Friday, July 6, 2012

Learning the Hard Way

I have learned the hard way that you shouldn't actually CUT your patterns! When I first started teaching myself to sew (thank you Youtube) all the tutorials had you CUT your patterns, so I did too! This went on for years until I messed up cutting the wrong size pattern and I purchased my first uncut vintage pattern.

I thought long and hard about how to remedy the situation of ruining a pattern that has lasted over 50 years and to never cut the incorrect size again. I turned to Youtube and the sewing blogs. They told me to go and get pattern "paper" which I discovered was in the interfacing aisle. I was floored when I saw how much it was and that it was very thick.  I could not figure out how to "trace" the pattern. They said to get one of those pattern wheel doo-hickeys but that pokes holes/dents your pattern and quite honestly, it is a lot of work for this lazy sewer! I sat there pondering thinking, "Surely there is another way!" I called my mother to chat about it- she suggested tracing paper (another costly alternative). Then it hit me (around Christmas time none-the-less) tissue paper! You can buy it for so super-duper cheap and it comes in large sheets.

Why it has taken me this long to come to this point in my sewing journey, you got me. But from that day forward I trace all my patterns, new and old, and store them with my original pattern. The steps are really quite easy!

1. Iron the original pattern. (No steam and all that good stuff. If you have a Walmart special iron, like mine, you may want to remove the water from the iron).

2. Iron the tissue paper.

3. Put the original pattern face up on a flat surface. Place the "tracing" tissue paper over it. I sometimes need more than one sheet of tissue paper. Make sure to tape where there isnt anything important.

4. Secure. I use large washers that my soon to be got me from a home improvement store. This way I am not using pins. 

5. Trace.

6. Nicely put your original back in the envelope. This part takes me the longest. Stupid confusing fold lines!

7. Cut your tissue piece. Too-dah! I make notes and what not on my tissue paper version.

Look how easily you can see the pattern through the tissue paper!


  1. I actually trace mine onto lightweight non-fusable interfacing. Then I can pin it to my fabric when I cut it. I just wait until its on sale.

  2. Why didn't I think of this? Love your humor. Stopping by from SewRetro.

  3. Voodoo Kitten- don't you find that expensive to use interfacing even if it's on sale? I copy a lot of full skirt dresses. I could only imagine the YARDS I would need for that.

    Foster- thanks for stopping by. Please check out the other posts. Any questions/comments/suggestions are loved!

  4. Thank you for the tip! I Don't trace patterns unless I need to cut them for alterations - and I use 40's patterns! Terrible I know! But I've been thinking of this tracing dilemma lately and came up with the same solution as you.
    What made me think of it: Getting packages from Etsy sellers wrapped in tissue paper. I've always saved the paper, thinking it would come in handy. And it does! :-D

  5. I will have to have a go at this as I have a tendancy to rip the paper patterns. This week I have been making a bodice that needs lots of alterations so I photocopied the pattern, and taped it together. This would have been much easier then using printer paper.