Tuesday, 20 August 2019

How to read a pattern and how to hand sew for beginners

Do you know how to read a pattern?


I am using a doll's pattern for an 18" doll as I would like you to know that children can sew too! Making a small garment such as this is easy to accomplish and is finished quickly but feel free to sew anything you like



In this post we are going to take a look at what is inside the pattern envelope,and because not everybody will have access to a sewing machine I am going to show you how to do some hand sewing.
Preparation can be frustrating because we just want to get going and sew!  I understand that, I feel the same way sometimes but if you want good results it is important to get the basics right.








Have you ever looked inside a pattern envalope before?  Do you know how to read a pattern and how to prepare it for sewing?
Let's take a look and get started.





Patterns come in different sizes, and the way to choose your size is to take your measurements,  chest, waist, hip and so on, and compare them to the measurements on the back of the envalope. This is where a lot of people come unstuck because they assume that if they wear a size 10 dress from a shop, their pattern size will also be a size 10, but if they took their actual measurements they would find that their pattern size was actually a 12 or even a 14! That's a really good tip for you when you come to use a pattern to make a garment for yourself, take your measurements and cut out the size nearest to them.
Now, back to Annie. I measured her length and she is 18". The pattern fits an 18"doll so in this instance that is all we need to know for now.



Inside the pattern envalope you will find a sheet (or maybe more) of tissue paper with all the various pattern pieces printed on it.
You will also find a leaflet with all the instructions for making the garment on it. It is a good idea to take a look at the leaflet now and familiarise yourself with it. It may not make much sense at first but it will do when we come to use it. One useful part of both the pattern envalope and the instruction leaflet is that it tells you how much fabric you need.




Open up your tissue paper and taking some OLD scissors carefully start cutting out the pattern pieces.  If there is a little triangle on the pattern piece cut around it, you will need it to match pieces up correctly later.
You must keep your scissors used for cutting fabric just for fabric,  nothing else. So keep them in your sewing box and never let anybody else use them! Using them on paper for example will blunt them.


Once you have cut your pattern pieces out, I suggest cutting them all out now, put them flat inside a folder for later 
We need to learn how to sew our garments together. Hand sewing is needed even when you are using a sewing machine, so please do practise these basic stitches 


First of all you need to know how wide your seam needs to be. If you look on the instruction leaflet it tells you that your seams need to be 1/4"wide. Adult and children's garments usually have 5/8" seams, but this can vary so do check each time you sew.



Take your tailors chalk out of your sewing box and with a ruler or tape measure (there is one in your sewing box) measure 1/4"along the edge you need to sew and draw a line across. Do measure carefully or the garment will not fit!


Pin your two pieces of fabric together along the top edge. The first stitch we are going to learn is a running stitch. All these stitches are demonstrated on the video below, so do not worry! Find thread to match your fabric as closely as possible and thread your needle. Put a knot in the end and bring the needle up through the fabric from the back. Pull the thread through and put the needle back into the fabric pointing down. Continue sewing up and down evenly until you get to the end of the stitching line.
What is running stitch used for?  It is usually a temporary stitch called a Tacking or Basting stitch used when you want to try the garment on before sewing the permanent stitches in place, or it can be used for gathering.



If you intend to hand sew Annie clothes then you will need to use a back stitch. Start off the same way as before but when you have placed the first stitch take your needle back into the hole created buy the previous stitch and bring your needle out a little bit further on. Continue sewing backwards and forwards neatly. This is an acceptable alternative to machine sewing





A more advanced stitch is an invisible hem stitch, the video below shows how to do it,  but please do not worry if you cannot do it because there are plenty of alternatives to finishing hems. keep practising your stitches making them as neat as possible. If you are struggling then you can buy Binka or cross stitch fabric which has even holes meant for embroidery but is also perfect for practising sewing small neat stitches on.




 For next time you will need your sewing box, available worldwide from Jaycotts.co.uk SPECIAL SEWING BOX this has been specially put together for beginners. If you cannot have one yet then you need Tailors chalk, pins, fabric scissors, needles and a tape measure.

These poppers are new in sice this post was written and I love them.They can replace the metal poppers in all the posts in this blog  Prymm colour snaps  The come in individual colour packs too They are so very easy to use and come in amazing colours and different shapes




For  machines and prices  take a look at Jaycotts  fabulous web site and contact them directly CONTACT FORM for help in choosing the right machine to suit your needs


Happy sewing  Angela x

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