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How To Use Sewing Patterns for Beginners

Creating clothes, plushies, and cosplays are all amazing hobbies that stimulate creativity. However, they’re not always the easiest to get into. Besides requiring potentially expensive tools and materials, there’s also a bit of a learning curve. As such, it’s no surprise that many would-be tailors ask how to use sewing patterns for beginners. Though these helpful booklets are intended to provide instructions for projects, the untrained eye may find them extremely confusing.

What Are Sewing Patterns?

Many a clothing collector has been thrown off by seeing amazing, handmade items that cost only five or ten dollars. A closer examination reveals that the item being sold is a pattern. Essentially, patterns consist of several pages or booklets that contain instructions on how to make an item yourself. For the average person, this can come as quite a letdown, as patterns are not always user-friendly.

When looking at a pattern, there are a few pieces of information that tend to be included. Namely, the actual pattern itself: a series of irregular shapes that makes up the final project. Besides that, there’s also additional information. Quality patterns for clothes often include a sizing guide to help personalize the fit. Additionally, many provide lists of special tools in addition to the usual garment-making supplies. Lastly, they include step-by-step instructions and even customization ideas.

Making Sense of Shapes

The shapes within the pattern instruction depict the shape you will need to cut your fabric. Commercially sold patterns may have important instructions on the reverse side. To keep your originals intact, consider tracing the pattern and then cutting the traced pieces. Pin your tracings neatly onto your fabric piece.

When pinning the pattern, a general rule of thumb is to arrange the pieces so that minimal fabric is wasted in the process. Cut around the pinned paper as close to the edge as you can to reproduce a fabric copy. Alternatively, you can trace around the paper with a fabric marker or chalk and then cut.

What Else Is There?

Pay close attention to the orientation of pieces on the pattern, especially for projects requiring fabrics with single-sided textures or patterns. While many fabrics are reversible, it’s still a very easy and frustrating mistake to make. For the most part, patterns help alleviate the stress of making mistakes with measurements, so be sure to follow the provided guides closely. Lastly, if this is one of your very first projects, start with a simple pattern.

Choose something with minimal pieces to keep costs down in case of mistakes. Lastly, practice makes perfect! How to use sewing patterns for beginners is still something of an art, despite the instructions. By creating more and more articles of clothing, your skills will improve.

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