Paper Patterns- quick guide for beginners.
There are plenty of paper patterns out there which say things like “quick and easy”. It is best to go for these by companies like Simplicity, New look or Butterick as they include a 1.5cm or 6/10″ seam allowance which makes cutting accurately so much easier.
Inside your pattern envelope you get something like this: a page or 2 of instructions and a sheet or 2 of brown tissue paper pattern. The back of your pattern envelope has a sizing guide, so you choose the correct size to make, details of what you need and how much for each size (in a grid) and possible fabric types suitable i.e. cotton, velvet, silk, linen. If something like a diagonal print isn’t suitable, it will say so too.
Your tissue paper pattern unfolds and will look confusing initially especially if you have chosen a multi size, multi garment pattern. Don’t panic, the chances are you wont need all the pieces. Your instruction sheet will explain which pieces you need (usually numbered), suggest a cutting lay out, and take you through how to make the garment step by step.
On one of the pattern pieces will be a legend explaining what symbols are marked on the pattern.
When cutting your pattern, follow the line of the size you are going to make. Each one is drawn differently to make it easier to follow.
These double triangles mark “tabs” where you cut outwards in your fabric. These help when matching up the corresponding tab on another piece. Double tabs are usually at the back.
Single tabs are usually at the front. This triangle is a dart for shaping the waist of the skorts pattern I’m using. I’ll explain a quicl way of dealing with them later.
Corner of multisize pattern- you follow the one in your size.
The shorts part of the skort has very different lines to follow depending on size.
Some will need to be placed on the fold of your fabric so they end up being one piece twice as long as they look. I keep an extra bit of the paper on, so I can see clearly that it is on the fold exactly.
This arrow shows you where the grain of your fabric should run. Keep it as true as you can especially if something drapes.
Iron your pattern pieces.
All 7 pieces positioned approximately before pinning. This makes sure they all fit on ok especially if you have made an item longer than originally made. (There are double straight lines on a pattern piece which allow you to shorten or lengthen without needing to alter tabs and things like that. Just remember if you alter the front, you’ll need to do the same to the back.
Some pieces may only need one layer of fabric instead of two, so cut them out after the others.
Double tabs cut out of fabric.
For marking darts: push a pin through each circle of dart-5 in this case.
Carefully remove pins from edge of piece. Then carefully remove paper from fabric, slipping it over the dart pins.
Using a water soluble pen (blue pen) dot the fabric where the pins are.
Turn fabric over and do the same to the 2nd layer. Matching dots together, pin the dart with one pin at the bottom of the dart to remind you that this is where you stop at the edge.
Sew as pinned and press dart towards centre.
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