This is not a description of what I do – only what I aim to create in knitting – but a series of 3 cult pattern-cutting books from Japan by Tomoko Nakamichi, published by Laurence King that I discovered at the V&A bookshop. The books show you how to create stunning, sculptural and Japanese inspired clothes step-by-step through clear diagrams – not unlike knitting schematics – and detailed photographs. Each of them is a gem, revealing the secrets of each garment like pieces in a puzzle.
Who is the genius behind them? The answer is Tomoko Nakamichi, a professor in Pattern Making at Bunka Fashion College – yes, that sounded familiar because it is the college where both designers Kenzo and Yamamoto among others studied. See bunka-fc.ac.jp/en/history. The books bring together the results of the research on garment patterns she has carried out to help instruct her students.
“Making a pattern. Clothes are a way of expressing oneself, and with this in mind I’m often inspired by fashions of the past. To discover how they were made, I try drafting the patterns myself, and sometimes come up with designs that are entirely my own” she writes in Pattern Magic available at Amazon, here: amazon.co.uk.
My own sewing skills are very limited and need to be improved immensely but that is not the only reason why these books appealed to me. Learning more about pattern making, I believe will make me a better knitwear designer. Take one look at Mathew Gnagy’s designs and you will understand me, see my post on knitting-off-the-axis. Merely studying each photograph is like admiring a beautiful sculpture, each garment a piece of art! A true inspiration and an outstanding source of pattern knowledge – indeed, they are magic!