After a free in house workshop on Understanding Sewing patterns, I'm putting together a series of blog posts summarising the main points we discussed.
Following on from Part 1 where we discussed choosing the right pattern, fabric and size, today we look at tips for basic pattern adjustments and reading your pattern.
Basic Pattern Adjustments
Many pattern instructions provide finished garment lengths. After taking into account other measurements such as bust, waist and hips, the size you require may not match the finished garment length.
In many cases, lengthening & shortening is a relatively easy adjustment to make.
Many pattern pieces will mark on the pattern pieces the best place to adjust.
If it is only a small adjustment needed, you could allow for it in the hem allowance if there is one.
The most important things to remember are:
- all pieces (front & back) need to be adjusted exactly the same.
- you need to make sure it doesn't alter the shape of the pattern piece.
- redraw any grain lines
- all adjustments need to be done prior to laying the pattern on fabric
If you pattern doesn't show you where to adjust, the best places are:
Bodice: just above the waistline
Pants: (1) between the crotch and waistline (2) half way down the pant leg. Do not just tack a few inches onto the bottom.
Reading your Pattern
Cut out or trace the pattern pieces you will be needing.
Most beginner sewers are overwhelmed with the amount of information crammed onto an instruction sheet. Many independent pattern designers are now providing leaflets with instructions set out in a much clearer format.
Grab a highlighter and mark all the information that is relevant to the garment or project you are making.
The most important things to take note of are:
- General instructions. This will tell you if your seam allowances are included and if so, what width they are. Plus provide a glossary for symbols used.
- Cutting layouts. They will provide you layouts showing you the best option for getting the most out of your fabric.
- Pattern pieces. A quick overview of the numbered pieces so you can easily recognise the pieces you should have.
My top tips :
- Press your pattern pieces and fabric to ensure all creases are removed.
- This old blog post discusses whether to prewash or not to prewash fabric before sewing.
- You need a clean workspace - put away anything you have finished with.
Next time: Laying your pattern & transferring markings.
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