I have been buying books my whole life …. From book stores, tag or garage sales and from eBay, wherever I encounter them. While for a long time I concentrated on pattern drafting systems, or methods of making the patterns for women and for men, from late 18th C. to today and Shingo Sato with Transformational reconstruction I also bought designer biographies, and have compiled nearly the entire history of what one needs to know in sewing for women from Mary Brooks Picken and her life to Threads Magazine and their sewing book. From 19th C. until about 1972 it is pretty straight forward, reflecting how one was taught at home, in school and at University. Then the books, and the courses, became fractured as the books and courses become more specialized, as in Men’s Shirts.

Tailoring also figures, as it is an advanced and highly skilled course, then grading which was only important once industry needed it for sizing. Much work is still to be done on grading, sizing and global sizing – and then publish results. 3D visualization of a garment based on patterns is also entering the technical design field, along with numerous new and smart fabrics and other materials. To date no books have been published which address these topics as more than a mention. That said this library also includes textile and fabric dictionaries, and books on “knits”.

To round out the circularity of the topic, costume history books and books for museum exhibitions which either show details and clear pictures of garments, or discuss and show period patterns and sewing techniques are included. I remain a believer that if you wish to invoke period inspiration in design you also need to review how it was achieved in its original period to then take away aspects which invoke that period’s flavor. Much of what is ascribed to a designer is really a reflection of the creative pattern cutter interpreting his/her designs, so also histories which speak to the pattern gurus and who they cut for, and thus the shape influence on that designer, is important.

Many books cross subject matter – for example sewing techniques and tailoring. So, I have attempted to cross reference on as many topics as I can; please leave comments for books with your impressions of their usefulness (or not) and in which areas. And do come back to visit often to see what additional commentary by me or others has been left as well as further cross referencing between sources. Further, I anticipate starting with Mary Brooks Picken and writing to the history and evolution of how we make clothes. Members of Pat’s Library will receive notice when this is live.