Most commercial sewing patterns come in multiple sizes. It’s a buy one get three or four other dress sizes deal. Yet there’s nothing worse after buying expensive sewing patterns than cutting out the patterns in your size just to lose all the other sizes. This is an issue for me; often I am the smallest pattern size in the pack, meaning I will end up destroying usually three other sizes.What happens if you have some vintage pattern pieces, and the paper is particularly fragile? What if you do a lot of adjustments to your pattern pieces, such as the hack and slash method? What if you plan to use that pattern to make garments for multiple people?
Here’s some basic tips on how to save your original sewing pattern paper:
You can buy your patterns in digital form, but this approach brings the necessity of joining them with sticky tape or glue. Benefit is as long as you save the original file, you can always print an unlimited time. Just note that some online stores will only allow you to print a certain number of times – hopefully you have some helpful (legal) computer hacking skills.
Scan Your Pattern Paper
It might be a pain, but this is a very real possibility. I gave up trying to do this however, since my scanner won’t accept anything bigger than an A4 the process was quite time-consuming and painful to stitch the images back together again. Professional print shops can often scan up to poster sized pieces, so a decent option still.
I do this more often than not. I buy large sheets of tracing paper from my local stationery/craft store, although even baking paper would work.
I don’t just cut to my recommended dress size, I often adjust the pattern pieces to my own personal measurements and have even occasionally changed entire design areas of dresses through the hack and slash method. By tracing on to separate pieces of paper I leave my originals untouched, allowing me to fall back to them for reference – or in the case of really stuffing up my alterations – retracing again.
If you don’t plan to make any adjustments to your pattern, you can simply cut slits into your pattern paper to your ideal size, and then fold back the unnecessary sizes out-of-the-way. Just be careful that you don’t cut the folded edges when cutting your material!
This is an approach done by Marie at the blog A Stitching Odyssey.
You can also belong to the cutting club, many of whom feel comfortable cutting their pattern paper and making any alterations directly on the original.
Do you have any suggestions to save your pattern pieces? What is your personal preference style?