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How to Use a Sewing Pattern

Sewing as you follow a particular order is a great way to help brainstorm more ideas on making clothes, rugs, or other items that require sewing. The starting point is knowing how to sew an item. Once you are conversant with this, it will be easy to learn how to sew following a pattern.

Most probably, you are a beginner in sewing, and your first sewing pattern is at hand. Before doing anything with it, think of the many elements you need to consider when sewing a basic garment. The same applies when coming up with our unique patterns. You need to know the amount of fabric that you need, cut it well, and label your sewing points. It is also crucial to know how to join the pieces like a pro. So, this tutorial will help you with all these.

How to Use a Sewing Pattern?

Look for the pattern you want to sew, cut it, and make a solid line on the pieces. It should direct you when cutting the fabric. The process is pretty simple since the material comes with a manual. It has the guiding format for the fabric showing each item that comes from its pattern box. Mark the pattern then cut it out.

Basics of Using a Sewing Pattern

At present, you can download patterns from online websites. Several shops specifically deal with selling the designs to buy them from there. So typically, you can get the patterns from anywhere.  In the past, making patterns from scratch was the only option. Here we have some essentials that you need to equip yourself with.

1. Before You Begin

Ensure you wash your garment to avoid shrinking. Also, ensure you eliminate any wrinkles on the cloth. The shrinking may occur when cutting or stitching it, so don’t ignore this step. Make sure you cut out the pattern well. Necessary preparation will come a long way when sewing.

2. Preparing the Pattern

The fabric manual will guide you. The different patterns that come with it will direct you on the finishing for the piece you want. Start by cutting the pieces past their lines. Paper scissors are the best for cutting. The paper may blunt the fabric scissors. Pass through low heat and dry iron to the pattern to get rid of any creases. It will ensure that the design reclines well on the fabric when cutting it.

3. Cutting the Pattern

Depending on the measurements, select the size you want to cut out. The size of your charts will also help you in choosing the size to cut out.  There is no issue when you cut a different pattern size without following some of your measurements. However, when dealing with a multi-sized pattern, a guideline will show you how to combine such measures from the edge. Cut the consistent lines on your pattern. If the lines are parallel, highlight the size you want to cut for easier cutting.

4. Cutting Out Layouts

In some cases, your pattern may have several formats that you may cut. Go for the one that perfectly suits the fabric width. The pattern also needs to fit the size you want to cut and the design of your garment.

5. Cutting Out

Remove any wrinkles from your fabric by laying it flat and disentangling it, then fold it. The cutting guide will direct you to fold. Following the cutting guide, too, lay the pattern pieces in the order it requires. Either the right or wrong side will be facing up. Measure to ensure that the patterns grainlines are collateral to the selvage. Place the pattern pieces on your fabric. Pins will ensure that they stay in place. Using dressmaker shears, cut through the material and around the patterns. When cutting through knotty sections, small and sharp pair scissors will ensure an accurate cut.

6. Transfer Pattern Markings

You will have to transfer all pattern markings to the fabric. They will help in linking fabric pieces and during positioning of things such as the pocket. This step is crucial, and you shouldn’t skip it. Small tacking stitches and a fabric pen will help you in marking the pieces on the fabric. Pin the pieces on the fabric and keep them there, so that later on, you can quickly identify the piece you need when sewing them together.

What Do Different Markings on a Sewing Pattern Mean?

Marking your pattern will help you when cutting and sewing. Moreover, these markings also come in handy when fitting on a garment. To get a great final look, ensure you thoroughly understand the markings and pass them on to your fabric.

1. Cutting Lines

Each size for multi-size patterns comes with contrasting style lines. Dots and dashes are such lines. Carefully cut along the line depending on the size of your pattern.

2. Lengthen and Shorten Lines

They are two parallel and horizontal lines. They indicate the pattern point where you can adjust the sizes to fit you.

3. Grainline

If your fabric has grain, it is usually parallel to the selvages. Therefore, ensure the side in which the arrow is pointing matches with that of the grain. Measuring this will guarantee more accurate results.

4. Notches

If you are using two pieces of the pattern, notches will show their matching points and combine them. They come in the form of a triangle or lines. Their markings are on the edge of a pattern.

5. On the Fold

When cutting a pattern on the fold, begin by aligning it. Fix the marking to the fabric’s fold, then the remaining pattern.

6. Buttonholes and Buttons

A horizontal or vertical line usually denotes buttonholes. An X mark on either line shows the positioning of the button.

7. Bust and Hip Indicators

These indicators will let you know the pattern that will work best for you. They will stipulate the size of your waist, bust, and hips.

8. Other Shapes

Pocket placements and dart points are such points that these shapes indicate a pattern.

9. Darts

A diamond shape or two lines are emanating from a similar point is a sign of a dart. You can use dart lines for coming up with a good shape.

Steps to Use a Sewing Pattern

No matter the sewing pattern you choose to use, the content is most likely the same. Whether it’s a print pattern, a PDF, and in other cases, a vintage pattern, the steps below will show you how you will begin incorporating a sewing pattern.

1. Read Carefully

Make sure you go through this crucial step even if you don’t sew more frequently. Besides, thoroughly examine all the guidelines to enhance your comprehension of the procedure.

2. Take a Print Out of the Pattern

It can be challenging and boring to follow the instructions form a PDF. So, make your work easier and more fun by printing and shortening it into small pieces. Also, bind the pieces together. Ensure you use the right tools for a more engaging procedure.

3. Trace the Pattern Correctly

If need be, trace the pattern. A traditional paper pattern will require tracing. However, if you are using a PDF pattern, you need not trace. Personally, tracing is never an option. Reproducing, trimming, and Strapping the pattern again works faster than tracing.

4. Follow the Correct Lines

Following a PFD pattern without adjusting it to the print size by size option or even the paper pattern can be challenging. Thus, ensure you have the size chart with you. It will guide you on the lines you should follow. Use a colorful fabric pen to underline them to make them more visible. You can now outline the right sequence.

What Is a Sewing Pattern?

It is typically a blueprint that directs one on the right size to sew a fabric shape. Drawing an even piece on a paper is an example of a guide. It will help you when cutting the fabric, so is it when sewing. A sewing pattern has guidelines on how to sew. It will show you the right and method to combine the pieces.

Do I Need to Cut Out the Patterns?

Of course, you should. After cutting the pattern, fix it to the fabric before cutting it. Sometimes, you need to sketch the pattern first, like when cutting out patterns of many outfits from that pattern, but in different sizes. You can reuse the pattern pieces in the future. Just secure them in a folder or any other pack.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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