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Book Review #1 - Patternmaking with Stretch Knit Fabrics by Julie Cole

Many of you have asked questions about different pattern books so I decided to give you my two cents worth. 

I was an adjunct professor at the International Academy of Design and Technology, Sanford Brown College, and The Art Institute in San Antonio, TX.  I taught pattern and other fashion design classes for about 12 years. 

Many of these books have been required texts and some of them are just books I was interested in.  I love seeing other people’s ideas and takes on different subjects. Overall, I discovered along the way that I am a book junkie and I have way too many. (Is that even possible?  That’s kind of like saying I have too much fabric!)  So…here goes, book review #1.

Patternmaking with Stretch Knit Fabrics by Julie Cole.

I love this book.  It is interesting, well written, and has clear instructions with illustrations. 

It covers what a knit is and is not.  She also explains how to tell how much stretch a knit has as well as how to tell if it is a two-way or four-way stretch.  She leads you through a stretch ratio process.  (Chart is included in the book)  She then clearly explains which knit to choose and how to know if it is appropriate for the projects that you are working on. 

Moving past fabric and onto pattern. 

This book is set up with a sloper system.  Slopers are a basic pattern.  They have no real design and are all about fit.  If your sloper does not fit any design made from it will not fit well either.

You will create foundation patterns for a top (shoulder to waist), hip (waist to hip), and sleeve.  These foundation patterns are then used to create slopers for skirts, pants, undergarments, and swimwear.  Once the foundation patterns are set you move on to creating more customized patterns and garments.  One example of this would be to combine the top and hip slopers together to create a foundation that would be appropriate for a longer fitted T-shirt. 

Some of the more technical info in this book includes how to grade your pattern to account for different stretch ratios.  There are 4 different ratios.

Minimal stretch

Moderate stretch

Very Stretchy

Super Stretchy

All of the above ratios are available in two way stretch.  This means the fabric really only stretches from side to side not so much up and down.

Very stretchy and Super Stretchy also come in 4-way stretch. (Think swimwear or dancewear.)  4-way stretch fabric stretches from side to side as well as up and down.

The fit of the slopers is great.  I did a custom set for myself and I love the fit of the garment I created from it.  For my personal taste I will add a little more ease in the upper arm area (but I have to do this for everything!). 

The downside of this book is there are A LOT of slopers to make upfront BUT once you have done that and have a working set to work from it is all fun and games.  On custom measurements, there is a measurement that is not included but needed for the draft.  This measurement is for the top of the front form to the base of the neck.  If you are using a form this is no problem but if you are using a human then you need to plug in 4 ¼ in this slot.

This book includes a Knit it Together section that summarizes each chapter, a Stop: What Do I Do If that gives solutions to common problems, a Self-critique section to make sure you understood and thought through all you covered in the chapter, and finally Key Terms for each chapter. 

This book, like most pattern books, does contain some errors but they are very minimal and have not caused major troubles. 

For PDF pattern drafters – This book should easily work for you as well.  You will have to change some of the directions and eyeball some of the curves but really it is a pretty easy transition.

I highly recommend this book. 

Be creative and have fun with your stretch knit patterns.

This blog is NOT sponsored. Some product links are affiliate links which means if you buy something I'll receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Patternmaking with Stretch Knit Fabrics

by Julie Cole

I would also recommend the companion book that covers sewing knits.

I do recommend books with studio access.  It will allow you online access to downloadable files and study aids.


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