How to Follow a Sewing PatternHannah Greenwood
Here at The Vintage Pattern Shop, we share our passion for vintage clothing, offering the ability to reproduce authentic vintage pieces with original vintage sewing patterns and textiles. It can take years to become an expert seamstress or tailor and, in many social realms, creating a garment is a work of art. Fabric is a versatile creative medium to work with, offering endless possibilities and a unique form of self-expression – whether worn by the designer, client, or consumer.
Sewing patterns may at first seem complicated, yet once you get to grips with one, it can be an exhilarating journey of accomplishment and discovery. Many commercial options are designed to be easy to follow, and you can have limited garment construction knowledge and still produce an excellent finished piece. Once you become comfortable using pattern pieces, they can become a foundation to make truly bespoke garments. Who knows, maybe you’ll be producing your own designs one day.
We want to help our readers get started, read on for our simple guide on how to follow a sewing pattern.
When you are selecting from our range, it is best to start with something simple. A basic top or dress can be an easy design to assemble without too many darts or seams. Ideally, you are looking for a style that introduces you to the basics without the feeling of being overwhelmed by the complexity of the design. A good rule of thumb for selecting is the number of pieces shows complexity, fewer means easier. This is supposed to be a fun experience that is challenging without becoming stressful. It is an amazing feeling to finish and enjoy wearing it.
Read the instructions
The most important part of using ready-made designs is to read the instructions. We understand the excitement to get started, but we promise that understanding fully the entire construction process before starting will make sewing it together so much easier. There is a lot of information to take in. If you have basic knowledge of sewing terminology, it will be easier to understand. For those who don’t, do some research to understand terms like darts, seam allowance, basting stitch, and anything else on the instructions. When you are first learning how to construct clothing, never rush – that is how mistakes are made. Also, if you are afraid of wasting fabric, make a toile using cheap cloth. And don’t forget that the stitch unpicker is your best friend.
Selecting the right fabric for your chosen garment is an important part of the process. Some fabrics lend themselves to certain designs or require an individual with extensive experience to stitch correctly. For example, working with stiff or silky fabrics can be difficult to sew or aren’t suitable for the project. Since we supply vintage patterns, it is much easier to select an ideal fabric if you do a bit of research on the era, however, many will include recommendations on the packaging. We supply a great range of vintage style fabrics online so you can find something perfectly suited, producing a truly authentic final piece. If we can offer one piece of advice, it is to familiarise yourself with how to identify the grain of the fabric. This will come in handy when you are cutting and sewing pieces together.
Cutting to size
Every option we offer is an exact reproduction and will need to be cut to size. Cutting pieces is a straightforward job and all our designs come with simple instructions. Take your time to understand the instructions, especially if multiple sizes are an option. If you want to keep the size options, cut out the patterns from the main outline, and cut slits to fold over the paper to your preferred size when cutting the shape on the fabric. Over the years, clothing sizes have altered, and vintage often fits on the smaller side to current modern standards. Therefore, we advise you to take precise measurements of your body or the garment recipients, comparing them to the measurements on the instructions to ensure the correct size. You may be a women’s UK 10, yet in vintage a 14 – it really varies.
To get started, we offer so much to choose from, including Vogue patterns and vintage dress patterns. You can even have a go with smaller designs with our selection of vintage baby patterns. Just have fun with it.
We hope that this has been an informative piece that has inspired a sense of confidence to test your sewing skills on a variety of projects. If you have any queries, we are always happy to hear from our customers, and will gladly offer advice and recommendations. Happy Sewing!