Make a Paper Version and Figure It OUT!

comments (3) February 27th, 2009     

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JenniferStern Jennifer Stern, contributor
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Heres the proof of my pattern and a few of the traced pieces.
I taped the back dart together so I could get the welt to fit, matching up my dot markings.
This was where I was making my mistake—the pocket bag needed to point away, not toward the dart.
After I turned the pocket bag pieces around and sewed them to the back leg and waistband, I was able to construct the pocket as I sewed the waistband to the top of the pant legs in one continuous seam! its back to illustrator to draw the steps so I can get this puppy to the printer!
Heres the proof of my pattern and a few of the traced pieces.

Here's the proof of my pattern and a few of the traced pieces.

Photo: Jen Stern

Whether you design your own patterns (and you stumped yourself), or you're just trying to make sense of how pattern pieces sew together, I discovered that it helps to make a paper version of the problem to help figure it out.  I'm working on my Khaki Pants pattern instructions. I was cruising along pretty well until I got to the back inseam pockets. I have a sample pair to look at, and quite frankly, I wasn't impressed with the way we put them together the first time (in the rush of a fashion show deadline). I sat there thinking there had to be a better way to construct them. I mean, the way I sewed them together worked...kinda. It just seemed too painful—having to clip the seam allowances and a few other steps that weren't sitting right with me.  

I decided that I would trace the actual pattern pieces out in paper and tape them together to double-check my method. I'm so glad I did because I discovered a much easier way to do it. (By "discover" I don't mean I came up with an original idea. I mean it's probably the way a well-written pattern with inseam pockets along the waistband would do it, too!)

Next time you're in a similar situation, you might save some fabric, time, and irritation working it out in paper first!

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Comments (3)

sewbozo writes: I had done this many years ago as a new sewer and forgotten all about it. This is a great idea to proof something, if your not so sure. Thanks for refreshing my memory.
Posted: 8:55 pm on March 14th
susanbrownknitting writes: It is a great tip, thank you! Sometimes I do this using non-woven interfacing scraps as I find it bends and pins well.
Posted: 4:06 pm on February 28th
Patzee writes: Nice tip! I'm often confused by some instructions and making a paper template will help.
Posted: 8:00 pm on February 27th
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