Tracing Patterns - Part One
Preparing to Trace
I had a couple of requests to do a post regarding tracing patterns from pattern magazines. Most, if not all, foreign pattern magazines have large sheets of patterns, with multiple patterns per sheet that must be traced before using. There are many ways to do this, with no one way being *the right way*. As with many things in sewing and life, you will probably need to try a few different ways before you figure out what works for you.
That said, there are some things you ought to know before even starting to trace. All of the samples shown here will be either from Burda World of Fashion or from Patrones. First, you need to find your size, in metric. All pattern magazines do not have the same size chart, so check the chart before you trace. Some magazines such as Patrones, shown below, only print in three sizes, leaving the user to grade to the sizes in between. BWOF does not always start the grading at the same size. Some patterns start at 34, some at 36 and some at 38. (I find this frustrating because the styles I like are always start one size larger than what I need!)
It is important to consult the cutting plan, in Spanish below from Patrones, plano de corte, or the little section in BWOF that shows all the pattern pieces. This shows the shape of all the pieces. All of the pieces are numbered, but you'll notice there are a few extra pieces for this pattern. Namely, vista (facing) and tapeta (used for a variety of pattern pieces that are bands or plackets of some sort, but for trousers, a fly shield). What about those pieces?
These are pieces that are needed to make the item, but there are not separate pattern pieces for them. If you are used to using American patterns, every single pattern pieces is provided. Not so with these patterns. Many of the rectangular pieces, such as square pocket bags, sleeves cuffs, belt loops, etc. are cut by measurements given in the pattern. In the BWOF sample shown below, you will see that there are pieces labeled in letters rather than numbers and dimensions given. You need to read the instructions carefully so as not to miss these little pieces.
For many patterns, some of the extra pieces are printed within another pattern piece. Take for example the coat front from BWOF shown below. The front facing as well as the pocket bag are traced from the pattern piece for the front.
Next, gather up your supplies, pencil, tape, rulers, paper for tracing. I usually use plain old white gift tissue for tracing. This is because it is cheap, I can see through it and because I rarely make the same pattern twice, so it does not have to be very durable. If I trace a pattern to give away, I use Swedish tracing paper. I purchase this online usually on eBay. Just type in "Swedish tracing paper" into eBay's search or Google and you'll find it. Rulers are important - both straight and curved (the sort for drafting) if you have them. If not, trace slowly and the curves will be fine.
Many people prefer to add seam allowances as they trace. We will take a look at some of those methods and tools on Monday. I have collected some good links to what others are doing and using, plus we'll take a look at the pattern sheets and what you'll find there.
Parting Shot: Must Explore! I received some from fabric from a friend. When I unwrapped it to take a look at it, who do you think thought she had to investigate too, even under the fold? I turned around to pick up some of the wrappings off the floor and Kiwi was already up there nosing around! I did not let her stay long, as the fabric is lovely and I didn't want cat hair all over it.