Review: Fashion Patternmaking Techniques [vol. 1] Home » Pattern Drafting » Review: Fashion Patternmaking Techniques [vol. 1]

Fashion Patternmaking Techniques [vol. 1] by Antonio Donnano, How to make Skirts, Trousers and Shirts for Women and Men,

promopress 2014

About the author

Antonio Donnanno began his career in his family’s tailor shop and later, after majoring in history and philosophy, focused on the teaching of costume history and patternmaking techniques. In 1982, he founded the acknowledged Euromode School Italia in Bergamo, which soon expanded with new branches on the international stage and where, alongside his teaching duties, Donnanno also serves as director. Antonio Donnanno has written dozens of books about fashion and has his own consulting firm, focusing on patternmaking and business.” (Fashion Patternmaking Techniques [vol. 1], promopress 2014)

The first one from an amazing series

Fashion Patternmaking Techniques [vol. 1] is the first of three books from the Fashion Patternmaking Techniques series. As well as the other two, this volume contains amazing and very inspirational illustrations (no flat 2D designs).

To my surprise, I noticed that this book has considerably fewer reviews on Amazon than other pattern making books.

This first volume starts with an introduction to fabrics manufacturing, pattern industrialisation and specifications of different human figures, proportions and postures. There are detailed descriptions of how to take your body measurements in order to create your own basic pattern slopers you will use to make your own creative fashion designs. Also, industrial charts for women’s and men’s measurements are included.

In this book, you find a detailed step-by-step tutorial on how to construct basic pattern blocks for a skirt, trousers, bodice and fitted sleeve.

Making your own creative designs

Filled with short and appropriate instructions of various pattern constructions, this book is more like a manual or course book. I really appreciate that it is written in a concise style which immediately gives you an impulse to use it for your sewing experiments.

In the images below, you can see examples of skirts that were made by altering a basic skirt pattern. I have made the sewing patterns based on the instructions from the publication.

A fancy skirt with knife pleats inspired by a sewing pattern in Fashion Patternmaking Techniques [vol. 1] book.
A flower/petal style skirt based on a sewing pattern from the Fashion Patternmaking Techniques [vol. 1] book.

To make pattern drafting easier for myself (and anyone else interested in pattern making and altering) I have created calculators that will help gain specific pattern dimensions based on your (or anyone else’s 🙂 body measurements.

Even though the book states it is an introductory course in pattern design, I would recommend it to an intermediate sewer or pattern designer who is already familiar with the basics of pattern manipulations. Dart control techniques like pivoting or moving darts are just briefly explained towards the end of the book.

Use this book, if you are already familiar with basic pattern manipulation techniques.

If you succeed in not getting lost in all of your measurements (especially drafting trousers according to this book is rather complicated), and calculations, you will succeed in creating your basic blocks. After each basic construction tutorial, there are many beautiful images and creative sewing pattern ideas. Each one is accomplished with a brief description of the construction steps.

About three-quarters of the books cover women’s fashion while the rest men’s fashion. The longest chapter is dedicated to various skirt designs. From really simple ones like the pencil skirt or circle skirts to more complicated ones with pleats, flounces or gathers.

In the chapter dealing with bodices, you learn about different bodice type constructions and adjustments according to different body shapes. A long part is dedicated to various neckline styles and collars. Although there is a sleeve block, you won’t find many sleeve design variation examples there.

In the image below, you can see a bodice based on a picture from the book I drafted briskly. It is in the creative exercises section, where you have to figure out the pattern completely yourself. (The middle part is a little clumsy, as I wanted to proceed quickly. There should be a layer of lining or facing to hide the seam allowance. However, I thought it unfair to photoshop the photo 🙂 )

A fancy bodice made according to an image from the Fashion Patternmaking Techniques book.
Exercise pattern from Fashion Patternmaking Techniques [vol. 1].


This publication starts with a very high-level summary and there is an overview at the beginning of each chapter. On 250 pages it contains about 160 sewing pattern designs, 50 fancy pattern design exercises and plenty of fascinating ideas.

If you master basic cut modifications and fancy to experiment with more exciting or challenging projects, this is the right book for you. Even if you already know how to make basic blocks, this publication is a great source of inspiration. The only part I miss is a well-made index that would help quickly direct the reader to the information they’re trying to find. Despite this lack, it is certainly worth having it in your book collection on sewing.

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