Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pattern Tracing

From what I've seen on some sewing forums tracing pattern pieces can be a surprisingly contentious issue. Some sewers think that it is a total waste of time, while others can't imagine using a pattern without tracing a copy first. I fall somewhere in the middle. If I have a pattern that I know I'm going to use a lot I trace my size onto a separate piece of paper. If I'm pretty sure I'm going to make it once and never again I don't bother tracing. I trace for a couple of reasons, first and foremost because I hate trying to cut my fabric underneath the pattern, but I refuse to just cut out the size that I need because what if I gain or lose weight latter? I certainly don't want to have to buy the pattern all over again because I destroyed the size I need. And speaking of destroying, I don't want to wear out a beloved pattern by using it too much. And the third reason I like to trace patterns is that it makes alterations easier.

At the end of January, I made a button-up shirt (Butterick 5526 view B if you are interested). I made the size 16, and it fits well enough to wear, I'm not going to pop a button or anything, but there is a little more pull across the bust than is ideal. So today I pulled out the tracing paper to try and alter the pattern a little bit.

As you can tell in this picture I had to tape two pieces of tracing paper together to make it wide enough. I bought the 18" roll of paper because it was cheaper, but when I finally run out I'm going to get a 24" role because the tape is annoying. I laid my tracing paper over the pattern and just traced the lines with a sharpie. It's very important as you are tracing to copy all of the pattern notes and notations as well. You can see in the picture that I copied the button placement, and ease marks. It was super easy, and this way I could easily taper from the size 18 bust to the 16 waist. I also added 2" at the waist. I have a long torso and even though the first shirt I made was long enough to wear, I'm not convinced I could tuck it in and have it stay. I very rarely tuck in my shirts, but I like to know it's an option. 

I'll post more about the actual shirt later. I'm sick right now and just tracing the pattern used up all of my energy. I've got a nice blue cotton fabric waiting to be made into this shirt, and if I like the way the alterations go there is a gorgeous linen/cotton floral print at Jo-Anne's just calling my name. 

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