Pattern Cutting made easy – Gillian Holman


Pattern cutting made easy: a step-by-step introduction by Gillian Holman is a simple guide to pattern drafting and modification. As a teacher of pattern cutting and sewing for over twenty years Holman knows just what information is helpful to dressmakers. Its brilliantly concise and straight forward to use, each guide has a simple set of images on one side and numbered bullet point instructions on the other.

Pattern cutting page 1

Although there are instructions for creating block pattern pieces from scratch Holman suggests using manufactured patterns as a base, because drafting your own without guidance is difficult and prone to mistakes. This makes sense, if your not planning on using the pattern for a commercial purpose then why make life more complicated? It’s much simpler to use a basic pattern block you’ve already used and worked out the fit issues with.

Pattern cutting page 2

The book is split into three main sections, skirts, sleeves and bodices with added instructions for creating trouser and jacket blocks. Within the three main sections are multiple variations of cuts, for example within the skirts section there is a circle skirt, fish tail and box pleat just to name a few, all of which have clear instructions on how to modify a basic skirt block to the desired design. The same is done for sleeves and bodices with a wide range of collars and pockets to.


I used this book to draft my own pattern inspired by the straight cut 1940’s dresses I’ve been reading about recently. As a base pattern I used Colette ‘Pastille’ it’s a good simple base and I’m pretty much a set size with only a few fit adjustments needed. I’ve wanted to make a wrap dress for ages and even tried drafting my own pattern about a year ago but it turned out terrible with a huge gaping gap at the front!

photo 2-horzss

So when I saw the instructions in this book to do it properly I jumped at the chance, reading through before I started I was a little worried they were to complicated, but once I started sketching it out on paper it all came together and they really made sense. I also modified the skirt block to make it more a-line and created yolk blocks all with help from the instructions in this book. Here are probably to many photo’s of the finished dress, I’m really pleased with how it came out I love contrast of the king fisher blue bias and the bright pink floral fabric:

IMAG2482(lol! not the most flattering camera angle!)dress 3

dress 29781849940733-826x1024Pattern Cutting Made Easy: A Step-By-Step introduction by Gillian Holman
Published by Batsford, RRP £16.99, Available here on Amazon.


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