Sunday, 11 July 2010

Understanding Pattern Instructions


This is the 2nd entry in the Simplicity 3833 Dress Series. If you have missed previous entries in this series please visit the Introduction page for the links to other entries.

Pattern Instruction Sheet


Pattern instructions can at first seem daunting, I know when I started sewing I really struggled with understanding all the terminology and diagrams. I hope this guide will make it easier to read patterns.


Garment Styles


When buying a pattern they normally come with a choice of different styles, this pattern has a choice of 4 dress variations and 2 back designs. After choosing which design you like best remember the letter shown underneath, as this will be used to identify the instructions which need to be followed later. I have decided to make ‘Dress A’ in the shorter skirt length.

Amount of Pattern Pieces


Next, you will need to understand which pattern pieces you need to make your chosen design. In this section of the instructions  it explains what all the pattern piece are for, as you already know from Understanding Pattern Envelopes that this pattern contains 9 pieces.  As I am going to make ‘Dress A’, I will need only numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6 & 7 to make the dress.

Cutting Layouts


Generally there are cutting layouts for either 45” or 60” wide fabric top use with nap or without nap. It is best to follow the recommended layout on the instructions, as it explains how to lay the pieces out on the fabric according to the grain and will reduce fabric waste. I will be following ‘Dress A’ cutting layout 1B and will therefore circle this layout for easy identification.

General Directions


The General Directions section explains what all the symbols mean on the pattern pieces, this may take a bit of time to understand but is very important.


Sewing Directions


The Sewing Directions is the largest section in the pattern instructions and can sometimes also include instructions in other languages. I find it easier to photocopy all the English instructions and when I don’t understand a sewing term I can highlight a word and this will remind me to look it up later. This section is broken up into the different dress views, as I am making ‘Dress A’ I only need to read the relevant instructions. I find it best to read the instructions and study the pictures, put it down and come back to it later - sometimes they can seem very cryptic if  you don’t understand the sewing terms.


More Information

If you want to read in more depth about pattern instructions please visit Craft & Fabric Links Chapter 3 for Pattern Instructions.

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