Book Review: Patternmaking for Underwear Design

Some weeks ago I came across the book Patternmaking for Underwear Design, by Kristina Shin. I’ve already read some good reviews about it and, obviously, two seconds later I was already drafting patterns!

The book has 7 chapters, as you can see in the picture below. Except for the Introduction, each chapter features the drafting of different types of patterns, covering every step: from drawing the basic guidelines to the addition of seam allowances.

Index of Patternmaking for Underwear Design, by Kristina Shin
Index of Patternmaking for Underwear Design, by Kristina Shin

I really like Shin’s drafting method for bras because it’s based on the underwire measurements, as well as body measurements (bust height, outer arch and inner arch of the bust). It seems to me more logical and precise than other methods that develop the bra pattern from the body sloper pattern.

It is, as you can see, a comprehensive book and the patterns featured are suitable for lots of variations. However, keep in mind that it’s essentially a patternmaking book: there isn’t any information for constructing the garments. Also, the bra patterns used as examples are drafted for a 34B and there isn’t information for grading. Nevertheless, I’ve adapted them to my size using my own measurements.

bra patterns shin1 corsetry patterns shin1

Shin’s explanations are clear, if only a bit technical, and they’re accompanied by drawings, which really helps the reader to understand the drafting steps. So far, I’ve drafted two bras, some panties and a bodysuit, and the results have been great!

The only thing that confuses me is her sizing method and size conversions: according to Shin, 34B equals 75C in the French system (that also is the system we use in Spain), but almost all the size charts I’ve found tend to equal a 34B to a French 90B. If I followed Shin’s method, I should be using a 30A (according to Shin, it would equal a French 65B). However, my actual size is a French 80C/80D (UK 28C/28D): two band sizes down and almost 3 cup sizes up!! (Trust me, there’s NO WAY I could fit in a French 65B!).

Nevertheless, this sizing madness is almost irrelevant for drafting the patterns. You can draft the patterns using your own measurements instead of the standard ones that are used by the author (that’s what I did and the resultant bra fits quite good!) Or you can draft the patterns in the standard size and then grade them up or down, finding grading instructions elsewhere (or don’t grade them, in case you happen to be the standard size!).

Kristina Shin's Sizing method
Kristina Shin’s Sizing method
Shin's conversion chart
Shin’s conversion chart

So, have you read Kristina Shin’s book? Do you know any other book about patternmaking for lingerie? I’d love to hear your suggestions!


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