Making a pattern – the paper rub-off method

IMG_1064I recently tried out a patternmaking method as outlined in the book : Patternmaking for a perfect fit by Steffani Linecum. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t have any formal education or qualifications in sewing, what I know I’ve taught myself, picked up along the way and learnt from books and blogs. And as much as I wish it wasn’t true, I’ve made PLENTY of mistakes too. IMG_1074So I really appreciate it when I find a good book that gently guides someone like me through a new sewing adventure. Whilst this book really takes the more experienced seamstress to the next level of sewing – patternmaking – it speaks in simple terms in a language easy to understand.

IMG_1048The book walks you through two patternmaking methods; the paper rub-off and the fabric rub-off. I’ve started with the paper rub-off because it’s the natural ‘first step’ in making patterns for your own garments. Essentially, you start with an existing garment as your base, make a pattern from it, and use that pattern to create your own, personalized items.IMG_1035For the paper rub-off method, you’ll need a foam or cardboard board (I used a length of cardboard packing), anything that allows you to stick pins through its surface. You’ll also need some kraft paper (I keep a roll of brown painter’s paper in my sewing room for messy projects and that was perfect for this also).

You simply tape the brown paper to the cardboard, making sure the surface area is large enough to accommodate your existing garment. Next, lay out your garment (in my case, Tegenn’s leggings) on the kraft paper and pin around your seams, smoothing out creases as you go.IMG_1033The pins create dots on the kraft paper, and once you’re done, you can remove the pins and garment and you have a perfect outline of your pattern piece in dot-to-dots. Simply join up the dots with a pencil or marker, and you have your pattern outline.IMG_1044You need a bit of experience in understanding how pattern pieces are put together, and certainly a good understanding of how to sew the pieces together, but by studying the garment itself, you can learn a lot. I actually find it an interesting exercise – it’s fascinating how a flat, one dimensional fabric is cut, sewn and joined together to create something with shape and body.IMG_1053The book also helpfully outlines the differences between different fabrics, talks you through taking your measurements and shares some welcome ‘sewing essentials’ – tips and hints that may not be completely obvious to those of us without formal training.IMG_1056Before you know it, you’ll have created a pattern that can be used over and over again, one that can be personalized and adapted in so many ways to create unique clothes and other items. IMG_1058Let’s just say that this book will have any enthusiastic seamstress running to their machine and re-creating and re-designing their own clothes. Next time I’m determined to try something a little more challenging than leggings, but these will do for now!






One thought on “Making a pattern – the paper rub-off method

  1. Well there you have it you were making a pattern I should of thought about that one! Lucky girl to have a sewing Mom! I use to have one when I was a wee thing how I wish I could of told her how much I appreciate the fact that she took the time to sew all three of us girls outfits.

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