12/31 | How to Read a Sewing Pattern

So you want to make your first project from a sewing pattern? That’s awesome! Let me share with you a few things about how to read a sewing pattern. I know that opening up all those big, thin pages can be intimidating and even scary. The first time I attempted to make a piece of clothing from a sewing pattern, I literally opened it up, and crumpled all the pages, and threw them away because I was so overwhelmed. I want to help you avoid that and have success sewing with a pattern. On that note, here is a post full of Free Sewing Patterns you may want to sew after reading this post.

The first thing you need to know is that the envelope is important.  The back contains information on measurements, fabric and tool recommendations, and occasionally skill level and estimated sewing time.

Inside the envelope, you’ll find two types of paper. The thinner paper is the pattern and the thicker paper is the instructions.

On the instructions, there will be a sketch of the final product you are sewing along with several sections of directions.

The key is usually the first part that I look at before getting started. This has some important information about the sketches that if ignored, could really mess up the project.

The pattern will most likely use a range of sewing terms. Lucky for you we have a whole post on Sewing Terms and a Free Download for you to use!

I highly recommend reading over all the instructions before you even start cutting. This way you have a general idea of what you will be doing and will have an inclination of things going wrong earlier on which is a huge time saver. One of the sections shows all the pieces of the pattern that you’ll be dealing with. This is a great reference guide especially when there are lots of small pieces. Another section will show the proper layout for cutting out the pattern pieces. This is super helpful so pay good attention to that part.

IMPORTANT! When sewing with a clothing pattern be sure to cut on the correct grade so that the final product is the right size and fits at the end!