How to read a sewing pattern
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Opening up and looking at your first sewing pattern can be intimidating. But with this quick guide I’ll show you all the highlights what you need to know to have success. This guide focuses on a traditional sewing pattern. To learn the differences between a traditional and a digital pattern be sure to check out my article here.
The first thing you need to know when learning how to read the pattern is that the ENVELOPE is important. Don’t just toss it aside. On the back you’ll find information on measurements, what fabric and notions you’ll need plus skill level.
Inside the envelope you’ll find two types of paper, one is tissue paper (the pattern) one is a heavier paper (the instructions).
On the heavier instruction paper you’ll find a sketch of the item you’re making and several “sections” to the instructions. Each of these instructions is important to look over before you begin to sew.
One section shows you all the pattern pieces that you’ll be dealing with – it’s great to refer to when you’re dealing with lots of pattern parts.
Another shows you the proper layout of how to cut out the pattern.
Also pay attention to the “Key” is will show you how the “right side” , “wrong side” and in some cases “interfacing” is drawn so you know how the fabric is laying.
Pay attention to the symbols on the pattern itself. Arrows will show you how the pattern is supposed to lay on the grain, also where to cut notches into the fabric. There also might be additional instructions on the pattern itself.
When sewing clothing make sure that you’re cutting on the correct grade (size) of pattern that you want to make.
Finally read the step by step instructions so you have a basic idea of how the garment is put together.
For even more detailed directions be sure to watch the video below all the way through.
More How to Sew Lessons:
- How to get started sewing with a sewing machine
- How to Unpick a Seam
- How to Make a Button Hole
- What are the parts to a Sewing Machine?
- What is a Straight Stitch and How to Sew it
- What is a Basting Stitch?
- How to Make a Rolled Hem or a Baby Hem
- What to Look for a in a Good Sewing Machine
- What are the must have sewing tools?
- Traditional Sewing Pattern VS Digital
- How to Choose a Sewing Machine
- 5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Crafts and Fabric
- You can see all the How to Sew Lessons Here
Working With Different Fabrics:
- Coral Fleece Vs. Polar Fleece what is the difference?
- What is the Anatomy of Fabric?
- 7 Things you need to know about sewing with Minky Fabric
- How to Sew with Faux Fur
- Which Fleece is Which? Your Quick Start Guide to Fleece
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Hello Angel, I am a mother of 3, grandmother of 6 and have been sewing since my first home ech class. in 1969. As I get older I forget things that used to be second nature, My oldest daughter is getting married next month and she has asked me to make her a cloak using one of your patterns. I want to thank you for your tutorials, patterns and sewing support.
Very informative,I so enjoy all of the options .