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3/15/13: I’m Sewing for Victory! — Tracing Pattern Tips

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Popping in this morning with a few tips on how to trace patterns without marring the original. Very important when it comes to working with vintage patterns, like the 1949 Simplicity I’m using for the Sew for Victory! sew-along.

[ the Front pattern piece ]

I am using the Front piece of my pleated skirt and trusty, old brown packing paper to demonstrate. This is a good example because there’s a lot of markings to transfer. So here’s how I do it, step-by-step:

1. Pin the pattern piece, right side up, to your paper. I don’t want to ruin the tissue paper so I use a minimum amount of pins. One to three pins usually works for me.

[ the pattern pinned down ]

2. Mark the outer cutting lines of the pattern by drawing dash lines around the pattern’s entire perimeter. Make them close enough so you know where to cut with your scissors. I used to trace using a solid line, but really, that took me forever! Dash lines work just fine.

[ drawing dashed lines along the cutting edges of the pattern ]

3. Now its time to transfer those markings. I do it without the use of a tracing wheel because I don’t want to leave indentations in the tissue. My goal is to leave the pattern tissue in the same state in which I began.

For for straight of grain line and markings like dots, I fold back the tissue and come in with my pencil.

[ folding back the tissue and marking the dot with a pencil ]

For the long, vertical lines on the pattern that are used to make the pleats, I extend the lines at both the hem and waist and number them accordingly. I also extend any horizontal lines on the pattern, like the shorten/lengthen line, at this point.

[ extending the pleat lines and numbering them ]
I need to draw these long pleat lines in but I don’t have a ruler/straight edge long enough.
[ the pattern extends past my longest ruler–my rotary cutter ruler ]
I could go and invest in a longer ruler, but nah! In this case of events I usually whip out my tailor’s tape. I extend the tape from the waist marking to the hem marking. In the photos below I am connecting line #9.

 While holding the tape in place with my left hand, I make a dashed line at one end, following the edge of the tailor’s tape.

[ drawing a couple dashed lines along the tape ]

 I then connect the dashed line with my ruler and pencil.

 At this point, part of the pleat line is drawn in. My ruler now can complete the line.

So that’s how I trace my patterns! It would, of course, be a lot quicker to use a tracing wheel and carbon paper (which I do use on modern patterns), but this is my tracing method of choice for the vintage ones. OK, off to sew!

One Comment

  1. You’ve made me want to get back to sewing! thanks for the inspiration. :<)

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