How to Choose and Use a Sewing Pattern

It’s hard to know where to begin sometimes with a sewing pattern, but there are so many ‘shop bought’ patterns out there to choose from these days, you would be hard to find something that DOESN’t suit you! In this handy guide sewing expert Miss Libby Rose guides you through some of her top tips for choosing and using a shop bought sewing pattern.

You Will NeedHow to Make

Choosing your design:

1. Check the ability level, this is sometimes on the front of the pattern, usually it will proudly state if it is an ‘easy’ or ‘simple’ make.  If it is not stated, it usually means it can be a bit more difficult, an intermediate level.
You can also check how many pieces are being used, this can also be stated ‘dress using 2 pattern pieces’

2. Flip the pattern envelope over and see the design drawing of the pattern, this is a line drawing of each of the designs that are included. Sometimes a piece will be shown on the front that is just part of the picture and not a pattern piece. Also you may not necessarily like the way it is shown on the front (not your type of fabric etc) but by looking at the design drawing you will get a better idea of it.

3. Choose your size from the chart on the back of the pattern envelope, this lists sizes and measurements so you can be sure it will fit!
If you are not sure of your exact size or where your measurements fit in, then its good idea to get yourself a tape measure & get measuring!

When you are taking measurements, hold the tape firm, but not tight and also not too loose.
Here’s some tips on measuring up:-

Bust – Hold one end of the tape measure middle of your chest and stretch it across your bust and around the whole way
Waist – take the measurement halfway between where your rib cage ends and your hip bone starts.
Nape to wait – get someone else to take this you. It’s the middle of the back of your neck down to the waist measurement you took earlier.


Using your pattern:

1. Once you have the correct size & style you can gather up all your notions by following the guide, again on the back of the pattern envelope. This will tell you what else is needed to create the look: Zips, buttons, interfacing, bias binding etc.

2. Get yourself comfortable on a clear big table or the floor and unwrap all of the pattern and instructions.

3. Cut out the tracing paper pattern following your size guideline.
OR If you want to keep all the sizes in tact you can cut it out to the biggest size and use a tracing wheel and chalk to mark your size onto fabric each time.  

NB: If you are following the tutorial on ‘make a simple dress’ with me, then you will only need to cut out the front and back in your size in the pattern, then put the rest to one side. We create our own facings out of paper making this a super simple make.

4. Once you are happy and have made up your design I always suggest to transfer the paper pattern to cardboard so it lasts longer and doesn’t tear! It’s also much easier to cut around!

5. Take note of your notches and mark them down when you are ready to cut your fabric out. It makes life so much easier when following the instructions.

6. HAVE FUN and don’t forget to share your makes – We’re always keen to see your crafts, and if you share your makes with us on Instagram using #Hobbycraft, you will be in with the chance of winning a £100 voucher each month! T&C’s apply.

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