Loving Japanese pattern making

Basic bodice block

This past weekend, we went to see the Yohji Yamamoto exhibition at the V&A (it was the final weekend, so I won’t bother posting a link). I really liked his ethos of ‘letting the fabric speak’ and was amused by his statement that when he started, he just wanted to make women dress like men. Some of my favourite pieces, however, were very feminine. He had beautiful dresses, with a little something unusual in them, like unexpected seam lines or use of zippers and buttons. (check him out on Google image search for yourself!)

Pattern for bodice with a circle pattern instead of darts for shaping

It was the same playful and curious aesthetic I loved in my Pattern Magic books and it inspired me to start learning more about that pattern making process. So this weekend, I made a little pattern block (which is interestingly quite different from the pattern block in my European pattern cutting books). And did a paper pattern to create a bodice without darts, but with a circle across the chest instead. I also mocked up the bamboo inspired bodice, which is lovely even though I didn’t get it quite right.

Bamboo weave bodice - may make this in grown up size

I’m hoping to learn a lot more about this aesthetic and try to implement some of the pattern making techniques in the books on real life-sized versions for myself at some point. In the meantime, check out the amazing seamstresses who have already done it at the Pattern Magic Flickr group.


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