We all have a few favorite pieces in our closet that we wear over and over again, and it’s always upsetting when said trusted tee and beloved dress start to lose their luster. Well don’t despair, no matter if it shrunk in the dryer, was moth-eaten, or suffered a bad stain, your treasure still has some hope for a new life. With a little knowledge of pattern making, you can not only recreate, but also rework some of your favorite pieces.
Make a Pattern:
In order to recreate your item of clothing, some basic pattern making skills are in order. All it takes is a brief knowledge of the sewing machine and a few tools, and you’ll be back in action in no time.
1. Large butcher paper or newspaper.
2. Tracing wheel
3. A few yards of fabric, depending on how big your piece is
4. All the sewing necessities: sewing machine, pins, iron, etc.
Remember, start of simple. Once you got the idea down, then you can move on to tackle harder clothes. Here, I’m recreating one of my favorite dresses. I love the tie on this piece, but the cotton has started to shrink in the dryer and I’m afraid that my dress is more of a tunic these days, if that.
Lay your item flat on a piece of butcher paper. If the piece is bilaterally symmetrical (most clothes are), fold it in half. Make sure the fabric is completely flat, and weigh or pin it down to the paper. Use a tracing wheel to outline the piece—this will make tiny pinpricks in the butcher paper outlining your piece. If your item has more than one part, make sure you trace each separately, keeping them as flat as possible. (For example, if you have sleeves, trace them separately so that each “piece” has it’s own “map,” per say.)
Draw in the seam allowance around the piece. I use a ruler to make ½ inch ticks.
Cut out the patterns along the seam allowance lines, and voila! You have pattern pieces, and can now cut pieces from the fabric and sew them together accordingly.
Note: If your piece has darts, folds, or gatherings, you must account for the extra fabric used and adjust your pattern correspondingly. My dress had darts—you can see how the pattern accommodates them in the photo.
If you’ve yet to acquaint yourself with a sewing machine, I definitely recommend taking some lessons to understand the basics of sewing before setting out on bigger projects, such as this one. Once you have a basic understanding, pattern making will come more naturally. You can even find some great basic sewing lessons on youtube! Here is a simple one on how to make a flared skirt , which might help answer some of your questions about pattern making, such as the definition of seam allowance, etc.