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Topic: Bright Red with Embarassment, but.. how do you follow a pattern????  (Read 13932 times)
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« on: March 18, 2008 09:03:58 PM »

I feel like such a fool even posting this.... but, I cannot seem to follow a pattern to save my life, as they all seem to be missing directions.  So, I am desperately trying, with the most basic (see McCall's M5583) pattern I could find.  And I am TRYING to thoroughly follow directions, like the lovely ladies at Joann's instructed I do... but here's the deal.. what the H?! Do I cut the darn thing out of the tissue paper, do I trace it into the fabric? The directions have the fabric folded, proper side in, selvage edge on top with the pattenr all laid out like a puzzle.  So.... do I cut it out of the thin paper or ... nuts. I am mortified, but honestly, I'm used to sewing things by hand, no pattern, and I am tryingtryingtrying to figure this whole pattern jive out.

Please help... or if you must, burn me at the stake  Undecided
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2008 09:14:59 PM »

Well, it's up to you if you trace it or cut it out. If you think that you will want to make the pattern in other sizes, then trace it. If not, cut it out in the size you need. If you do trace it, make sure you transfer over your marks as well. Basically, you will have lines on the pattern pieces that tell you which way to lay the piece on the grainline. The grainline runs parallel to the selvage. It will tell you if you need to cut it on the fold. Hmm.. Match your notches.. Uh.. other than that.. not sure what else to tell you specifically Smiley

But I would start with a) preshrink your fabric if needed b) straighten your fabric if needed c) cut out or trace and cut out your pattern pieces d) lay it all out and make sure you have enough fabric and what not. e) pin that sucker f) cut out the pinned pieces, don't forget to clip your notches and transfer all marks..

That should be a good start..
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2008 09:35:29 PM »

 Undecided  Straighten the fabric?  And.. I suppose I'll trace it, since I plan (if I can actually get to the sewing part) to make one for myself and my sister.... we're barely different sizes....
I must say, it STINKS knowing no one who sews..... Other than the fabulous craftster, of course Wink
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2008 01:01:47 AM »

Don't be too embarrassed, dogandbutterfly, because you're not the only one in that boat!

I just started sewing and am totally mystified by patterns.  I would like to try my hand at one but I never find any that I think will look cute.  The outdated drawings and fabrics they show always throw me off. 

Can I just add a question in here?  What are the notches for and why do you have to line them up?  I totally remember my mom sewing when I was a kid and those little carrots cut out of the edge of the patterns... do you cut them into the fabric as well? 

Dogandbutterfly, I think following a pattern is one of those things that is a total foreign language at the beginning and then just becomes second nature with some practice and exposure!   Wink
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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2008 04:32:47 AM »

Don't be too hard on yourself! The sewing world tends to forget that there are people out there who haven't had the benefit of an experienced sewer to show them how to start from square one! It used to be that females were required to take a "Home Economics" course in high school, I suppose because so many women were still in the traditional role of homemaker. My older sister had to take such a course in the 70's. Our mom was even a home ec major in college in the mid-late 50's!!

Whether you cut out the tissue pattern pieces, or transfer the pattern pieces you need to another paper (I hear Dr's exam table paper works quite well, as it's see-thru enough. If you do this, make sure you transfer all markings from the original pattern pieces), you will pin or weigh down the pattern pieces on top of the fabric. Your fabric should be folded in half, right sides together w/ the finished edges being the selvidge edge, just like it was when it came off the bolt at the store. The arrows on your pattern pieces indicate which direction the pieces lie on the fabric (the arrows follow the grain of the fabric, so your clothing won't come out all wonky and twisted when everything is sewn together), as is indicated in your pattern instruction's layout charts.
I hope that helps you to get started!! Keep asking questions if you still need help. There's always someone around here to help clarify things!

Buns: The reason for the notches is to help to both match up your pieces to the corresponding pieces, and to help line up your seam lines. You wouldn't believe how easy it is to accidently stitch the  legs of a pair of pants together in the wrong order, and the horror you feel when you try to move to the next step, only to realize you went wrong somewhere along the way. Putting in sleeves is another area where those notches really help. It's very easy to put a sleeve in on the wrong armhole, or even upside-down. You can either cut the notches outward, as they most likely shown on your pattern piece, or inwards if you're confident you won't clip the point of the notch past the stitching line. I still cut notches after 30-some-odd years of sewing. I get easily distracted and have messed up before!!
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2008 05:15:47 AM »

I'm in the same boat; currently, I'm working on a pattern for a skirt and it has supposedly simple directions but so many different symbols and (to my eyes) hasty instructions on how-to. Just yesterday I finally cut out the fabric after pinning the cut-out pattern to my cloth, now I just need to get the right color string and figure out why my sewing machine keeps jamming and where all this extra string I find comes from on it!

