16 April 2010

Tips for using purchased patterns

I have been doing some "me time" sewing this week. Not sewing for me, but working on a project I've wanted to do for a long time...and trying to do it the right way... AND watching one of my favorite movies, Pride and Prejudice. 

I bought this pattern, called the Puppet Show Tunic, last summer from Oliver + S. I loved the design, and I am also a sucker for pretty packaging.  It's definitely a more difficult pattern, and had techniques I wanted to learn.  (I also keep saying "it's a tyoo-nick" to myself from the line in "Night at the Museum 2".)

I'm still working on things, but I wanted to share a few tips and tricks.  First, to preserve your pattern investment, trace the size you want to use onto tissue paper.  This preserves all the sizes so you can use the pattern multiple times...and if you're into ebay, patterns that are not cut are a lot more valuable. 

Second, to save money, if the pattern isn't offered in the size you want, but is close, you can actually draft your own using the original as a guide.
The pattern only came in size 2T-5...but Big Sis is a 7.  I used the same proportions, and made my own pattern.  To do this, you need a good ruler, like a quilting ruler.  Measure the differences between the different sizes for the pattern piece, then add that to the pattern and keep the same shape.  I wouldn't jump more than three sizes.  In this case, I made a size 7 from a size 2-5, and it worked great.  Plus, using tissue paper, I had the ability to start over if it didn't work. 

Another tip, use pattern marking tools.  I inherited these tracing tools from my great-grandmother.  I love using something she did...she was a fabulous seamstress. Way better than I am.  I have her tracing paper, a tracing wheel, and the "tack-it"   It allows you to mark both sides of a piece at once, as long as the tracing paper is folded so both sides have tracing medium.  This is ideal for marking darts and button placement.

Finally, an important step that I usually skip...make a "muslin".  Make a mock up of the garment you are wanting to make, using muslin or some other cheap fabric.  I used a sheet I found at our local thrift store.  This lets you play with the pattern, identify places that may be difficult or need some tailoring...and especially in this case, make sure I drafted the pattern in the right size for Sis.
 You can see I had a hard time keeping straight which side was "right" when I was sewing...white fabric on both sides is tricky!  The good news, the pattern will work well for Sis...and I've now cut out the real thing on the real fabric.
In case your wondering, the fabric is from Anna Maria Horner's Chocolate Lollipop line.  
I'll post photos when I'm done. 

Featured on Craft Gossip, and Sew Mama Sew!
Linked to Get Your Craft On, Women Who Do It All, and Someday Crafts, and Sew Mama Sew's Call for Sewing Tips.

14 happy thoughts:

CraftCrave said...

Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [16 Apr 02:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

Melissa said...

Wow you are soooooooooooo beyond me...I am really impressed...

delitealex said...

Thanks for the great tips.

Anne said...

Great tips!! And I'm more than a tad bit jealous of your grandmother's marking tools! I linked to your post on Craft Gossip Sewing:


Kristi said...

Thanks for the tips! I just tried a tracing wheel and paper for the first time after all these years and it was a horrible failure. Maybe I can figure it out with your help. Can't wait to see the cute shirt finished!

Pam said...

Thanks for the tips. When I want to conserve my pattern I trace the pieces out with vapour barrier and a sharpie. The vapour barrier is clear and holds up to multiple pinnings and doesn't rip

Amy said...

Oh wow I've never seen a pattern tracing tool - I'll be on the lookout now! I'm just starting a skirt from Burda and one of those would have been a lifesaver this afternoon when I was tracing the pattern :D

Jan M said...

Your photo and mention of a Tack-It made me smile! I have one, too -- and my mother and grandmother each had one. That means I am much older than you! I am so happy that you not only inherited, but use your great-grandmother's sewing tools. Some of my favorite sewing tools were handed down from my mother and grandmother.
You can also use very lightweight and inexpensive non-woven interfacing to trace patterns. There are also special pattern tracing mediums, usually available in many fabric/sewing stores. With some, you can even pin or hand baste to test the fit, without making an entire muslin. Although, nothing truly replaces a muslin for fitting! I applaud you for doing that!
Enjoy stitching your Oliver + S pattern. They are very cute patterns!

TaDa! Creations said...

Great tips! I do a lot of the same things. Great idea on the muslin first, I need to remember that when I start making skirts for myself. That would be a LOT of fabric to cut wrong. LOL

LOVE the lollipop plaid you are using. It's one of my all-time favorite prints. Can't wait to see your finished blouses.

Stacey said...

Very good tips. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

A tip I have: Once you cut out your tissue paper version, stick it to some clear laminate. That way the pins won't tear through and you won't lose your pieces as easily.

Julianna said...

Great! I copy my patterns on my copy/printer/scanner. If one piece takes up more than one sheet of paper, I label it 1 of 4, etc.

So, after copying, my pattern has a lot of sheets. I keep a "master copy" of the pattern in a ziploc bag.

My printer has a feed/scan button, so when I need to use the pattern in a different size, I put my master copy in the feeder......voila!

I even copy the instructions and front/back of the pattern envelope.......a complete copy......so I can sell the original on ebay (in theory, so far I have been too lazy and they are sitting in a box! ha ha)!

chris said...

@Pregnant PeacockThese are some great tips! Thanks for posting them. :)

Jenifesto said...

I've been thinking too hard for too long on how I could preserve my pattern (that's for both a dress and a tunic - one cut for the tunic and I'll never be able to make the dress!), and you've highlighted exactly what I should do! Thank you!!

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