Essential Pattern Making Tools


From the suggestion of my friend Eva, I have decided to "go back to school" for pattern making. Fortunately for us, the San Diego Community College District has a great Continuing Education program that includes a fashion curriculum - you can learn all sorts of stuff including Sewing Like a Professional, Contemporary Tailoring, Pattern Making, etc. It's AWESOME and I wish I had known about this program sooner. Best part, Continuing Education courses are free--it's such a wonderful opportunity that encourages community members to be lifelong learners.

I am taking a pattern making class is led by Susan Suarez, a San Diego-based pattern maker with over two decades of experience. In the next several months, we will be covering the fundamentals of Pattern Making with STRETCH (knit) fabrics. Interestingly, I have worked as an industry pattern maker for stretch garments, but I had no prior formal training with pattern making for knits (I learned on the job, for better or worse). Needless to say, I'm super excited. We're going to draft a legging pattern as our last project. Who doesn't want a pair of custom drafted leggings?

Okay, now, back to the title of this post - Essential Pattern Making Tools. I'm going to assume that you, reader, have some experience with sewing and maybe even pattern making, so I'm going to run through these tools real quick without too much explanation. That said, here we go!

[The following contains affiliate links that help support this website at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links are marked with an *.]

1. Pencils. Think of pattern making as precision drawing (every measurement matters). You will want a sharp pencil with a precise point to create clean, fine lines. Any pencil will do, but I recommend hard led (H) and/or a mechanic pencil to maintain a sharp point.

Click image to see product on Amazon
2. Eraser. Mistakes happen. You might create a style line and change your mind. I recommend the white Staedtler Mars Plastic Erasers*.

Click image to see product on Amazon

3. Scotch Magic Tape*. Pattern making requires cutting, slashing & spreading, and taping pieces together. I recommend matte tape that you can write upon.

Click image to see product on Amazon

4. 18" Clear Grid Ruler*. I love my See-Thru ruler. I have like 3. You will need this for any straight line, and it's sooooo good for squaring your lines, adding seam allowance, etc. You seriously need this in your life.

Click image to see product on Amazon

5. Paper Scissors. DO NOT use your fabric scissors to cut your pattern paper. Any scissors will do, but these orange handled Fiskars Scissors* are a classic.

Click image to see product on Amazon

6. Marking Pens. In industry, pattern pieces are color-designated based on what kind of material will be cut from that pattern piece. "Self" fabric is indicated in black ink, "Lining" fabric is indicated in blue, "Contrast" fabric is marked in green or purple, and "Interfacing" is red. Fashion Incubator, a great resource for fashion design entrepreneurs, has a great article about this written here.

7. Tape Measure*. If you sew, you gotta have some measuring tape to measure those circumference measurements like waist, hip, etc.

Click image to see product on Amazon

8. Pattern Making Paper*. Pattern paper can actually be any kind of paper large enough to trace around your block pattern. (Read about block patterns here). You will use pattern paper to create new patterns based on your block pattern. Back in the day, I purchased a huge pad of paper from Staples, but any lightweight paper will do. If you want to get fancy, you can get dot paper that is used in industry.

Click image to see product on Amazon

9. Pattern Paper (Manila or Oak Tag). Once you have a block pattern (your foundation pattern that you base all new designs upon), you will want to transfer this pattern to a stiffer paper. This will help preserve your block pattern and will make it easy to trace around.

 10. Curves - Hip Curve* and French Curve. These tools will help you get nice curves for hip lines, style lines, armholes, etc.

Click image to see product on Amazon

(NOTE: The following Tools are not necessary for pattern making, but they are very useful!

11. Pattern Notcher*. When you have patterns made from Manila Paper (above), you'll want to have a quick way of notching your patterns. Notches in industry patterns are little snips in manila patterns that indicate where seams and other important land marks occur.

Click image to see product on Amazon

12. Needle Point Tracing Wheel*. The needle-like spokes help transfer pattern information from your block pattern to your pattern paper.

Click image to see product on Amazon

13. Awl*. An awl creates holes in your pattern/block. You may need holes to mark dart points and other landmarks on your pattern.

Click image to see product on Amazon

14. Pattern Weights*. A pattern weight holds down your pattern pieces when you are tracing or cutting. You can buy one or make your own (metal washers are a quick and easy DIY).
Click image to see product on Amazon

15. Pattern Hooks*. It's really nice to hang your Manila patterns so they stay nice and straight.
Click image to see product on Amazon

16. Pattern Making Rabbit Punch*. These create holes in your Manila patterns for your pattern hooks.

Click image to see product on Amazon

And that's it from me. These are the fundamental pattern making tools I have used in the classroom and the pattern room in the fashion industry.

Do you have anything to add? What are your favorite tools for making your patterns?

---------

For more reading....

To learn about my DIY Wedding Dress, please click here.

To read more about Janelle of Dear Daydream Sewing & Design, please click here.

If you are new to sewing, consider a sewing class with Janelle, or read blog posts related to learning to sew.

---------


To follow and support Dear Daydream Sewing & Design...

Visit me on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest.


Visit one of my Affiliates



Comments

Popular Posts