A Bag’s Life Part 2: The Pattern

In a previous post I detailed the hunt for a simple project pattern at the fabric store. Now it’s time to look at how to use the sewing pattern, first by reading and interpreting it.

When you open a new pattern, it will have two things in it: instructions, and the pattern printed on drafting paper.

Before you start trying to cut out the pattern, let’s first look at the instructions.

Learning how to use a sewing pattern to make a craft is important for beginners learning to sew - Sew Me Your Stuff

It is very important to closely read all of the sewing instructions that accompany a pattern, not just the step-by-step. They will typically define unfamiliar terms, specify the width of the seam allowance, and tell you important tips that might be omitted from the step-by-step instructions. Notice under “Layout & Cutting” in the picture (click the image to enlarge) the pattern illustrates how to lay out the pattern pieces on your fabric to trace. This pattern is pretty simple, but that is really helpful for more complex projects or projects where you have to consider the grainline.

After you have studied the instructions, it’s time to look at the pattern pieces.

Learning how to use a sewing pattern to make a craft is important for beginners learning to sew - Sew Me Your Stuff

This bag can be produced in a small, medium, or large size, so the pattern has three different lines outlining the body of the bag that you can trace depending on the size of the bag that you want. The second piece of the pattern, the pocket, comes in only one size.

If you have a pattern that gives you multiple sizing options, be extra careful when cutting to be sure that you are being consistent. Many clothing patterns are printed in 6 or 8 sizes at once, so it takes some focus to make sure that you don’t mix up the lines and start cutting out the wrong size. However, once you get more advanced you may want to intentionally blend sizes to fit your body or tastes better – until then just stick to one size at a time!

I’ve decided that I only want a small bag, so it’s time for me to start cutting.

Learning how to use a sewing pattern to make a craft is important for beginners learning to sew - Sew Me Your Stuff

Notice that my scissors are cutting along the “small” dotted line. Alternatively, I could have cut along one of the bigger lines and simply maneuvered to trace the “small” line, but I decided to keep it simple.

And here are my cut out pieces!

Learning how to use a sewing pattern to make a craft is important for beginners learning to sew - Sew Me Your Stuff

In the next post, I’ll show how these two pieces of paper turn into a cute tote bag!

Learni.st – Learn how to sew starting from step one
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Etsy – Shop Sew Me Your Stuff

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