Friday, August 12, 2011

Basic techniques: Patterns.

Today I will introduce you to (or remind you of)  the preparations you need to undertake before actually starting on your first garment or item. 
As I suggested in my first post, it is better for you to start making items from a sewing magazine such as BURDA or any other brand which produces patterns (for example, ). Firstly, you will have to copy the patterns onto your fabric and there are two main ways to do this:

1 . By using tracing paper: you will need to secure your tracing paper on the patterns sheet by using something heavy. Then, by using a soft pencil just trace along the lines of your pattern, not forgetting to trace all the little details- darts, marks for buttons and all the other important signs that will help you sew your item correctly. You can see the tracing paper and the pattern sheet on the photo below.

After you are done with tracing all the necessary details on your tracing paper, you will need to cut them out and pin them onto your fabric. Don't forget that there are special ways of pinning the paper details onto your fabric. You will need to read through the directions given in your magazine or pattern package, and take a good look at the layout provided. Here is a photo to help you understand what I mean: 

I have made a mistake with the layout you see above, by not noticing the right-hand corner column and ending up having 2 details each, instead of 1. Therefore, as I said before, layout and directions are very important- will save you time of correcting errors later and help avoid wasting fabric.

And here is how the paper details look like when they are cut out and pinned onto the fabric:

Note that I am using the simple pins with an iron head. The fabric is linen and it is actually a new garment that I started to make today. It is nearly done , so I will upload the photos in my next post.

2. Coming back to our discussion . . . The other way to copy patterns onto your fabric is by using carbon paper.  The one used for sewing is usually of some light colour (not the black or indigo you might have seen in school or in old movies!), in order to leave hardly noticeable marks. This method involves placing the carbon paper between your fabric and the patter sheet (fabric - carbon - pattern sheet) and copying the patterns with the help of a tracing wheel or a pen with no ink. 

Personally , I have been using the first method as it is more friendly towards the pattern sheets- they don't get damaged, and moreover, the tracing-paper patterns could be reused again, if ever I wish to make the same garment. However, it is a very lengthy process, and until now I haven't reused any of the numerous patterns I am keeping. So , if you are planning to sew clothes for yourself only , I would suggest using carbon paper with a non-writing pen. But if you are planning to take your sewing onto a bigger scale, then it is better to keep the copies safe in big envelopes, with the name or code of its model/design. 

After you have pinned the pattern copies onto the fabric, you will need to cut the details, leaving 1-2 cm allowances for the seams, depending on the directions provided.  

So , this is how you prepare the details for your sewing project. In my next post I will talk about various  stitches and how to sew fabric details together. 

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