Understanding a Dress Pattern Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of 'Understanding a Dress Pattern' this week we are going through what's inside of the envelope. Having followed all the information in the first two parts about how to choose your pattern and how to find out what you need, lets get stuck in to how to make your garment.

Inside the envelope you will find the pattern instructions and the pattern tissue pieces.

The Pattern Instructions
If you take out your instructions the first page will show you line drawings of all the designs, a drawing of all the pieces and which design they belong too. From this you can sort out which pattern pieces you need to cut from the tissue pieces.

Next to that there will usually be a glossary of terms and directions. If you are new to patterns it is a good idea to have a thorough read of this before you start, it is always there for you to refer back to if there is something you don't understand.

Underneath all that will be your cutting lay outs, the blueprints if you like for where you need to place your pieces on your fabric. Again there will be options for different widths of fabric and sometimes sizes. Find the layout that is relevant to you and use that to place your pattern.

The Pattern Tissue
Having read the first part of your instructions, you can unfold your pattern tissue and roughly cut the pieces you need for your chosen design. Although, I usually don't cut the tissue, to make my patterns last longer I use greaseproof paper and trace over the pieces to create copies, leaving the original intact.

This just means that I can always go back to the pattern at another time and make a different size or variation and not have cut away anything I may need. (If you choose to copy, make sure you are accurate and that you copy all the information that you need from each piece) The markings on a pattern can be overwhelming as there are so many with multi sized patterns, but if you have read your glossary it will become clearer. you can always refer to that if you are unsure.

Back to the Instructions
The next step is to start following the instructions, I usually go through them and mark (in pencil) all the parts that are relevant to the design I am making before I start so it is easier to follow as the instructions for all the garments in your pattern are together on the sheet and some steps will be the same for multiple garments. By highlighting (in pencil) the ones you need you can easily ignore the ones you don't need this time.
Once you have read through the instructions you can go to cut out your pieces and start creating your garment. Make sure that the fabric is folded correctly and they you are cutting the right amount of pieces. Having read through the instructions it will have given you a better understanding of how all the pieces go together and you can start to construct your garment with more confidence.

Learning how to use a pattern is one of the best things I ever did, I am so grateful that my mum taught me from an early age. The thing I like most about making clothes is that you end up with clothes that are totally unique to you, with your choice of style and fabric.

I hope that was helpful to you if you are thinking of having a go at making something from a pattern, and that it has made it a little easier to follow. Is there anything else that you are interested in knowing about patterns? leave a comment and I will try and answer you query, If I think others might be interested I will write a post about it. Check out part 1 here and part 2 here, also check out our post about choosing fabrics from last year.

Sammy xxx

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