This week I received in the mail a copy of Dr Kristina Shin’s Patternmaking for Underwear Design 2nd edition which I will be utilizing in an upcoming blog project which I will announce soon. A lot of people over at the Bra Making Forum had been asking about this book so I wanted to post a quick first impression which I will later follow-up with a more in-depth thoughtful review once I’ve tested this method. I don’t have the first edition of this text but the two major changes from the first to the second edition is the inclusion of measurement chart so you can make more than just the standard 34B size and the inclusion of a section on grading which is what finally made me decide to purchase this book.
I’ve used a lot of patternmaking texts over the years for apparel patternmaking from Armstrong Jones to Bunka to vintage to more unique methods and I’m pretty comfortable with just a diagram and some basic numbers. I learnt to make patterns for shoes entirely this way. So having said that I like the clean bare bones feel of this book. However if using this book is your first foray into patternmaking of any kind you might be frustrated with the lack of explanation.
To get the best use out of this book you would need to be comfortable with basic bra construction techniques as no sewing instruction is given. Some terminology is slightly different to that used in the home bra making industry. For example a partial band bra is referred to as a hook up bra. This is most likely what it is referred to in the industry if you’re into jargon and slang however most differences are easily understood by looking at the diagrams of which there are many in the book. This book feels to me like a Bunka text which is a plus for me.
The book opens with a map of contents which explains how the different blocks relate to each other. However because there is no index and the intermediate blocks are only referred to in the contents in the beginning it’s hard to figure out which ones they are without some heavy flipping through the pages. So this book is not great for quick reference.
This book covers how to draft a basic set of blocks, bodice, skirt and t-shirt so if you’ve never drafted these before you don’t need to buy a separate book in order to do so.. (Some sewing books refer to them as slopers but block is the industry term). Then there are drafting instruction for 12 different bras. Instructions for drafting corsets, briefs, sleepwear and some knitwear is also included making this a fairly useful book.
Of course if you’re a serious bra maker then what you’re REALLY buying this book for is the grading instructions. This section is fairly brief but it seems to me if you have a basic grasp of how grading should go then it should be sufficient. I can’t comment further until I test the method myself.
I hope this first impression is helpful for anyone on the fence about buying this book. Please check back to see what I end up drafting from these instructions for the true litmus test. I will be doing a comparison test of sorts. Stay tuned.
I paid $57.99 for this book and purchased it from Amazon.com