If you have been following me for a while, you probably know Shingo Sato and his TR Cutting School, right? If not, I’ve written several blog posts on this subject, so you can check out this tag if you’re interested.

But in a nutshell, Shingo Sato organizes online Masterclasses to teach his patternmaking technique called TR Cutting and those who complete it can participate every summer to TR Masters’ Challenge.

During the challenge you have to complete patternmaking tasks. This is a good way to refresh your skills. Naturally you need to figure out the pattern by yourself without instructions. There are only pictures of the outcome as a reference.

The number of tasks used to be twenty-something, but now it’s dropped down to 5. With less time to complete them, too.

TR Masters’ Challenge 2019 took place in August. A total of 22 people from around the world managed to complete all the tasks and I was among them.

So now I thought I’d introduce the tasks and show you the one technique that is going to help you figure out all of them.

Origami seamed bamboo

That’s the official name of the technique that allows you to create a bamboo bodice with curved lines. And with the same idea you can also do the origami vortex.

The difference between this and the traditional origami bamboo is that instead of folds there are seams. But you still manage to keep the pattern in one piece. Of course, at this point you could also separate the different pieces completely, but in the case of the TR Masters’ Challenge, the pattern had to be kept in one piece.

Earlier I posted a picture of a bamboo bodice back on Instagram and that is going to serve as an example here.

Origami bamboo bodice with curved seams


1. Copy the basic bodice back piece. And draft the first two curved bamboo lines as in the illustration. They finish at the dart points.

2. Slash the first one open and close the dart. (Remember to leave a tack where the following line starts before slashing.)

3. Add a small seam allowance, like 0,7cm / 0,28in. Draft the third bamboo line before slashing the second one so that you get the tack.

4. Slash the second bamboo line and close the dart.

5. Add seam allowance. Draft the rest of the bamboo lines now that both darts are closed. Add some extra tacks because you’ll need them when sewing curved lines.

6. Slash the third line being careful not to completely separate the pattern piece. Open as much as you want – I’d say at least 6cm / 2,4in – and add seam allowance.

7. Slash the fourth line and add seam allowance. Etc.. until you finish the whole bodice.

Here’s the final pattern.

Pattern for origami bamboo bodice with curved lines

To sew the bodice, work backwards starting from the last bamboo line you slashed open. I added a bias strip between each seamline to highlight it. You can also topstitch. The more curved the lines are, the more difficult it will be to sew them. You’ll find the tacks useful.

sewing origami bamboo bodice

TR Masters’ Challenge 2019

So now that you know the basic technique, let’s have a look at the tasks.

The origami bamboo -tasks

The Challenge started with a basic bodice and in the second task there was a sleeve, too. Both of them were all about the origami seamed bamboo. Here are some pictures.

TR Masters' Challenge '19 Task 1
TR Masters' Challenge '19 Task 2

For the pattern you first make a normal bodice, either in fabric or paper. I had to go with fabric, because I was working in half scale and the paper wouldn’t shape nicely around the small dressform. You can even see tape on it, as I wanted a really fitted bodice.

And then you draw the bamboo-lines on top of it.

There was a rule that you had to include at least 30 lines. I had some trouble finding space, but with a bit of trial and error I managed to fit all 30 lines on the tiny bodice.

The lines pass through the dart-points and seamlines absorbing them into the new bamboo lines.

Once cut, the pattern looked like this:

TR Masters' Challenge '19 Task 1 pattern

After having sewed the bodice, there was some topstitching to do. I used a contrasting color.

With the sleeve it was a bit more difficult to find a way to flatten the pattern without any parts overlapping. Not everything ended up being completely flat so you had to shape the fabric with iron and steam after cutting. Mainly around the area where the sleeve was originally attached.

Here it dawned on me that maybe it was a good idea to add some tacks!

All the patterns had this beautiful wing-shape. You can see the sleeve here at the top.

TR Masters' Challenge '19 Task 2 pattern

How about task number 3? Does this seem familiar?

TR Masters' Challenge '19 Task 3

Yes, it was the same pattern as with the previous task. But this time there was an extra layer of fabric on top, to create that draped effect.

Some people chose to simply use the same pattern for both layers, cutting the top layer larger. While others, me included, chose to separate each section and cut a piece of fabric on bias to be attached on top. This created a nicer drape because of the bias.

The task took a rather long time to finish as you first had to attach the two layers together and then sew all the various pieces together being careful not to mix the order…

The origami vortex -tasks

The last two tasks were about the origami vortex. With the normal origami vortex you would draw straight lines, but in this case all the lines were curved.

The fourth task was the easier one based on a simple pencil skirt. To be absorbed were the darts and the side seam. This time I managed to use paper on the dressform.

The pattern ended up being pretty long. I can only imagine working in full scale; that pattern would’ve been several meters!

TR Masters' Challenge '19 Task 4 pattern

All was well until I got to the sewing part. Then I was no longer glad having chosen the half scale.. Now I only had small curves to sew! That was quite a battle but I did finish. Not too happy about the result, because the skirt refused to lay flat and the seams were pulling at various parts.

But on the other hand it created a tessellated effect which was quite cool.

TR Masters' Challenge '19 Task 4

So I decided to be more careful with the final task, which was based on a jacket with trombe l’oeil lapel and collar. That is something you learn to make at the basic TR Masterclass.

As usual, I first put together the jacket and drew the vortex lines on top of it, passing through the dart points and seamlines.

Then I cut the pattern, adding seam allowance while proceeding, one cut at a time. This was the pattern I got.

TR Masters' Challenge '19 Task 5 pattern

I thought this time I did a better job than with the skirt, although I wasn’t 100% happy. But at least there was some improvement. And most importantly, finishing this task meant completing the TR Masters’ Challenge 2019!

TR Masters' Challenge '19 Task 5, the Final task
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  1. It all looks great! Been watching all the patterns you made on Instagram and all loved them. Congrats for finishing the challenge!

    Question: I would be interested in a trompe l’oeil pattern cutting technique (any, I know that there is no book on TR pattern cutting ) – can you recommend any book that would deal with it?

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      Thank you very much! It’s always great to able to finish a challenge. 😀 About the trompe l’oeil, I’m not sure if you could find exactly the same thing in a book. Probably Pattern Magic will be the closest. You could try to see on TR Cutting school’s FB page or on Instagram if there’s a picture of the pattern and maybe figure out from that. The lapel starts at the bust point and you just draw the shape of that and the collar on the bodice, cut the shape and add a facing under (and cover the hole).

  2. Hello Milan
    Congratulations on your successful completion of the TR masters challenge 2019, I am so happy for you even though some of the projects where too advanced for me. I learnt a few things though.
    I look forward to a time when I too can make such sophisticated patterns.
    All the best.

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      Thank you so much! 🙂 Don’t worry, just keep practicing and you’ll soon be making the more complicated patterns, too!

  3. Hi Milan, thank you for writing such a detailed and informative blog. Your work is wonderful and I can see you enjoy it very much. The results you have obtained are unique to you. I am just starting to learn about Singho Sato’s work, and I find it intriguing. I have already produced 2 examples of my own interpretation, and look forward to doing more. I shall now be a regular reader of your blog. 🙂

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      Thank you for your kind words. 🙂 Yes, pattern making is my favorite subject so I enjoy preparing these tutorials. I’m sure you’ll find Shingo Sato’s work really interesting. Have fun learning!

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