How to Select a Sewing Pattern
One thing that I have noticed while I’m at the Knitting & Stitching Show this week is that I do not make enough of my own clothes.
Seriously, I can’t even tell you how many super stylish folks that I have spotted wearing handmade creations – and the show isn’t even at the half way point yet! I have a stash of wonderful patterns at home, more than enough fabrics (although It wouldn’t be a surprise if I do come home with a few more metres!) So, it is high time I made some of my own clothes again. If any of you are feeling inspired, I thought that I would share some tips for picking out a great new sewing pattern!
Using a sewing pattern is a great way to create your own unique and stylish wardrobe. You can select your preferred fabrics and colours, along with garment designs that suit your style. There is a wide range of sewing patterns to choose from, so if you are new to making your own clothes, here are a few handy tips to help you select the right pattern.
The pattern envelope does a lot more than just hold the tissue paper pieces for the garment, it also shares a lot of information, which will give you an idea of what to expect from the design inside. Beginners might find it easier to select a pattern with a limited number of designs, as those with more variations may have more pattern pieces, which can be confusing.
The photographs or illustrations on the cover of the envelope will show you the garment, or garments, that can be made from the pattern. The more images there are the greater the number of designs you can make using the pattern.
Patterns will come in a range of sizes, commonly centred around dress sizes 6 – 22. The tissue paper will be printed with a series of different lines that will correspond to each size. As there is a considerable difference between the smallest and the largest size, the pattern will be offered in two different size blocks – for example, sizes 6-14 and sizes 14-22 – ensure that you select the correct pattern envelope for your size.
Each pattern will include a sizing chart, use this to cross reference your own body measurements against those used in the design. Even if you know your dress size when buying clothes on the high street, checking your individual measurements against the pattern will ensure that you create the best fit for your figure.
The back of the envelope holds a lot of information about the pattern, here you will see what materials you will require. The types of fabrics used can also be an indication of the skill required, for example, working with fabrics that require very careful piecing like those with nap (velvet) might be off-putting to a novice dressmaker.
Along with the fabric requirements, there will also be a selection of other notions required for making the garments. This will also give you an indication of the sewing techniques used. Fastenings, like zips and buttons, require specific sewing techniques to insert. Not only will you be checking that you have the supplies needed, you can also ensure that you have the confidence in using the different techniques involved.
Most sewing patterns will feature line drawings included either on the envelope or in the making up instruction included in the pattern. Where possible, it is a good idea to look over the instruction sheets or illustrations as this will indicate other sewing techniques you will come across – pleats, darts and sleeve styles – allowing you to assess the pattern most suited to your sewing ability.
I’m pretty sure that April Rhodes’ Staple Dress is top of my To Stitch List…What dress do you want to make next?