How to read a sewing pattern. It's one of the things you need to be able to do if you plan to sew with a pattern. A pattern envelope is a selling tool and an educational device. The front generally has a photograph of the finished garment and several drawings or images of the variations that can be sewn. On the back, you'll find detailed information to help you select fabric and all the notions necessary to complete the project.
What’s on a Pattern Envelope?
On the front of a pattern, you’ll find:
- The name of the pattern company
- Pattern variations: photos or drawings of a model showing the different options that can be made.
- The Pattern number, this is the number you use to find your in the pattern drawer
- Sizes included in the pattern, always double check that you grab the correct envelope.
On the back, you’ll find:
- Sizing information
- Pattern descriptions
- Fabric requirements
- Fabric suggestions
- Finished Garment Measurements
You will need to take your measurements at the chest/bust, waist, and the largest area of the hip and compare to the measurements on the pattern envelope. If you fall between sizes go with the sizing for your largest measurement.
Sewing pattern sizes are not intended to correspond to your ready-to-wear clothing size. So be sure to check the size chart before you buy your pattern, just in case.
If you're unsure How to Take Accurate Body Measurements For Sewing be sure to follow the link and read up on it. Having accurate measurements is key to having a well fitting finished garment!
Fabrics recommendations for sewing the garment are listed to help you make your fabric selections. This area on the envelope will also tell you if certain fabrics are not suitable, such as stripes or one-way designs. The fabric you choose can affect the fit and drape of the final garment or project.
Patterns will include how much yardage you need, often in 45″ and 60″ bolt measurements. If you’re working with a print such as stripes or a fabric with nap, you’ll want to get a bit of extra fabric to match your pieces.
Locate the style view and the fabric width at the left; match it with your size at the top. The number where the two columns meet is the amount of fabric you need to buy.
Notions include thread, buttons, zippers and elastic. I try to buy my notions while I'm buying my fabric for two reasons.
- I want to be able to match buttons and such to my fabric
- Having everything I need means I can begin without having to make another trip out.
I hope that I've helped to demystify reading a pattern envelope. If you have any questions let me know in the comments section below.