October 15          Four SquareWalls
October 16          Pink Chalk Studio
October 17          City Stitching with Christine Haynes
October 20          Cut Out & Keep
October 21          He Sowed, She Sewed
October 22          Chic Steals
October 23          Threads
October 24          Indygo Junction



[A copy of this book was sent to me for review, but the opinions expressed here are my own.]

70 comments:

  1. So enjoy your blog!!
    Returning to sewing after a very long break. Would appreciate a great sewing guide! Thanks for the opportunity!

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  2. Working on a Cami Dress sew-along.

    Thanks for the chance to win!!

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  3. I like ideas for using patterns in different ways to get different looks but, like you, I don't like PDFs at all - the kitty tries to help with the taping and it gets messy.
    Right now I'm working on a 70s dress. I should really get it done before it's too cold out to wear it.

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  4. Brilliant, I've been looking for a beginners book for a friend of mine and this looks just perfect!
    I'm in the UK so I know I can't win it but I will be ordering a copy for her (and have a peek myself)
    I've been following your blog for a little while now and find it inspiring. Thanks for sharing this gem!
    Cheers!

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  5. I saw this in a book store last week. I really like how she shows ways to change up the patterns for different looks. I just started a pair of skinny jeans last night (my first skinnys)... we'll see how they turn out.

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  6. I'm working on a bodysuit for my daughter. Next I think I'll tackle a shit for my husband!
    Thanks!

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  7. Thanks for the opportunity to win. The book looks like a great one for my daughter who is learning to sew. She's out of town so it's hard for me to help her much. Right now, I'm working on a whole lotta khaki for school uniform skirts. Ack! I need some color soon!

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  8. I will be making winter skirts for myself. sarah@forrussia.org

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  9. My next project will be a long skirt for myself. I need to take a break from making charity quilts and make a skirt. Thank you for the chance to win. This book would be a helpful reference guide.

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  10. You're right! The concept of experimenting with patterns is intimidating - very cool to encourage that from the beginning. I think my next sewing project will be a picnic skirt from sewcaroline or another out and about dress.

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  11. My next sewing project is Christmas presents for the grandkids: aprons with matching chefs hats. Sorry if this posts twice, when I logged on to comment the box became blank.

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  12. I really like the Eloise coat in this book. I have a weeks vacation starting in less than two weeks; I plan to sew several things, including a fitted Vogue jacket (a challenge project) using several of the techniques I've picked up in this blog! Thanks Laura Mae!

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  13. Would love to be entered. Thanks! I am currently working on a leisure dress for around the house for my aunt. She only likes the ones I make! lol

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  14. I have a pattern for a dress that I have been wanting to start for a while.. I finally got the fabric... however, Christmas will be here before I know it and I have a few projects that I need to start...Christmas gifts.

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  15. I am excited for this book. My next sewing projects are to finish my Halloween table topper..BEFORE Halloween and my sons Halloween costume

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  16. I could most definitely use a book like this! Thanks for the opportunity! My current project is a 1950's style three piece suit. It's going veeeeeeeeery slow :)

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  17. I am working on my sons first Halloween costume, he'll be a blue fuzzy teddy bear. Poor child. This book looks like it is full of inspiration.

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  18. Great review, and giveaway- thank you! I'm hoping to make a couple of winter tunics, once the canning's done. That, and saving my pennies to buy this book. :)

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  19. Thanks for the great review and opportunity to win. I took a hiatus from garment sewing to make bags and quilts, but I am ready to get back to it. This book would be an invaluable resource. I am starting a tunic with Angela Walters' Athena line. I hope it comes out well!!

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    1. Please contact me at lanslady@gmail.com if I am lucky enough to win! Thanks!

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  20. Encouraging review. My next project will be a jacket for sure, lightweight for the gentle winters
    here in the southern parts.

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  21. I'm currently making the Emery dress and when I am done I am going to make a delphine skirt.

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  22. I want to make a felted wrap coat for fall, for layering - thanks for the chance

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  23. I agree the PDF format for patterns is definitely NOT my favorite but the concept is wonderful. I just wonder how a size small has a finished bust of 38". This is a very roomy fit!

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  24. My next project is going to be a 1950's swing jacket from a modern reissue of a vintage pattern. Trying to inject a little fabulous into my life :)

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  25. My next sewing project is a challenge quilt for my quilting bee. I drew the color red.

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  26. I'm going to be busy sewing rag doll costumes for my daughters and my niece!

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  27. I have heard so much about this book. I am a avid seamstress, and am slowly working into designing, just a few pieces for my friends, and for fun! Iwould love to have this book!

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    1. whoops forgot to say my next project is 40's dress for me. Since the last one decided it was made for another!

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  28. What an interesting book! Just what I'm looking for-how to make a variety of clothes without buying tons of patterns. I love creating! My next sewing project will be making some baby girl skirts out of old blouses of mine.

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  29. Right now I am doing Christmas presents like the Sew Together Bag by Sew Demented

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  30. I'm going to sew patchwork pillows and Christmas presents. I bought a sewing machine that sews knit fabrics (rather than eating then) so I'm also excited to make something out of knit fabric.

