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To Save a Sewing Pattern – How to save a pattern before you destroy it

By February 12, 2016Sewing, Tutorials

Hello, Darling~!

Can I tell you a not-so-secret? I dislike cutting into sewing patterns… with a PASSION. I despise it, honestly. I have a pretty good reasons though!

  1. I sew the same thing for more than one person. All of the time.
  2. People fluctuate in size
  3. My Patterns are old
  4. I think pattern cutting is a waste of my sewing time.

Can I get an Amen for that last one? I get the majority of my sewing patterns from the thrift store. Because they’re older, they only come in one size and the chances are, they’re already cut.I think the only patterns I have from the thrift store that haven’t been cut are… The mens shirt, jacket and coat pattern that I got for my daddy. {I love you Daddy~!?}

This means that my patterns could be in pretty bad condition before I get to them. They may be crumbled, torn, stained, etc. So, they’re going to need some extra help. I also like to do this before my project, because, it is time consuming. I know that reading that made a lot of you wonder “Why even bother than?” Well, this process actually saves you time. If you do this now, you can just whip it out, quickly chalk around it, and put it back. Still don’t see what I mean? I’ll show you next time.

How I Save My Patterns

Please note, this is simply instruction for what I do; Me, personally. It’s not set in stone, and you don’t have to do it, hun. However, it will help you in the future, trust me! I’m going to use the pattern I showed you Monday for this instruction/tutorial. It’s a sixties styled jacket that came in ONE size.

Before we begin, let me just say that the pattern I’m using has already been cut. This tutorial however applies to patterns cut or uncut. I’ll explain what to do for uncut patterns in each step.


You Will Need ♠

  • A Cutting Mat (Very Important!!!)
  • large paper Roll or a large sheet of Cardstock
  • A Pencil
  • A Pen or Marker (optional)
  • A Straightedge or Ruler
  • Tape measure
  • Paper scissors
  • Paper or Pattern Weights

If your pattern is uncut you’ll also need:

  • A tracing wheel – The ridged one will do; you may not want to use the flat one. It might not work.

To Start


Grab the pattern pieces that you wish to copy and carefully unfold them. We’ll go at this one at a time, so take your time, love.


Once you have your pieces unfolded, place the first piece on your paper/card stock and hold it down with your paper weights [Not Shown]. Once you do that use your straight edge or ruler to start copying your pattern. If your pattern is uncut just use your tracing wheel to copy your pattern onto your paper. Push hard, but don’t damage the original pattern!


Be sure to get all the important details. The ‘Lengthen and Shorten’ lines, the grain instructions, etc.


Once you’re done, name each pattern piece. Now you have the option to bold the pattern with a pen or marker of a sort, but this isn’t necessary.

Then once you’ve finished marking, go ahead and cut that new pattern piece out. Cut it the same way you’d cut your fabric. If the pattern already has a seam allowance built in, you can cut it on the edge. If it doesn’t and you don’t mind not having built in seam allowances, cut it out exactly. This part is when you can control that.


Voilà~ You’re done, and your new pattern looks lovely, just as your old one did! Now you can go crazy with this copy instead of the original. And, if you made it out of card stock- even better! You’ll have a more durable pattern that can easily be traced around. I heard that many professionals do this {in card stock} with their slopers.

If you use this technique, let me know. And, if you need me to show{with pictures} how to do this with uncut patterns, let me know! I’d be happy to!

Until Next Time~!

My signature

A. White

Author A. White

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Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Elmo Donez says:

    Amazing. I am going to do this. I am just starting to sew and am startng to hate the pattern material.

  • Tai says:

    Great post! I hate to cut into my patterns as well. I always trace and preserve the original for future use. I am also between sizes so I can blend sizes when tracing. It’s great to be able to have all sizes intact for whenever you need it.

    • A. White says:

      Thank you, Tai!
      I really appreciate that! Indeed, I have to blend sizes all of the time.

      P.S. – I love you’re blog. I brag on it to others all the time! Please continue to grace us with your work!

  • Jenny says:

    I do this with all my patterns, I have a real issue with cutting out the actual pattern plus I don’t like the flimsy paper they tend to be made from.
    I mark what size I cut out so I can just get them out and make a new outfit super quick, and I can make personal adjustment to the pattern. X

    • A. White says:

      I completely agree with you, Jenny, dear.
      That paper scares me senseless- especially the vintage ones! I nearly pass out when a vintage pattern tears.Plus, most of my sewing is self-less, so I very much need those other sizes.

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