Sunday, 18 July 2010

Tracing Patterns

This is the 3rd entry in the Simplicity Dress 3833 Series. If you have missed any of the other entries in this series please visit the Introduction page.

Why Trace a Pattern?

Tracing patterns may seem like a useless task when the pattern paper has been prepared already for you to cut out. These are my reasons as to why I prefer to trace the pattern instead of using the original paper. I like to keep my patterns in the best condition in case I want to use them again. I may want to make the same garment for a friend who may be a larger size then me. If I have cut the pattern to one of the smaller sizes it will be difficult to make it bigger without the other line sizes to cut around. Eventually I may want to sell the pattern. I buy a lot of second hand patterns on EBay and do check the condition of the patterns, if it has been cut I'm not interested in buying. It is best to keep these thoughts in your mind when tracing patterns.

Equipment Needed

  • Tracing Pattern/ Dress making pattern paper/ or greaseproof paper
    Mechanical pencil with clicking top
  • Ruler
  • Masking Tape
  • Scissors (paper cutting)
  • Weights (not shown in picture)
  • Iron
  • French Curve (optional)



I prefer to use greaseproof paper for tracing patterns rather than dress making paper, it’s cheaper to buy, comes in a bigger roll and is readily available from supermarkets. There are a variety of standard wooden pencils on the market including difference types for mechanical pencils. I prefer to use mechanical pencils that have a clicking top to push more lead out. A mechanical pencil is a lot better than a standard wooden one, there are a lot of lines and markings to trace and the lead quickly gets blunt and used up.

Preparing the Pattern

If the pattern is very creased iron it flat being careful not to rip the paper.

Tracing the Pattern

Decide on the pattern pieces you require from looking at the instructions. For my Simplicity dress pattern I needed numbers 1,2,3,4,5, 6 & 7 . Cut out enough tracing paper to cover the original pattern. If there is not enough to cover it, use the masking tape to stick the extra tracing paper together. Masking tape is best used for this as you can still see through and it is easy to draw on.

Trace everything you see on the pattern piece, all the dots, dashes and circles mean something and these will assist you in constructing the garment later. For future reference write down the pattern details i.e. size, pattern number etc. for future reference.

Cutting the Pattern

Cut out all the pattern pieces including the notches by making small triangle shapes sticking just inside the cutting lines, these help to match up the pattern pieces later.
Keep all the pattern pieces in a safe place until you are ready to use them for cutting out your fabric. My next blog entry will show you how to do the Layout & Cutting stage.

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