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Tomoko Nakamichi makes it all look very straightforward. 'Cut and join flat pieces of fabric to assemble into a three-dimensional garment,' she instructs, simply enough. 'You can create a garment by cutting, moving and reassembling the pieces of a pattern, just like the pieces of a puzzle.' When you see her instructions to make a dress with gathered hole, I was tempted to make that pattern and cut into the finest cotton money can buy and get sewing. but instead I started off with a fitted dress pattern and slash into to in sunray lines, opened out the pattern, drew a smooth line for the hole and a new sideseam, accommodating all the extra fabric, and ta-da! There I had your very own pattern for a dress with gathered hole.

I don't think I am quite ready to attempt the dress with an otishiana - a drop hole which can connect underneath a skirt to another otishiana to make a tunnel big enough to keep your pet guinea pig, but I am finding it difficult to resist making the knot dress with a gorgeously plump and elegant bow tied high at the waist.

Pattern Magic comes with instructions on how to make your one dressmaking block - you just have to photocopy the pattern at 200% for a full sized version - and if you are the kind of person who has endless patience and a love of trigonometry, you will be in heaven and your wardrobe will, literally, be given a whole new dimension.

© Serena Rhiannon Graham, all rights reserved