1 July 2015

Preserving Your Favourite Sewing Patterns



Quick tip today for a way to preserve the sewing patterns you use again and again.

When you use a sewing pattern for the first time, rather than cutting through the lines, I recommend tracing the lines onto fabric using dressmaker's carbon and a tracing wheel. That way you've still got the original pattern in case you need to use a larger size later.

But what about when you've made a pattern more than once, have fallen firmly in love with it and plan to make it again and again? If you use a tracing wheel on the same lines too many times, the paper will start to tear (you can always patch it up temporarily with tape).


To keep the pattern in good shape - and to make cutting out super speedy - a great tip I picked up somewhere down the line was to trace the pattern pieces off in your size, stick them onto card, and cut them out exactly on the cutting lines. Now when you want to cut it in fabric, all you need to do is weigh it down and whizz around it with a rotary cutter. Or draw around it in chalk pencil or washable pen and cut it out in fabric scissors. Easy!


Remember to label the pieces so you know what they are later, and cut in the notches too - small enough to be accurately positioned, big enough so you can mark them with a pencil or scissors. To mark darts or alternative cutting lines - for example, the short sleeve hem on the Agnes sewing pattern - you can puncture little holes along the lines with an awl (or try a large needle). Push a chalk pencil or washable pen through them to mark the fabric, then join the dots to create the line.

If you haven't heard this tip before, I hope you find this useful!

You may also like:
How to Cut Fabric Without Cutting Your Fabric (Much)
How to Make Party Ring Sewing Pattern Weights
Tips for Tracing Sewing Patterns

15 comments:

  1. I like the idea of having these as sturdy, cardboard pieces, but I find it difficult to store them. How do you store your patterns?
    I love that this pattern is in "Tilly size" :)
    The wholes in the card pattern are a brilliant idea.

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    1. Woops, meant "the holes", wasn't being metaphysical on purpose.

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    2. I know what you mean! I keep card-backed patterns on a shelf on my cutting table, and I know other people hang them up with skirt hangers on a rail :)

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  2. Can we talk about how cute your handwriting is???!?! *Looks at chicken scrawl in despair*

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    1. I wish that were my handwriting - it's Vanessa's. Mine is a mess, hers is adorable. Sigh...

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  3. I have used freezer paper for my "permanent" patterns for some time now, and store them in narrow roll out trays (Container Store piece) under my 3'x2' cutting table/mat. I like your idea of heavier patterns, though!

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  4. Thanks for your inspiring posts, Tilly. When I want to use a pattern over and over, I trace it onto heavy-weight vilene (non iron-on) which is easy to pin through and nice and stiff to draw around, but can be easily folded for storage. I'm thrilled to be joining the online sewing conversation (after more than fifty years of stitching) with my new blog, In My Sewing Box. Hope some of your readers might join me there.

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    1. That's a great tip, Christine! And welcome to the online sewing circle :)

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  5. A great suggestion. I have also traced some of my go-to favourite patterns onto sturdy card.

    Sky Turtle, I clip each set of pattern pieces together with a small bulldog clip, then I hang them on my wall using 3M removable hooks. I've also seen people punch a large hole near the top, and then hang them in the wardrobe using hooks.

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  6. thanks for ther tips, I have a few patterns that I always go back too & the tape tells the tale lol!

    Helen

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  7. Great advice as always, love your weights! I use medical paper (for exam tables) which I purchased of ebay, most come in two rolls and last a while for me.

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  8. I'm curious, where did you get these weights? They are so adorable!
    I trace my favourite patterns on cardboard too, label them nicely, punch holes at the side and store them away in a big arch file. That way it is pretty compact and doesn't take up much space.

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  9. Thank you for this information!

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  10. Wow! Really creative idea, thank you!

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  11. Thanks for the tips, I've a small dude so I have to alter most of my patterns and have to grade the vintage patterns I like. I've been looking for advice on how to keep more sturdy versions.

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