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  1. #1
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    creating patterns

    Hi there

    I was just wondering if anyone has ever made a pattern from an existing garment. Logically my brain says that copying straight from the garment, adding in seam allowances and darts and stuff should work. But something is telling me that that would be way too easy an explanantion, and so obviously its harder than that.

    I mean, if it was that easy wouldn't everybody do it?

    Anyway, does anyone have some experience in that?

    Thanks for helping out a newbie.

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  3. #2
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    I've never actually done it, but have always wanted to - just haven't found a garment perfect enough yet.

    As far as I know, the way to do it is to take the garment apart - carefully rip out all the seams (including darts, hems, etc.) and iron each piece flat. Then you trace the pieces onto paper or whatever material you're using for your pattern. That way you already have seam allowances included. I'm guessing it's helpful to label each piece and each step first thing while you're dismantling the garment, so you know what everything is and how to re-do what you're undoing.

    I've heard of companies that will make a pattern for you out of an existing garment without taking it apart. That probably involves the tracing and adding seam allowances that you describe - but it sounds a lot more difficult to do well.

  4. #3
    ada
    ada is offline
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    I've done it with my favourite skirt - basically just tracing from the garment (without taking it apart) - it worked okay, but then it was a very simple pattern to begin with, just an a-line with a slightly unusual waist.

  5. #4
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    I haven't done it either. My sewing machine is on the blink? fritz? or anyway, it's not working! But I read that if you don't want to take the piece of clothing you're working with apart you can trace it and then estimate the seam allowance.

  6. #5
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    there was an article in Threads magazine a few years back about tracing out without ripping out. I think you can buy back issues on their website.

    Basically involved laying down the garment on a big piece of paper with padding underneath, and 'poking' pins down the seams, measuring darts out and adding seam allowances. With pants you have to do front & back and crotch as separate sections then piece them up. I've done it with a favorite pair of pants, it's a bit tricky and sometimes requires more than one 'try'. It's not terribly hard if you've sewn garments before because you understand how flat transforms into curved, but if you haven't sewn a lot it can seem scary.

    I now have pattern drafting software for my Mac so I just measure the 'ease' allowance on favorite clothes (widths of hem, thigh, etc.) and then plug it in over my premeasured 'sloper' based on my body.

    AnnS

  7. #6
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    thanks for all the tips guys.

    my mother-in-law was telling me that her mother-in-law was taught to do it with plastic because it moulds to the garment better than paper and is less likely to tear. So I've got some plastic and some cheap calico to run up a trial to check that the pattern works. I'll let you know how it goes.

  8. #7
    ti
    ti is offline
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    cool! be sure to show us some picts!

  9. #8
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    I've only made patterns from castaways that I've taken apart and tossed afterwards, 'cuz they were shoddy anyway! I'm interested to hear how this project goes for you!

  10. #9
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    I do it on a regular basis, and yes aside from the seam allowances, all you really have to do is make sure any darts or pleats or "extras" like that are accounted for and *put in the right place* when you remake the garment.

    As to why more people don't do it, because for fitted items or anything that has waistbands, gathers, pleats, darts, pants with flys, or almost any sort of sylistic element, it's just a big ol' pain in the bum! (lol)

    Good luck with it--and yes, please do post pics when done!

  11. #10
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    Hey there, sorry this has taken so long, but I borrowed the in-laws digital camera to take pics, then they had to take it back, and now all my pics are gone. Aaargh!

    Anyway, I'm afraid I didn't feel like redoing the whole process just to take pics, so I have a picture of the original skirt (a denim a-line with a slightly shaped waist), and a picture of my successful clone. I'm thinking I might use the pattern to make one out of that chinese embroidered satin.

    Sorry about the weird angle, I had to take them on the table.


    The original



    The clone

    All in all, quite proud of myself.
    : )


 

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