Prolonging the Life of Your Patterns: Transfer them to Paper

Posted in: Tips and Tricks — By on February 15, 2011 8:12 AM

Ah, commercial sewing patterns.  I have a love/hate relationship with you!  Once I’ve found the perfect pattern (with alterations, of course) I sometimes would like to make it more than once or use the pattern pieces for another project.  The tissue that a lot of commercial patterns are printed on is flimsy and will never fit back into that little envelope no matter how hard you try.

Today’s lesson will show you how to transfer your favourite patterns to regular paper.  You’ll be able to fold up your pattern pieces and fit them into a letter-sized envelope, where you can store the pattern instructions, original pattern pieces and envelope.

You will need:

  • some *paper – 8.5″ x 11″ is ok, but the larger you can get the better – 11″ x 17″ is the best!
    *You can also use  cardstock, but it will be harder to fold up the pieces for storage
  • tape
  • a Sharpie
  • carbon dressmaker’s paper
  • a tracing wheel
  • a big, flat surface – like a floor
Step 1:
  • Unfold your tissue pattern and iron out and wrinkles (I hate this part, but there’s no way around it, unfortunately!)
  • Cut around each pattern piece, leaving about an inch or more border.  You don’t have to be terribly neat about it – the idea is to have smaller pieces to work with.
Step 2:
  • Line up two pieces of paper so that they overlap by about 1/2″ and tape together on the front. Then flip the whole thing over and tape it on the back.
  • Continue adding paper to your large piece until you have a piece of paper large enough to trace your pattern on to.

Tape your paper together

Step 3:
  • Tape your pattern piece down in a few spots – If you plan on keeping the original tissue pattern, be careful! You can always use sticky tack or weights if you’re feeling confident.

Tape your pattern to your paper

Step 4:
  • Put the carbon paper face down (so the colour is facing down) on to your new pattern piece (the paper), but under the original pattern piece (the tissue).
  • Starting from the top left corner, use your tracing wheel to trace over each part of the pattern; the outline of your size and all markings.  The carbon paper will transfer your marks to your new paper pattern.

Use your tracing wheel to transfer markings

Step 5:
  • Go over all markings with your Sharpie.  Make sure you mark each pattern piece with the name and number of the pattern as well as which view you are tracing.

Use a sharpie to go over your carbon paper markings

Step 6:
  • Cut out your pattern.

Repeat for every pattern piece.  If you need to make alterations to your pattern, you can mark them on the paper and add more paper or remove some to adjust.  You can also make notes directly on your pattern pieces as you sew.

It takes extra time, but if you decide to make the same pattern more than once you’ll be thankful you did it.

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1 Comment

  1. Carol says:

    You can also use paper found at Gordon’s. It comes on a roll. About $23, for 1000 inches. I find this quite useful for pattern work.

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