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How to Make a Sewing Pattern

Have you ever thought about making a sewing pattern from clothing? With this tutorial, you can!

Updated June 27, 2018

Sewists don’t need a lot to succeed. With the right supplies, fabric, and patterns, they are able to create show-stopping pieces that are pretty and functional at the same time. Learning how to make your own clothes can save so much money! But in order to make your own clothes, you need a pattern! While there are free sewing patterns scattered across the web (hello, AllFreeSewing.com!), they might not always fit you just right.

This is why learning how to make a pattern is an invaluable skill. If you learn how to make your own pattern, you can learn how to make your own clothes and you can make them fit like a glove! It is surprisingly easy to learn how to make a pattern. Keep reading to learn the necessary steps to take to learn how to make your own sewing patterns from one of our favorite bloggers, Remona Gopaul from The Stitching Scientist! You will be a pattern-making expert in no time when you follow along with Make Your Own Clothes: How to Make a Pattern.
 

Making Your Own Patterns: Intro

If you have tried shopping for patterns recently, you know how expensive they can sometimes be. Today, I am going to show you how to draft your own pattern for a versatile top/shirt. For this tutorial, you can use an existing loose-fitted top with sleeves to create your own pattern. Making sewing patterns from clothes means it's even quicker to create and will fit better.

To create your pattern, you need white craft paper. When buying your paper, ensure that is heavier than your standard notebook writing sheet. Having somewhat of a heavy paper makes everything easier to manage when you are tracing and cutting. I like using the same rolls of art paper I buy for my kids’ art projects. Sometimes, I even use poster paper if I plan on saving my patterns for future use.

Pattern Drafting Supplies: What You Need

When it comes to clothes pattern making, you will need to collect a few things before getting started:

  • Large sheet of craft/art paper
  • Different color sharpies
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler
  • Scissors

How to Make a Pattern: Step-by-Step Tutorial

Click on any image to enlarge.

  1. Take your large piece of construction paper (I used 20"x 40") and fold in half. Lay your shirt on top of the folder paper as shown below. Fold the sleeve toward the center of the shirt and trace all the way around. Mark a line where your neckline starts on the front of the shirt.

  2. Draw an arc from your front neckline to the top of the shoulder.

  3. Add seam allowance to the pattern by tracing all around your pattern from step 2 about 1/2" from your original lines. You do not need to trace on the center fold for seam allowance.

  4. Since your paper is folded you do not need to trace a separate pattern for your front and back bodice. Cut along the back bodice line as indicated below for the back. Once you finish cutting all the way around, you will have two pieces; the one on the bottom is for the back bodice and the one on the top is for the front bodice. Cut along the blue line on your top piece and you will have your completed front bodice.

  5. For the sleeves, you will be doing the same thing as you did for the bodice pieces. Place your sleeve on the folded paper ensuring that the top edges of the sleeve line up with the folded edge of the paper. Mark off the desired length. Trace the inner part of the sleeve toward the underarm.

  6. Fold the sleeve toward the center of the shirt and trace from the inner arm to the top.

  7. Here is the fun part of creating your sleeves!

    1. Trace about 1/2" all the way around your trace from above for your seam allowance. Do not add seam allowance to the fold.
    2. Place a dot about 1" from the center of the sleeve as shown below.
    3. Draw a long s-shape from the underarm to the top of the sleeve.
    4. Trace about 1/2" from your line created the step above for seam allowance.

  8. Cut around your green long s-shape toward the underarm and then follow through all the around on the green line.

  9. You now have pieces for your front, back, and sleeves.

  10. You are done! Here is a shirt I made using the pattern created in this tutorial.


Find more of Remona's tutorials and free sewing patterns on her blog, The Stitching Scientist, and on her designer profile here on AllFreeSewing.com.

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