Before you buy that pattern measure yourself or whoever the pattern is for. Measure around the bust, waist, and hips. Be sure to take those measurements to the store with you so that you purchase the correct sized pattern. Store bought clothes are sized smaller than pattern sizes. I find the retail market is being kind when sizing their clothes. Don’t stress about the number (size) instead focus on the fit. Use your measurements to find the closest matched size. If your measurements are between two different sizes choose the larger size. You may need to alter your pattern to reflect those necessary adjustments.
After you have that pattern in hand the next task is finding the fabric and notions needed. I usually have fabric overload when trying to decide on how I want the clothing to look. Some ideas to make this easier would be.
- Choose colors that you like
- Don’t be afraid of fabric patterns
- Choose the right kind of fabric (read the suggested fabrics from the pattern)
- Decide on wearability (how it will move or stretch)
- Choose quality fabric (avoid low thread count fabrics for trousers and blouses)
- Read the label of the fabric (Is it dry clean only or washable?)
You are now ready to open your brand spanking new pattern and read the directions inside. The directions will tell you which pattern pieces to cut out for that specific item you are making. Usually a pattern will have a couple different options to choose from. Cut out your pattern pieces.
Now follow your pattern directions for details on how to position the fabric and how they recommend laying the pattern pieces on the fabric itself. Pay close attention to notches, darts and the direction of the pattern piece. Also make sure you read the directions for the seam allowance. Most patterns have you sewing a 5/8″ seam allowance. Follow the steps exactly until that beautiful item is complete.
Give yourself a pat on the back, you did it!
Important side note: Don’t try to stuff your nice pattern into the tiny little envelope it came in. It won’t be pretty anymore. After using the pattern I put it in a file folder or in a large 11 by 14″ envelope with the pattern picture taped to cover to make it easy to select the pattern for future use. Patterns can be very expensive and you want them to last, so take good care of them.