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How to make a Pattern Tutorial- Templates & Measurements

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Previous posts:  Finding Inspiration &  How to make a pattern tutorial

So, you have your notes, you have your supplies ready…but you have no real measurements or patterns! Let's work on that today shall we?

Get yourself a little pile of copy paper.  I do prefer using the plain paper. I can make notes and not get distracted or confused at what is printed on the paper.    You will also need a pencil + eraser.  Use a light hand when drawing…it is easier to erase.

This is where you want to answer a few of those size questions— What size do I want for my final project?  What is this being used for? Does it need to be longer than my hand {hot pad}…etc.   Read your notes on what your ideas are to get this figured out. 

There are 2 ways to approach designing your templates.  I have found a few times that I could take my first sketch to a copy machine and enlarge it.  Not that these are perfect right from the start, but they have the most correct shapes and proportions.  {alot of times trying to enlarge them by hand distorts}  A little adjustment might be needed, but it is closer to the end product.

The other way is to enlarge it yourself. You can make a copy and then grid it out—and start transfering that pattern to a larger grid. {you did this in elementary school- remember?}  You can also just freehand it.

I seriously laid the book on the copy machine and blew it up.

I had to make some adjustments, and then cut the pattern out on freezer paper so I could iron it down and reuse it a few times. 

The template is about 6" tall.

When you have the finished template {the closest you can get it to perfect} you will want to go over those final and best lines with a black marker.  That way you don't get confused as to where your sides are.   Now, you need to make sure that seams are either added or not.  Girls, my patterns I sell in my shop– some of them are traced and then sewn on that traced line, some of them are cut along that edge because the seams had been added. 

Just REMEMBER what you decide!  Write it down, so you know and so others will know it too. You don't want to cut it all out and then what it shrunk? hee hee. That does happen.

If you are making a pattern that doesn't need templates– say a bag, skirt or something of that matter, you will need to start finding your measurements.   Figure out what that initial measurement is and add your seam allowances.  Are you using a 1/2 inch? 1/4 inch? or 5/8 inch?  seam?  WRITE down what seam allowance you are going to use, and be consistant when you are stitching it!!  Nothing is more frustrating when you are sewing something and there is no mention of what seam allowance to use and things don't end up lining up properly. 

Label all the parts/templates and cut them out.  You can cut them out of paper, and then out of a plastic or a piece of muslin.  Make sure that you make a photo copy of those patterns before cutting them out. You will use this paper for additional notes.  Don't have a copy machine handy? Just light box/window trace it. No biggie, just make sure it is accurate though.

Go ahead and give sewing a go.  Try those pieces out. Don't worry about writing the steps or anything down at this point. You are just testing the templates at this point.  Sew them all—- when you find an issue or have a problem or there is a measurement that just won't work MAKE NOTES on that copy of templates!!!  Example: add 1/4" here. Make the body longer.  Sew the hair and face on first.  Snip at the corners and curves.  Rounder head, skinnier arms, put in a thumb.  keeps going and going…

After doing this you will have a clear idea of what will work and what won't.  Go back to all those little notes and copied templates and make those tweaks and MAKE NEW TEMPLATES!!! 

Test these new ones. Make sure all the corrections are correct. Keep repeating this process until you have what you want and dreamed of.  Believe me there are quite a few of — no. that won't work, sitting around the sewing room. I finally got rid of a few of them…and guess what?! the kids found them and use them. It's like Sid's world of toys and stuff from Toy Story. hee hee

Anyways- keep at it. If you really get stumped look around the internet world for free pattern, tutorials on what you are having problems with and give those a try. I am NOT telling you to copy someones work, I am merely suggesting that you give others a try. This will teach you steps, shapes, and give you ideas for your own items.  I studied a few patterns before I set out making my own.  Ask someone out there for help and suggestions.

If you can believe it— I used the same template for him, of course tweaking a few things:

and him:

Hey girls—– Share your process with us- comment and let us know how things are going. Have any special tricks, suggestions?

pst— Next Focus Friday— Sewing Steps and Instructions.  How to get those steps down and write them clearly for others to use.

pst-pst– Monday is Patchwork Round Robin day!!! Border #5 by Donna.

2 thoughts on “How to make a Pattern Tutorial- Templates & Measurements

  1. urban craft

    i thought I recognized that template! Love the pic of driving the chicken around. That's priceless.

  2. urban craft

    i thought I recognized that template! Love the pic of driving the chicken around. That's priceless.

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