uncommonly good sewing project tips – let’s start with #1

March 6, 2014


I’ve had a few tips up my sleeve for some time now and since this is mostly a DIY blog, I figured I should start sharing a few already.

Let me just say that it’s totally okay if you don’t know how to sew at all. I always feel that posts like these make people that may be new to the subject, but may possess a true interest, to feel like any tip mentioned will automatically go over their heads.

Relax – it won’t!

The best way to learn about sewing (and most things) is to jump right in. I personally started collecting a few patterns and picking up some sewing-related tools long before I actually learned how to sew. Like, before I got the courage to un-box my machine from the previous five Christmases before that. If you have any interest in sewing and fabrics, these tips should prove quite useful to you going forward. If anything, you’ll be much more knowledgable than I was when you decide to really start on your own.

So without further ado, my first helpful sewing project tip is to use a roll of butter paper for tracing commercial sewing patterns.

tracingpaper2Tracing a commercial pattern with a 18″ x 50 yd sketch paper roll

 “Butter paper?” You ask.
I know. Consider this insider tip stolen straight from inside the studio walls of architecture school. No tuition fees required.

You. Are. Welcome.

tracingpaper3Pieces of Cynthia Rowley baby pattern, version B.

Before you start getting hungry, let’s first talk a sec about commercial patterns. These are envelops that are packed with pattern pieces (of various size) that are printed on thin sheets along with a set of instructions for sewing garments, home furnishings, and accessories. The finished look of the item and its variations are printed in color on the front of the envelop for your reference.

There are patterns you can buy from most local box-store craft retailers that include, but are not limited to, Simplicity, Vogue, McCalls, Burda, Butterick, etc. There are also indie patterns that are usually found at select specialty fabric and sewing shops in your area and/or online that are ship-ready or available in PDF (Colette Patterns, By Hand London, Megan Nielsen, Deer and Doe, etc.) Most of my current pattern collection is made up of the former since they are easier to get my hands on at such a deep discount (usually between 99 cents to $4). However, the indie pattern folks that I mention above are really great about having helpful sew-alongs on their popular patterns, and it’s pretty da