Sunday, 27 April 2014

sewing the high street: using a pattern


Hey guys! This is the third post in the Sewing The High Street series, you can find parts one and two here. This post is focusing on a pattern and how to use it! I don't know about you guys but initially looking at a pattern gave me the heebie jeebies. I hope to clear some of the confusion surrounding patterns today!

General instructions

Most patterns will have a section marked "General Instructions / Directions" and it's pretty important to read this first as it will give you brief instructions to techniques used in the pattern, as well as a fabric key, which just tells you what the right side, the wrong side, interfacing, and (if there is lining in the garment) the lining look like in the pictures. If you get stuck at a particular point your first point of call will be to see if there are instructions in this section, then... if not, google it!

Cutting layouts

Cutting layouts can at first look a little confusing, but if you are slow and check carefully what you are pinning and cutting on your fabric before you do it, you will be fine. 

Find the right view in the cutting layouts, and the right length of fabric (90cm, 115cm, 150cm) according to what you bought. Look out for "fold" which will tell you which way to fold it, and "selvedge" which is the finished edge of a fabric. If there are two cutting layouts listed, do the first one and then cut it out, and then use the remaining fabric to do the other cutting layout.

Make sure to transfer any notches and markings on the pattern to the fabric, by either using tailor's chalk or a few pieces of thread. Notches are used to line up different parts of the pattern to the other, and other markings can be a variety of things from points to stop and start sewing to button holes.

Altering your pattern

There are two main ways of altering a pattern, before you begin and then as you go. Before you begin you can alter a pattern to change it to a style you are wanting which is a bit different to the one given. Where there is an option to lengthen or shorten, there is clear lines indicating where you can, for shortening, either fold it up, or for lengthening, where you cut the pattern and pin paper to get to your preferred length. For more seasoned sewers it's likely you will want to change other parts which aren't given prerequisite lines to lengthen or shorten, so long as you are aware of how the garment will look with your changes it should be fine.


You can also alter a pattern as you go, and this way means you will get a tailored fit for the person who will be wearing it. This way of working is necessary for success, since if you don't put the garment periodically your end garment may not fit you as well as it could. Just be careful when putting something on which has pins in it, and you should be fine!

Before you begin
Mark on your pattern the parts relevant to the garment you chose. For me, I have highlighted sections of the main instructions which relate to view 2. 

Then, make sure you have washed and pressed your fabric, and once you have cut out the pattern pieces (with a little room away from the size you need for security purposes!) you can iron them with a dry iron to make sure there is no creases. 

Pin the pieces according to the layout and also keep to the grain. The grainline runs parallel to the selvedge (which is why it is marked on cutting layouts) and it is super important to make sure it is, since if it isn't the way your garment drapes and lays on the body will end up a bit wrong! Stick a pin in one end of the grainline arrow and measure to the selvedge and then do the same for the other arrow, in order to make sure both ends are of the same distance. 

Cut it all out, and you have your pattern pieces ready to begin to sew!!

Ciao 
Jean XXXXX

Next week I'll be talking about how to use a sewing machine, things like threading up and good etiquette to follow when using one! Stay tuned every Sunday for another instalment of Sewing The High Street! 

2 comments :

Cat said...

This was really useful - I've always wondered how to use a pattern. I'm loving this series! ♥

Through A Cat's Eyes

Jean said...

Thank you Cat!! Thanks so much for stopping by, appreciate the loove!! <3

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