How to Read a Sewing Pattern
Sewing patterns can be a bit terrifying if you’ve never used one before. Hopefully this post will take you to a new level of comfort when you decide to try your hand at sewing.
These come in various shapes and sizes, the same can be said about the delivery method.
Most patterns come in an envelope, others digitally, or a magazine/book with an insert to be removed.
Don’t Judge by First Impression
When I first began to sew I would always choose patterns that looked appealing. Basically, it boils down to me liking the fabric on the model or illustration. Let me tell you, it’s a mistake. I missed out on a lot of good patterns thinking this way. Trust me, I still go after those eye-catching patterns but now look at the style lines, details, and potential of the design. You have to see past what is and consider what it could be. The line drawings on the back of most enveloped patterns are very important and you should use these to help you choose a pattern.
I usually consider what I look good in (this is debatable), the shape of my body and what I feel comfortable in.
Note: Every sewing pattern shows the skill level/difficulty level on the back. Use this to help you choose patterns that will develop your sewing confidence.
What’s Your Cup of Joe?
This is your perfect starting point. Figuring out what you really like and what you want to sew. If you are not sure what looks good on you, take a trip to your favorite shop for buying clothes (Hint:- Take a friend with). Try on a few different pieces of clothing you like. Ask your friend for recommendations and their opinion on what they think looks good on you.
Now that you know what you want to tackle, take small steps toward sewing your favorite garment by choosing a simple pattern similar to that style. This will give you room to grow in your sewing adventure. Perfection comes with practice and having a solid foundation is key.
Body Measurement Chart (BMC)
One of the most important pieces of information you’ll need to take a look at and understand is BMC. The BMC shows you the sizing of the pattern in the envelope or magazine; you match these against your own measurement to choose the size that works best for your body measurement.
Finished Measurement Chart (FMC)
This chart shows you how much ease is in your garment after it’s sewn up. Without ease your garment will feel like you’re in a Catsuit (not a lot, if any, room for movement and/or bending over).
How to measure your body when choosing a pattern?
Remember everyone isn’t built the same. When sewing blouses or dresses we use the bust measurement. Take the measurement of your bust and high-bust (located more above your bust, measuring around your armpit and chest area) If you compare the both measurements and there is two or more inches of difference, then use the high-bust measurement. You can now compare this to the measurement chart of your pattern for choosing your pattern size. If you are larger than a B-Cup, go ahead and use your high-bust measurement for your pattern size selection.
When sewing bottoms we use the waist and hip measurement to determine the pattern size. First, you’ll need to take your waist measurement (not necessarily where you wear your skirt, but the smallest part of your body). Then take your hip measurement, which is the widest part of your body. Usually it’s seven to nine inches below your waist. Once you are armed with these measurements, take them to the fabric store to choose your pattern and purchase your fabric.