Saturday, September 27, 2008

Everlasting patterns... fashion industry-style!

I couldn't find my Clutch pattern the other day. I mean the ORIGINAL Clutch pattern, which was drafted on card. I decided it'd be quicker to make a new card pattern from a paper print than re-organise my pattern "storage system" (I use the term VERY loosely).

I don't actually like working with paper patterns and pins.... way too slow. It's a bit like sewing on a domestic machine when you're used to an industrial. Cardboard patterns are quicker and more accurate AND THEY LAST LONGER,TOO!!! I still have the original blocks and patterns I made in the final year of my Fashion degree (1989... yikes!), and loads of other patterns since ...hence my inability to find a teeny-tiny little clutch pattern in amongst them!

It made me think - if I didn't know about basting spray until this year (I kid you not, folks!) then maybe there are some home-sewing types who don't know about industrial pattern card....? Some things are easy to miss if you're moving in a different part of the (sewing) world from them.

How to Turn Paper Patterns Into Cardboard Patterns.... which are JUST GREAT!

1. Using spray adhesive or a glue stick (a glue that won't dampen the paper and make it crinkle), stick your pattern print to some pattern card. You can paste down individual pattern pieces that have already been cut out (and used) or you can paste down the new, uncut pattern print.
2. Cut out your pattern pieces and transfer all the pattern markings (notches and dots etc) with HOLES and snips in the cardboard. Any old hole punches, scissors and awls can be used for this. If you have a screw-punch (forgot to take a photo of mine) they're great for marking dart points and other pattern dots.

***Edited to add screw-punch link.****

"Ah HA!" you say, "What's that nifty looking gadget she has there...?" They're pattern notchers... hideously expensive but VERY NIFTY INDEED. They cut lovely slit notches in patterns. That's ALL they do ...and they do it BEAUTIFULLY! (See "top notch" on the pic below). Unless you plan to make a lot of patterns I wouldn't think pattern notchers a very sound investment. You may be able to find a substitute among papercrafts gadgets (?) or you can use scissors - like I did on the bottom notch on the pic above.

3. Hold the pattern pieces down on your fabric - or use weights to hold down larger pattern pieces - and trace around them with tailors chalk. I prefer the accuracy of using a
chalk pencil or quilters pencil - a nice fine line is always good.
...and that notch thing? You can draw a line into the notch to show you where to put a 2.5mm snip in the edge of your seam allowance. (That's more accurate than those triangle notches on a lot of big-brand patterns). That's all you need for matching up important points when you're at the sewing machine.4. Unless your fabric is slippery you don't tend to need pins at all. Just CUT out your fabric - and this is even quicker with a rotary cutter.... ooooh... MORE gadget-love (I shouldn't have started this....!!!)

5. You can then cut/punch a hole through each piece and thread them over a wire hook (or loop of string) and hang them up - as in the picture at the top of this post. Correction - it's actually best to hang them up in an ORDERLY system.

(...and I must go back to that pattern in the last picture and punch a hole through that snap placement mark! Oops!).

PS. If you want to make trace-around pattern pieces that you can SEE THROUGH (so you can see the print placement on the fabric), you can use template plastic. It doesn't roll like kitchen paper or crinkle and fly away like tissue paper.


Bellgirl said...

Excellent, I'll try it! At the moment I draft my patterns on silicon paper from the kitchen cupboard, good because I can see the fabric pattern and position it nicely but bad because it's still curly from the roll and it rolls up like a slater and runs away.

I definitely need a pattern notcher, I might actually bother doing it if I had one of those. Cutting little notches is _super_tedious.

I'm quite lazy, actually. Have been known to staple up a hem ;) Thanks for the tutorial!

Julie said...

Fabulous idea! I despise tissue pattern pieces floating around when the ceiling fan is on! Often use the technique with bag patterns.....! Gadgets are irresistible to me too!

Jodie said...

You are the gadget woman !!!
Love the idea of that card - I have some very sorry looking pattern pieces stuffed in folders -all crinkled up like old ladies bottoms.
Will be back to get some soon!

Gay McDonell said...

A great reminder - pattern weights are a great time saver - no pins! This lady sells lovely red pattern weights and other professional pressing tools:
On another note - does anyone know if you can buy belt making kits?

Liesl said...

I love the idea of transfering my patterns to card. I really like using pattern weights instead of pins, so cardboard pattern pieces would work heaps better.

I've never seen basting spray - where do you get that from??

méri said...

Good idea?
what is "basting spray"? can't understand...:))

Robin (RsIslandCrafts) said...

