Tips For Using Store Bought
By Sarah J. Doyle
Store bought patterns can sometimes be tricky to use, and if
we're not thinking all the while we're cutting and sewing,
we could be setting ourselves up for errors and mistakes and
ending up with a garment that won't fit. Here are a few tips
to help make your sewing projects go smoothly.
** Be sure to check patterns for fabric requirements - some
patterns are designed to be used with knits, others are
designed to be used with wovens. Also many patterns are
designed to be used with a serger. Read the pattern packages
carefully so you won't be disappointed with the results later.
** If at all possible, cut your pattern pieces with the fabric
right sides together so that the center seams will be ready to
pick up and sew as soon as the garment is cut out.
** If you have a pattern piece that says "cut four", it might
be best to photocopy that piece or make one out of pattern
paper, and transfer all the markings so that you'll have 2 of
them, and therefore won't forget to cut 4 from the one piece.
(We're creatures of habit you know - lay the pattern piece on
the fabric and cut 2)
** A favorite pattern will last longer if you iron stabilizer
to the entire pattern. It withstands pin pricks and is easier
** When using a pants pattern the first time, it is wise to
make 1" seam allowances rather than the usual 5/8" -- this
will allow a little extra for fine-tuning the final fit of the
** When using one of the "multi-view" patterns, it will be
much easier to locate the individual pieces needed for a
certain view if you will first re-fold the pattern pieces so
that the "view" number or letter is facing out.
** To transfer an exact dot from a pattern to the fabric,
make a small cross over the center of the dot.
** When using velvet or corduroy choose a simple pattern
and avoid topstitching, pressed pleats and sewn tucks.
** When working with big plaids and the pattern calls for
pockets, try cutting the pockets on the bias to avoid having
to match them to the background plaid.
** Since the bodice of many dress patterns is the most
difficult to fit, it is wise to choose your dress pattern
size according to the bust measurement and make the necessary
adjustments to the skirt.
** If you extend the grainlines on your patterns all the way
to the top and bottom of the pattern pieces, it will give you
greater accuracy when you begin cutting.
** Raglan and dolman type sleeve styles flatter a small bust,
as well as helping to minimize heavy arms and broad shoulders.
** When making a jacket or winter coat for children, use
flannel to line the pockets - it will be much warmer than
regular "cold" fabric linings.
** After you've cut out a garment, make a couple of 8" squares
of the fabric that you can use later to test fusible inter-
facings on, to test thread colors, or to test stitch length
if you're doing any topstitching. Also use the squares to
make a sample buttonhole, if you'll be needing buttonholes, to
check what they will look like before you actually make one
on the garment.
** To appear taller, choose patterns with center front and
back seams, or princess style patterns, or front openings that
will have vertical rows of buttons.
About the author:
(c) Sarah J. Doyle is author of over 25 sewing, craft and how-to
books, as well as author of online pattern making, sewing and
craft classes. Visit http://SewWithSarah.com
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