Why in the world would you need or want to make your own sewing pattern from scratch, when there are SO MANY free tutorials on the internet? I would like to take you BACK IN TIME before technology showed its pretty face and show you how I have made plenty of accessories for my home without using store bought patterns or online tutorials.
Tips to Make Your Own Sewing Pattern From Scratch
REMEMBER…We are taking a trip ‘BACK IN TIME’, before the invention of computers! Here we go!
Stores are a great place to get ideas for sewing home accessories because you can pick up the item you like and check out how it is made! Another way to get ideas is looking thru gift catalogs that have items made with fabric, one catalog that comes to my mind is called Personal Creations. The design of the items is what gets me excited to want duplicate what I see; whether it be the color of fabrics used, notions used, or other sewing techniques used; or just the thought that, “I don’t want to pay retail price.”
Rough Draft of Making Your Own Pattern
- Get a piece of paper and sketch a picture and take a few notes about what it is you want to make or duplicate, and write down any directions of how you think this item is assembled.
- Pay attention to the notions used, color and type of fabric used and what other embellishments have been added.
- Are there any buttons, elastic, snaps, lace, trim, piping, etc.
- What kind of sewing techniques have been used? Are there any ruffles, pleats or gathering?
- Applique design? (The fun picture designs made with a different fabric and are laying on top of other fabric-like the pillow picture above)
- Write down any details you think you’ll need to help you make your pattern and put together your project. (If the store has a return policy, you could buy the item to take home and study it further)
Materials for Making your own Sewing Pattern
Pattern Tracing Cloth or Pattern Tracing Paper, Transparent Ruler and Rotary Cutter, Applique Paper, and other Basic Sewing Tools as needed (marking pencil for sure!)
I personally like the Pattern Tracing Cloth for making your own sewing patterns because the paper is grid marked; easy for drawing lines and measuring. This paper is made from nylon and will not tear!
Pattern Tracing Paper is like having a roll of tissue paper, and comes in handy as using for a stabilizer for some fabrics as well as making your own patterns. Unlike the pattern tracing cloth, pattern tracing paper can tear.
Transparent rulers are awesome!! Need I say more?! Being able to SEE what you are measuring and cutting is a good thing, you’ll experience what I’m talking about when you start using one! My ruler is long enough that I can line up to the measurement lines on my cutting mat, making it simple for quick cutting!
Drawing and Measuring a Sewing Pattern
- Draw out the pictures in rough draft form on a piece of paper, including your measurements.
- Transfer the measurements, with a basic writing pen or marking pencil, on your choice of pattern tracing paper/cloth as mentioned above. Do this for each pattern piece you need to make. (Marker will leak thru this paper, so be sure to NOT use a permanent marker-been there done that!)
- Write notes on your pattern paper to help aid you in assembly
- Make sure you include an extra 1/4 to 5/8″ for seam allowances.
Pin Pattern Paper and/or Tracing Cloth to Fabric and Cut out Your Project Pieces
Time to take your pattern pieces and/or measurements to the fabric and pin them on. (More detail to come on this step)
Depending on the project you are making, you may want to make a sample project first using Muslin. Making a test project with Muslin will allow you to have a practice run at putting your project together before using that nice fabric you bought. If you are confident, you can skip the muslin sample and pin straight to the fabric! (Muslin is an inexpensive cotton fabric and is used for making sample projects for the purpose of fitting)
Documenting Directions and Sewing Steps
As you are sewing the pieces of your project together, write down ALL the steps you take and document every seam you make! BE VERY DETAILED, as you can edit your writing later for easy to follow directions just in case you decide to make this project again. You may need to rip some stitching out and having documented directions will help you to see what you have done and what you may need to repeat.
If you are not quite sure about general assembly directions, check out library books to help you out, or you may have friends or family who would be able to help.
Extra thoughts on Making Your Own Patterns
BACK TO REALITY.…All the tutorials I have in my site are examples of making my own patterns. I knew what I wanted and figured out the size, took measurements, cut out the fabric and carefully put my projects together and documented as I went. Fitting the fabric pieces together may take some extra time and manipulation but you’ll get it done! For your first project, keep the pattern directions simple and use simple shapes when making your own patterns.
If you are a determined beginner seamstress, you can do this! Just take your time and pick an easy project to start!
Enjoy the fruits of your labor when you Make Your Own Sewing Pattern From Scratch!
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