My new pattern making books, including two of the three Japanese books I wanted, arrived today. I was so excited that I dropped everything that second to flip through all of them!
The Japanese books are everything I thought they'd be and more. They explain how to draft the different patterns and how to do fitting. Some of the things they suggest are a little bit different than what I've seen previously, but the changes suggested make sense. There's more than one way to make flat pattern changes, after all.
The instructions in these pages are very dense; there's a lot included in each diagram and if I were to be working out of this book, I'd have to really concentrate on what to do, at least at the beginning. Even so, these instructions are definitely more complete than other instructions I've seen, and there are a number of different styles that they make.
I had also bought two editions of vintage pattern making books; one was published in 1938 and the other in 1946. It's quite interesting to be able to compare the two books, because in a way they embody the changes in the world as a result of world war II.
Much of the content in both is the same, and both books have the same section, but in each book, one section has been expanded to include more information than the equivalent section in the other book. In the later book, it's the section on "making do" that has been greatly expanded. This section has a lot of ideas on how to alter clothes to hide worn spots or to create entirely new clothes altogether out of worn ones. This section exists in the earlier book but it's much, much smaller.
The expanded section in the earlier edition is the one on embroidery stitches and ways to prettify the world around the reader. There are lots of examples and patterns and ideas on ways to use the embroidery in the earlier edition, but much of that is lacking in the later edition.
Seeing that difference really does kind of bring home how much world war II and the rationing affected people. Going from having the means and the ability to create beauty around you to not having enough and having to make do with and reuse everything. The beauty was still there but it wasn't as important as learning to make do, just as before people knew how to make do but it was a lesser focus than making things beautiful.
I think that all four of these books are a real find and I'm very much looking forward to exploring them even more.