How To Make a Pattern from Clothing

Some people have problems in finding clothes of the right size and fit, so in such cases it would be a good and useful idea to learn how to make our own clothes. By following relatively simple steps and learning some sewing techniques it is quite easy to design your own patterns from clothes and re-create new garments which can better fit your size and the current fashion trends.

Tools and Materials needed:

  • a piece of clothing
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • tracing wheel
  • measuring tape or ruler
  • tracing paper

Step 1 – Prepare the piece of clothing

Place the piece of clothing you are going to replicate on a firm, level surface. It is best if you pin it down in order to avoid it from moving and causing discrepancies while tracing or measuring. Besides, this will help in keeping it free from wrinkles and as flat as possible to ultimately ensure a better job.

Step 2 – Start tracing

Place the tracing paper over the garment. Before starting to trace, make sure you know all the elements making up the garment, and make a mental note how you are going to go about it. This is important because you have to make sure that you trace up each and every seam, so try to set out such that you start from the large sides, moving onto the smaller ones. Be sure to include any smaller lines of stitching that might go unnoticed. Pay special attention to certain parts, such as under the arms, which would have several seams connected together. You can choose to trace directly by means of a pencil or using a tracing wheel and then a pencil afterwards.

Step 3 – Apply seam allowance

When the tracing stage is complete remove the pins and lay out the paper on a flat surface. Now add seam allowances to the pattern by using a clear ruler. Half an inch is the minimum, but you can choose what is best according to your particular type of clothing.

Step 4 – Cut out the pattern

Once you draw the pattern incorporating the seam allowance, just cut out the pattern with the scissors as precisely as possible.

Step 5 – Repeat for all parts

Repeat the tracing process for each part of the piece of clothing that the pattern is being made from. Make notes that can help you along the way, while sewing up a new dress. If there are several pieces making up the final pattern, make sure that each and every piece is marked to prevent any mix ups.

This is the basic method used when making a pattern from clothing. In the case the garment you are copying is no longer needed, you can also use a seam ripper to tear out each seam. It’s easier to trace from pieces of fabric, rather than a complete dress.

This process usually requires patience, a deft hand, and an attention to detail. With practice, you’ll be making nice dresses in no time.


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