I transfer my patterns onto poster board. I pick it up pretty cheap at my local grocery store.

Storing the patterns can get messy...for me at least. I have one of those under the bed wrapping paper rubbermaid tub things. I put the little pieces in ziploc baggies inside the tub. Then I dig through it each time I want to make something :( I guess hanging the bigger things would be much easier for me...but if I started getting organized my poor hubby might have heart failure :)

Hana said...

I'd never heard of pattern card before. I was once told to trace the patterns onto interfacing, but that's just way too fiddly for me. I just might have to get me some of that there pattern card of yours! :)

Anonymous said...

Nikki, your tips are just too good! Time to start collecting them all together to go into a book, I think!

Millie said...

For small items I like to trace my pattern pieces onto old xrays. They are really quite hardy and are really light if you tend to cart lots of crap around like I do.

Heather - said...

Found you via the craft blog - this is awesome! Yep, I have never thought of doing this, but it is a great, great thing, made even greater through your tutorial. Thanks!@

Cris said...

Really great idea! said...

Oh this is straight up GENIUS! I LOVE your blog! I'll be linking to this!

Anonymous said...

I've traced onto interfacing (more durable for much used patterns) but I much prefer this idea.

Thanks for sharing!

Tammi said...

I've also never heard of pattern card before but I knew there was something designers were using that would have been easier than those thin paper. For small craft patterns I've been using nilla folders for harder pattern paper. I cut them in half and copy patterns via copier if can, onto the folders, then I would cut them and tape if pattern is bigger than just one piece of folder. Mostly every one carries folders, try it!!Good way of recycling.

SmithRiverBeadwork said...

What I have done is cut out the pattern and use spray adhesive (elmers) and just glue the pattern to posterboard. I can find these items at any craft store or even a department store. Easy, easy.

boofsmom said...

Love the idea of the pattern cardboard-but really LOVE the idea of using the see-thru plastic template. My mom used to make her patterns out of newspaper, which I have done too, but always worry about the ink rubbing off onto the fabric. Thanks so much for the how-to and the links!

Kaviare said...

omg yay! I took a pattern making class a couple of months ago and I still haven't finalised all my blocks because I couldn't find card that was the right size and thickness, and wouldn't break the bank.

I found the link to this from craftzine, and I thought 'oh, I wonder if I can find soemwhere like that in Australia... wait a second! That IS in Australia!'

I am so excited for payday now!


Geek+Nerd said...

Amazing tip! Thanks for sharing.

G Leigh said...

I was taught years ago to iron the tissue patterns to freezer paper - it wors well for re-enforcing them, but you still get the dreaded "curled up in a tube" effect witht he pieces. I will have to try some of your ideas. I have to admit that I keep all of mine in big ziploc baggies - I'm a bit of a stuff it in the bag kind of organizer. - ginger

Ginger said...

Wonderful have to post this so other can come here .Thank you so much awesome idea!
hugs ginger

Unknown said...

merci beaucoup pour tout ce que vous nous apprenez!!!
i will try!

Anonymous said...

Several years ago I studied with a master quilter. She taught me to use freezer paper for my pieces for quilting. If you hold the original pattern up to the window or a light box you can see the outline thru freezer paper and you can just trace it onto the freezer paper. It then irons onto fabric or even cardboard, where you then can cut your quilt piece or hard copy. I have also collected all the light weight cardboard pieces that are in all the magazines, you know the ones, wanting you to subscribe to their magazine. They work wonderful for small quilt patterns.
Ohio crafter...Judy

Anonymous said...

Great idea, I love it. I am rough on my patterns so this will definitely help them hold up.

Pish Posh said...

Another great medium to use is the clear plastic rug runner that is sold at Lowe's and Home Depot. It is the same stuff my grandmother used to have going up the stairs so the carpet wouldn't get stained and it works great!
It is thick, easily cut-able, and see through so you can see the fabric before you trace and cut out. It is also great bc it rolls up if needed.
I use it for a lot of my patterns, but use the freezer paper for all my clothing patterns since they sometimes take a lot of paper and come in so many different sizes.

I love the rack you have your patterns hanging on! :0)

Rachael Elswyk said...

Just wondering where I can get industrial Pattern Card now in Austraia (Victoria)?

Unknown said...

Could you laminate the pattern pieces to make them sturdier to trace around but still see the material's pattern underneath?

Unknown said...

I also use baking paper. To stop the paper curling... simply turn the paper over.
I also roll my patterns on old cardboard rolls & when I use the patterns again, I simply use pins required.
I only use cardboard for blocks & patterns which are used very frequently or cut from multiple layers.