Tips on sewing from patterns

If you are starting to sew clothes from patterns, here are some helpful tips from the pros to get you started.

Selecting a pattern

Many pattern companies have catalogs online that give you the opportunity to browse through many styles. As a first project it’s important to narrow down your first choice by finding a relatively simple pattern. Look for a pattern that is:

  • Not fitted
  • Simple style with few fancy details
  • Something similar to your wardrobe that you know looks good on you

Tips for size selection
Commercial patterns are different than many off-the-rack clothes, so you need to measure yourself when deciding on a pattern. Skirt and pant patterns should be sized to your hip measurement. Top and dress patterns should be sized to your bust measurement. Bust measurements can be challenging because it can affect the fit of the top around your neck and shoulders. It is helpful to learn more about making a full bust adjustment (FBA) on C cups and above.

Front of the Pattern envelope

It’s helpful to know that the pattern illustrated on the front of the envelope shows different  variations can be made from the same pattern. Also, the illustrations usually feature tall, slim models so the proportions will be different for each body type.

Back of the Pattern envelope

Body and garment measurements are found on the back of the envelope, as well as the amount of fabric needed. Note that the pattern also specifies the types of suitable fabrics for the pattern, including weight, drape, weave, thickness, etc. It’s important to heed these guidelines to get the look and feel you want.

Following the instructions

It’s important to read through the pattern instructions fully before you begin. Visualize each step and have fun! As with learning any new skill, it’s important to know who to turn to for advice, supplies and encouragement. The Sewing Cafe in Pismo Beach offers classes to novice and seasoned pros alike, as well as premium supplies and equipment. Find out more about their classes by calling (805) 295-6585.


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