I took a Home Ec class in 8th grade, which coincidentally was the last year my school offered it. Of course, that was well over a decade ago and I've since forgotten most of what I learned (except how to make apple turnovers, which has no relation to sewing Wink). But I'm trying to muddle through it, hopefully I'll get proficient enough to be able to make costumes, my original reason for buying a machine and starting this hobby.  Grin
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2008 05:56:36 AM »

Ah, the pain of patterns.  In any craft (sewing, knitting, crochet...) they first seem totally bizarre and utterly unhelpful.  There is a lot of assumed knowledge in the symbols, but a little experience will have you decoding the pattern in no time.  Sounds like you are already past the cutting out stage, but for everyone who is thinking about starting to sew, I'll do a little run down.

So here's a little list of what to do once you have chosen a pattern:

1. Identify the line on the pattern for the size you want to cut out.  Most patterns are printed with multiple sizes today.  There will be a little number coyly printed close to a dashed, dotted, or sold line, announcing this is size 12, or size 8, etc. 

2. Cut out pattern piece following the size line you've chosen.  When you reach the little black diamonds, including double diamonds, continue cutting around them, so you have a diamond-shaped notch.  The notches are important for helping you line up pieces that need to be matched later on.

3. Gently iron your cut-out pattern pieces.  They have been folded and are creased; the lowest setting on your iron will ease the wrinkles out.  I know this is a pain sometimes, but I personally think it is an essential step. 

4.  Look at the diagram on your pattern that shows you how to lay out your pattern pieces.  You must match the size width of fabric you bought (45 inches, 60 inches, etc) to the corresponding diagram.  The diagram will tell you how to fold your fabric, if necessary, and which way the pieces need to be laid out in relation to the grain of the fabric.

5. Assuming your fabric has been prewashed and ironed, especially if you are going to wear your work, now you get to lay out your fabric.  Fold it if necessary as shown by your diagram.  You want to try to get the grain of the fabric straight.  This simply means fussing a bit over matched the edges, maybe realizing the edge cut at Joann's wasn't exactly straight.  This is an essential part of preparing your fabric, but it gives me a pain so I tend to do poorly on it. 

When I was a kid, my mom and I would take over the dinning room table to cut out fabric.  Now I use the hardwood floor because my table is too cluttered.  Carpet doesn't really work as well, but if it's all you have for a large space, it will certainly be fine.

6. Lay out pattern pieces as shown on the diagram.  Pin them. Cut out, on the black lines--remember to cut your diamond notches!  I like to leave the pattern piece pinned on the fabric til I use the piece.  Some patterns will ask you to fold the fabric, and place a pattern piece on the edge of the folded fabric.  This allows you to cut a piece that is a mirror image of your cut. 

7. Now the fun begins of following the directions of constructing your garment.  I will stop here, because I don't know if you have any specific questions about the techniques required in your pattern.  But please post if you do have more questions.

For making multiple sizes from the same pattern, my advice is to cut the larger size out first.  Create your garment.  Then, recut the pieces in the smaller size.  It is easier than tracing the pattern pieces onto another piece of paper, although that is certainly an option.

For comments on the pattern you've chosen, you might check out patternreview.com.  People post about specific patterns and describe problems and modifications they made.

Being new to craftster, I don't know if this is a repeat of something already posted here.  Any more experienced craftsters want to share links to other posts with basic pattern help??

The more children are valued, the better their values will be.
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2008 08:21:51 AM »

Great stuff! I think I'll bookmark to paste the next time this gets asked Smiley

I can only add, look to your local fabric & craft stores & community schools for casual or beginning sewing courses. Most I see are under $50 plus materials (some as low as $15) but I think very worthwhile to learn all the symbols, terms & things the patterns assume you know.
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2008 09:42:49 AM »

Oh, I definitely plan on taking a few courses, it's just not good timing, and I'm too impatient to wait until I can take a course to sew something  Grin
Soo, I suppose I chose poor fabric for this lil projecto'mine, too.. .I chose a gorgeous, but quite floppy polyester print... *sigh* oh well... I'll keep you all posted... I began cutting out the pattern last night, and will likely pin/cut fabric today.... provided of course no cryptic symbols discourage me again  Tongue

Anywhoo... on a sidenote, do you cut the patterns with different scissors from your fabric set? I do, but I'm wondering if I'm being much to paranoid.... thanks again!!!!  Roll Eyes
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2008 10:42:05 AM »

You're quite right, it's best if you have two pairs of scissors, one for fabric only and one for everything else.  I would most highly reccomend you have a super sharp scissors reserved only for your fabric cutting, and then a plain old reasonably sharp pair for your pattern. 

I was taught that the fabric scissors should never cut paper, because that will dull them.  Joann's often has cheap, but still very sharp fabric scissors that I use only for fabric.  You can also invest in expensive, sharp fabric scissors. 

For cutting the pattern, I just try to find a semi decent pair of scissors from around the house.  (They seem to wander off constantly). My scissors from Ikea do just fine.

Polyestesr...slippery stuff!  Good luck!!

Are there other symbols that are part of your pattern that are still baffling?  What about small black dots, or dotted lines for darts?  You'll want to mark them on your pattern, and there are special techniques for transferring them.

The more children are valued, the better their values will be.
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