Saturday, January 26, 2008

How to read a Pattern

I recommend that before you cut your fabric out that you study your pattern to avoid any costly mistakes because once you cut your fabric there is no turning back!!

Some of the things you should consider would be the suitability of the fabric, consider things like stripes, checks, florals, border prints, one way fabrics, shine of fabrics, etc.

Width of fabric

Direction of Grainline

Matching points

Woven or knit


Sewing equipment needed for example types of stitching, safety, open seams, french seams, coverstitch, mock stitch, baby lock

Good equipment for example sharp cutting shears

Seam and hem allowances

It's also a good idea to take a look at things like armhole shaping, sleeve shaping, once you become more familiar with pattern making you can see whether or not it's a good shape. Just because it's developed from a commercial pattern company doesn't necessarily mean that it has the right shaping, dart intake might be too big, consider making dart smaller. compare measurements of commercial patterns to your own measurements then adust before cutting out on fabric.

If you want to make a knit pattern into a woven pattern this would entail alot of work, like shaping, adding darts adding length and width.

If you want to make a woven pattern into a knit pattern, you would have to do the opposite, making it shorter in length and width, sometimes taking out darts (depends on the knit,as some knits may still require darts)

These are just some of the things to consider. Many people make the mistake of thinking that they should just cut out without looking into all of these things that I have mentioned, but if you want to avoid any costly mistakes please consider all of these points that I mentioned.

It's also a good idea to make up (especially if your sewing for someone else and getting paid for it) a prototype in a cheaper quality fabric, for example calico, so that you can avoid any mistakes and it also helps to do any alterations to the pattern first before cutting it out in the desired fabric.

However I must say that many of the commercial patterns do have very good instructions for sewing, recommended fabrics and alot of helpful information. So make sure you read the instructions sheets before you begin cutting or even before you choose your fabric, as many designs are not always suitable to the fabric that you wish to use.

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