How to Use Patterns for Sewing – A Step by Step Guide

When you’re a beginner, using patterns for sewing can be quite confusing. There’s so many things to learn, all the weird terms, and the drawings! You can’t tell the difference between a sleeve and a leg =S.

Patterns are like the roadmap of your projects. They tell you what to sew and how to do it. They’re an easy way to learn new skills, and you get to go at your own pace. You can learn little by little setting aside a few minutes each day.

You know how useful patterns are for sewing, but where do you start? Even finding the instruction sheet can sometimes be a challenge.

I’ve outlined the 9 basic steps to successfully using a sewing pattern. If you take it from the beginning, learning what each thing means. You’ll see it’s very easy!

9 Steps to Succesfully Using Patterns for Sewing

1. Create a body measurement chart

A measurement chart contains all the info that will help you select the right size for your store-bought patterns. If you’re drafting your own, this becomes even more important. It’s the basis of everything you do.

2. Select the Right Pattern for Sewing

With your chart in hand, you’re ready to go pattern shopping. Carefully read the envelope to make sure the pattern is exactly what you’re looking for. Here are the 10 things you must check before buying a pattern to avoid surprises later on.

3. Figure out Your Size

Now you get home and open the envelope. You’ll find an instruction sheet and sizing table. Compare the measurements to the ones in your chart. Select a size and see where you’ll need to make adjustments.

4. Symbols

Pay attention to all the symbols and cut marks. Study them until you understand what each one means and have all the know how for reading patterns correctly.

5. Pattern Fitting and Alteration

Transfer your patterns onto another large sheet of paper. This way you won’t cut the original patterns. Make sure to transfer all the symbols and cut marks. Do the necessary pattern fitting wherever they don’t match your size. Add or remove extra inches until they’re right for you. Your patterns for sewing are ready to be cut.

6. Fabric Layout and Cutting

Lay the fabric on a large surface and arrange the patterns according to the instruction sheet. This is where the symbols come to help! They will tell you exactly where to place each piece. Pay special attention to the fabric’s direction. When you’re sure each piece is in the right place, cut out the fabric following the pattern’s edge. Here are the 12 most common fabric cutting mistakes so you can avoid them.

7. Transfer Marks and Remove Patterns

Transfer all the marks onto the fabric. Mark structural lines, right and wrong sides of fabric, hem lines and any other symbols the pattern has. Mark pieces that are very similar to tell the difference between them. Here’s a list of marking tools you can use to carry out this important task. Remove the paper patterns when you’re done.

8. Storage

Save the patterns you just removed so you don’t lose them! You neatly transfered all the info to the fabric, but sometimes you still need them for reference and clarification. Here are some ideas for storing your patterns and keeping a neat inventory.

9. Finally Sewing!

Now you’re ready to sew. Pin all the pieces first to see how the pieces go together. Fix whatever’s wrong and hold with a quick baste before using the sewing machine.

Here are some sewing lessons that will be useful.

That wasn’t so hard. These are the basic steps in using patterns for sewing.

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