Sunday, November 13, 2016

Book review - Patternmaking for jacket and coat design

A few of you expressed an interest in a proper review for the book Patternmaking for jacket and coat design by Pamela Vanderlinde.

I found this book online when I was browsing through online bookstores looking for another book. As I’ve done quite a bit of pattern drafting in the past 2-3 years and have bought quite a few reference books on drafting as well, this caught my eye. Seeing some pages of it online I got really interested. It seemed to work from the same kind of block/sloper that I made for myself in Suzy Furrer’s Craftsy class so would help me get further from that starting point. I was not disappointed: it does work from a block or sloper, but the draft of a basic block or sloper is not included in the book. The author assumes you have a sloper to start with (explicitly mentioned in the book) and also assumes you know the basic terminology. I don’t have any problems understanding what is meant.

Drafts for 1 piece or 2 piece sleeves are included and drafted different from what I know from other systems. Something to try one day. (if you’re interested, I did a comparison of sleeve drafts in 2015 here and here)

From the sloper 3 different jacket/coat slopers are described: jacket, mannish and coat. I’ve never heard of the “mannish” variation and it’s not that much different from the jacket. The way to add the extra ease for a coat is a bit different from the way Suzy Furrer describes in her class (the sleeves class btw), having not tried any of those systems yet I can’t have a preference.

Then there are 7 chapters “devoted to  a historically significant design”. These are the blacer, tuxedo, mao jacket, motorcycle jacket, frock coat, military jacket and balmacaan coat. A great list with much diversity, though I do miss the trench coat.

Pamela Vanderlinde made the contents for each chapter the same: she describes a (very short) history of the style (2 pages), shows a few photos of that style in contemporary fashion (2 pages as well), then shows how to make the pattern, shows some toile/muslin photos, shows the final pattern pieces and a technical drawing and list of all pattern pieces you need, including lining. The parts of how to make the pattern, the final pattern pieces and technical drawing are very well done and to me the most interesting. The muslin pictures don’t add much. Some photos of well fitting muslins are shown on dressforms with the obligatory remark “Make any necessary fit corrections to pattern”. But nothing on how to do that or what problems you could specifically encounter with a certain style or certain area of the draft. It just doesn’t add much to it.

An example of the instructions, concise and to the point. I like this clear style very much:


Example of the drawing in the part where she shows how to draft the pattern:


And an example of technical drawing and list of pattern pieces:


For each chapter she states too which techniques you will learn.

The blazer

  • mannish block
  • 3-panel style-line
  • semi-notched lapel
  • 2-piece contour sleeve
  • single welt pocket


  • shawl collar
  • classic princess style-line
  • 2-piece contour sleeve
  • back vent
  • welt pocket with flap

The military jacket

  • cutaway style-line with faced hem
  • armhole princess with front contour dart
  • mandarin collar
  • 1 piece sleeve with flared cuff

The motorcyle jacket

  • asymmetrical exposed front zipper closure
  • convertible collar
  • armhole princess style
  • welt pockets with exposed zippers
  • exposed zipper sleeve vent with godet

The mao jacket

  • tunic style jacket
  • collar with stand
  • breast and hip patch pocket with flaps

The balmacaan coat

  • 2-piece raglan sleeve
  • flared silhouette
  • Prussian convertible collar
  • hidden-button placket
  • inseam pocket with welt
  • sleeve tab

The frock coat

  • peak lapel
  • waistline seam
  • flared sleeve
  • flared skirt
  • inverted back pleat

I’m happy to have found this book. The text is concise and to the point, the drawings are clear and easy to follow. I have browsed it with great interest and though I just started another coat (not drafted myself) I think I will use this in the future. A good addition to my sewing/drafting library.


  1. Great post. I'm definitely going to order this one. Do you have any other patternmaking books you would recommend? I've got the Armstrong book but am looking to expand.

    1. I plan to do more book reviews and will certainly do sime on drafting books. The Armstrong book is certainly a good one. Difficult to recommend without knowing what you are looking for.

  2. Sounds good. I have bought the jacket drafting class on Craftsy, but it will be a while before I get to that. I do find pattern making fascinating.

  3. Thank you, Sigrid. I appreciate your review. I, too, wish the trench coat were included.

  4. Thanks for the review, Sigrid. All the more reason to finally get my sloper right!