Sew, What's New?

Curating sewing and quilting talent, techniques, and tutorials, since 1997.

By Ivan A Cuxeva

When it comes to sewing, reading patterns can be somewhat intimidating, the first thing we must know is that there are several pattern types and each may have its own design variations or what many people refer to as "views". Beginners may start with basic patterns which show traces which are easy to follow, these starter patterns don't often require people to get too technical as far as measurements, fabrics and designs.

When buying a pattern its is important to pay attention to the front and the back of the pattern envelope. The front may show you the end product or how the pattern would look if you followed all the instructions, there are of course some variations and customizations you can do in order to end up with an original piece, that of course depends of the project you are taking, it could be home decor or clothes.

The back of the envelope shows you important summaries and descriptions which must be read if you want to know what you are getting, sometimes people buy these projects because the picture of the finished product is quite beautiful however the traces within the pattern itself may be hard to decipher. That's why beginners may feel they are trying to understand a foreign language. Another critical part you must pay attention to is the design and the type of fabrics this project require, this will give you an idea of the amount of fabric you must buy.

When buying the fabric you must pay attention to its designs and determine if it has nap, this last concept is met if your fabric has a one way design, fuzzy texture and even or uneven plaid, for instance lets say that you get fabric which has dancing penguins printed in one direction, if you don't buy enough fabric you may end up cutting and sewing parts which don't fit with the rest of the design, for example some penguins will be facing right and others left.

If you will be working with fuzzy texture it is also important to buy more fabric, this is the type of material that when it is brushed in one direction it's smooth but when brushed in an opposite direction it feels rough. When you feel this resistance you can see that the color of the material has turned darker and the color is uneven.

When you open the envelope you will find a set of instructions which must be followed, if you don't understand a certain term you can also use the glossary which most of them have. This is always the first step, do not rush and try to take on the project if you haven't read the instructions, this never bears good results. You will also find the pattern pieces which can be kept for future projects if you buy a piece of pattern tracing material, many people find this useful since they don't want to end up buying the same pattern over and over. You will find that some patterns have been traced on soft paper and others on harder materials, the hard material usually has printed the master pattern which should be laid out on the fabrics as shown on the diagrams included.

It is important that you organize your space and keep all the instructions right in front of you, that way you will follow them without having pieces of pager lying under fabrics and other materials. Remember that you will be dealing with needles and other sharp objects so keeping everything in order will help you avoid any accidents.

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