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Tracing patterns-why, how, when, with what

March 4, 2010

Some of you wonder why to trace a pattern onto fabric, rather than simply cutting the correct size pattern out, pin it to the fabric, and cut! When you have a basic pattern, that you might use over and over, and for several different sized members of the family, you will want to trace the pattern. Similarly, if you plan to use the pattern for a long time, you may want to trace it rather than cut it, because we tend to change shape over years.  Although we might assume that a pattern will always be available, it isn’t so. I have one particular pajama pattern that I like to use with students. In the past year and a half, it has changed pattern numbers twice, and often is not available. And pajamas are definitely something that you can use the same pattern for a variety of people in a family. (they also make wonderful gifts).

I trace patterns and have my students do so because we re-use the same pattern for many different sized people, and have from time to time, gotten more than 20 uses out of a single pattern. It’s also not unusual for me to trace my patterns to muslin, and get many years out of them. When doing that, you have to be sure to transfer ALL information.

Now that we’ve discussed why to trace patterns, we will go on to when……. But we’ll do that, tomorrow.

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