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Friday, January 17, 2014

Worn Out: Patterns and Magic at Kinokuniya

Posted by on Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 11:46 AM

MARSHMALLOW HOODIE SHIRT By Tomoko Nakamichi.
  • MARSHMALLOW HOODIE SHIRT By Tomoko Nakamichi.

An annex to the International District's wildly popular Asian-foods emporium Uwajimaya, Kinokuniya is a two-tiered store with imported books and gifts, and singsong Japanese-pop background music, and narrow aisles that bring a crammed feeling. You'll also find taco-scented stickers, eraser sets rendered into thrillingly precise strawberry-dessert miniatures, magazines in every language, and a vast selection of instructional pattern-making books.

Fashion patterns are paper templates traced onto fabric—which get cut out and sewn together, forming clothes. To develop patterns, pattern-makers must incorporate three-dimensional fabric garments as two-dimensional paper shapes. This conversion is part of proper apparel development, but unless you're fascinated by elaborate spatial puzzles, measurements, and labeling rituals, the labor turns steadily joyless. (As in all things, it helps to be high, and to bring an assload of Skittles.)

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