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Pattern Making

Above: don’t you hate this effect?

So as I mentioned in the last post a lot of commercial patterns (including butterick 5032) gape on me. There always seems to be excess fabric near the neckline that is lose. So in case anyone else has this problem here is how to eliminate it on the pattern.

You cant just take it out of the middle of the pattern because it will affect the grainline and the waist measurement so here is how to do it.

Note: I am obviously not a pattern maker or pro I am just self-taught so I don’t claim this is the best way. But anyway here is my way…

1. So after making a muslin or prototype try the dress on and pinch and pin out the excess fabric and measure how much you have pined out is the amount you want to take out. On one side of my bodice that was 2cms (making it a total of 4cms excess fabric, but 2cm is the amount we want to remove because we are only working with one side of the pattern).

2. Make a copy of your sewing pattern (So you still have the original pattern if the modifications are turn out to be incorrect)

I made a copy by putting Burda tracing paper and pattern weights over the bodice pieces and tracing it being sure to mark all notches and darts on the new pattern. Dont know why I photographed the original pattern over my traced one but um yeah should be the other way around.

3. Mark out a triangle, wedge/dart shape that starts at the neckline and runs all the way down touching the waist dart (or original dart). The distance of line I have drawn with red indicates the amount I want to remove from the pattern (in my case 2cms)

4. Cut along dashed lines. Where to cut is shown above as indicated by the green dashed lines in the picture above. where these darts meet in the middle cut leave 1-2 millimeters (or a tiny bit of paper) so that the pattern is not cut directly in half.

5. After you have cut into all the dashed lines move green dashed line so that it is touching the other thinner green line (that is adjacent to it but not dashed) and tape shut. and you have removed the excess. The waist dart (blue dashed line line) will have opened up more and now be bigger (this will NOT affect the waist measurement)

Below: temporary dart is now taped shut and bottom waist dart is larger resulting in the excess being removed.

5. Add paper to the now larger gap in the waist dart. If necessary add paper and blend and the neckline too.

6. Above is the new gape-free pattern piece. I used the same method to remove excess in the back bodice pattern piece too.

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I liked the silly collar I posted yesterday so much, that I decided make a pattern from it and sew the new one up in a medium weight cotton.

Edit: Wow now I realize how ridiculous this red collar looks (especially with my bad hair etc) .

I am kind of embarrassed. But fashion is like that… I mean I can barely comprehend it but once people thought mullets looked good. So tastes change, perceptions are distorted etc.

I was just making use of a fabric scrap and testing out the pattern so I wasn’t too fussed about the end result.

Here is how I made a copy of the pattern from the collar…

Also here is the sewing tip…. Actually its more of a pattern tracing tip.

Last year bought the Patternreview.com book “1,000 Clever Sewing Shortcuts & Tips”.

In the book it mentions a tip about using clear cellophane to trace with when copying a ready to wear garment.

I thought that sounded like a great idea because it would make it so easy to see the seams and design details on the garment, so I bought loads of clear cellophane in anticipation of trying it.

I tested it out and for the purposes of this collar and it worked AWESOMELY :)!

Please excuse my excitement over such a trivial matter thats just what I am like…

Here we see the cellophanes awesomeness in action: Look how easy it was for me to see what I was doing! I used a permanent marker/sharpie and it did not slide or rub off once I marked the clean cellophane (you beauty!)

That stripey thing on top of the collar is a self-made pattern weight. I use them all the time when I trace patterns (particularly burdastyle magazine patterns).  It its a small area I am tracing I do this: Before I put the weight on I mark any line then place the heavy sewing weight over the line I drew. That holds in in place and makes it easy to trace the rest without anything shifting.

I made it the weight(s) by buying what are called “mending plates” from the hardware store, taping two together (one on top of each other for extra weight) and the making a little pocket of fabric and sewing it closed both ends.

Would anyone want a pattern weights tutorial?

These weights are super heavy 100 times heavier than those fussy light little washers and I find them lot more effective.

The real commercial pattern weights ones are just too expensive for me but these ones are equally as effective :)!

This is what it looks like traced onto the cellophane with texta/marker. That upper line on the collar piece needs to be corrected but we will just ignore that. See how easy it is to trace with?

You could just add your seam allowance directly to the cellopane but I retraced them onto a thin tissue paper. Pictured above is the one I always use (its quite thin and slightly translucent). I also use this for tracing Burda Style magazine patterns. The only place in Australia you can buy this tracing tissue is Lincraft I think its around $5 for 5 sheets of 150×110.

The “finished” pattern pieces with seam allowance added and a center front fold. They are a bit sloppy but they did the job. I am a little messy/gung-ho sometimes.