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  31. My next project is a high low tunic! I would love to win a copy of this book! iamsquid@ymail.com

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  32. I love the variety of ideas in one place!

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  33. Still have a few more quilts to finish before I get back to making clothes. -- soparkaveataoldotcom

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  34. I'm finishing some comfy "around the house" clothes for myself for after surgery. Upon recovery, I'll work on Christmas items.

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  35. Looks like a very useful book :) As for what my next project will be, who knows, lol. I tend to work on whatever strikes me at the moment. I've been working out a muslin for Simplicity 1419 with the 2444 neckline. I hope to make it with this fantastic fabric with dinging chairs all over it. But I tend to get really excited about t-shirt making at random. We'll see what churns out next!

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  36. I love the concept of this book, though I too do not enjoy pdf's. Thanks for the chance to win! I'm on a small break from sewing but my son just informed me he needs a Halloween costume in 10 days so we shall see....

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  37. Thank you for the opportunity to win a great book. I enjoy reading your blog.

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  38. I was just taking a look around and found this:) Thanks for the opportunity to win this book, being one of many women who are between sizes that manufacturers suggest are real, it looks like there are quite a few things for me to learn since I decided to make my own tops :)
    ~Margaret

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  39. Thank you for this giveaway ! My next project... maybe a cambie dress, or a Deer&Doe skirt, or... my list is so big !!!

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  40. thank you for the opportunity to win this. I have fabric sitting on my sewing table for a dress I hope to wear to a wedding

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  41. I'm working on a skirt now. But I also want to make a coat before winter!

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  42. As a 30 year beginner this book seems like it would be perfect to bring my skills to the next level. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  43. My next sewing project is activewear.

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  44. This book looks very interesting...I also sometimes get overwhelmed by so many patterns, none of which are exactly what I have in mind but which look so intriguing :-) ! I don't know exactly what my next project will be - I'm waffling between a test run of the By Hand London Anna dress or a chiffon overblouse that would be worn for Christmas Eve. Eeny meeny miney moe...

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  45. I need to make a bag, mainly to carry my crochet projects around with me!

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  46. Right now I'm working on my daughter's Halloween costume. Then I'm going to do some selfish sewing and finish a wrap dress that I've had sitting cut and unsewn for two years!

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  47. I love the look of this book. I'd like to make some casual, long tops to wear with slacks. Your book would be the perfect help! Thanks.

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  48. my next sewing project is a quilt for my sister for christmas
    cooladam1 at live dot com

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  49. I am working on quilt repairs.

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  50. wow, I am just really getting into garment making for me and would love to be able to go "off pattern" and make changes. Sewing bravery, as it were. Next projects....baby leggings, sleeping beauty, maleficent and prince phillip costumes and to finish the eva dress i started.

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  51. Yes please! :-) I've just finished making a bunch of Biblical costumes for a theatre production, and I'm nearly finished with an adult Elsa gown. Next up: sewing for a fundraiser for a friend who is a missionary in Haiti. Over the past two years, I've raised nearly $2500 for her sewing baby items, home decor items, accessories and custom projects, with all proceeds going to her ministry. Craft show is November 8, so I need to get busy!

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  52. Why do the patterns have XL and XXL but no XS? My bust measurement is 32, if the finished garments start at 38 inches the patterns would be huge.

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  53. Sizing up to XXL? sign me up! Next project? Some interior decorating for the condo hubs and I just bought. Pillows, curtains, bed stuff, you name it!

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  54. Interested - working on two Jalie zippered tops for Fall layering.

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  55. Looks like a great book to add to my sewing patterns. Lots of versatility which is great. A great price for lots of options.

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  56. I'd really like to try some easy garment sewing.

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  57. I want to make a skirt or apron.

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  58. I'd like to give outerwear a try

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  59. Ooh thank you for the giveaway! My next project is an altering of the Vogue fitting shell pattern into a plungy V neck dress, complete with suede trim - my first time altering or really fitting something to me, and my first time sewing with leather. This makes me think I can get a lot more out of a book like this than I could just a few months ago!

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  60. I am always on the look out for new sewing books, whether for beginners or advanced sewing. Your review was very helpful in my deciding that this book will be one of my next acquisitions. I have been sewing off and on for years and always feel more relaxed and confident when I have an abundance of learning opportunities. One way or another this will be among my continuing education references.

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  61. My next sewing project will be a sweater for my 9 month old son :) (I'm in the US)

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  62. My next sewing project, that I hope to cut out tomorrow is a Marcy Tilton Vogue pattern: a grey raincoat

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  63. Thank you for the opportunity to win this bag. Right now I'm working on making bags, which will become Christmas presents.

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  64. My current works in progress are quilt related rather than clothing. I've set aside some lovely wool tweed for a skirt but have yet to pick a pattern - maybe one from the book! Thanks!

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  65. Hi!!!
    I absolutely love your blog. The toile dress you made from a gertie pattern a while ago is really what inspired me to move to garments. My next project is a retro style coat made from purple and black houndstooth.

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