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How to Pretest Pattern Changes with "Minipats"

The sleeve is blown up 400% for easy visibility.

You want to lengthen a short sleeve into a long sleeve, but you're afraid you'll miss the desired length. Or, you want to alter a section of the pattern, or would like to try a design detail, but the prospect of drawing, cutting, and tracing the pattern pieces seems daunting and time-consuming. Here's how I make exploring the possibilities easy.

Usually on first page of the instructions sheet, you'll find little pattern pieces known as "minipats." Enlarge them by 200% to 400% on your printer or copier, and work out your alterations or design ideas on a much smaller scale. This enables you to test-drive your pattern change with the least effort and without risk.

 
These minipats are scaled to each other.

Making a short sleeve longer. Is one of the easiest alterations to make.

 
Enlarge the pattern 400% for easy visibility.


Draw the underarms to the desired length. Don't forget the turn-of-the-cloth adjustment at the new hem's outside edges.

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Comments (25)

Ivette1950 Ivette1950 writes: Wonderful idea I will try it for the doll clothes I make for my nieces Thanks again!!!!!
Posted: 9:24 pm on October 7th

user-1110045 user-1110045 writes: Are mini pats in a standard ratio to the original pattern? Just asking because I can make all the changes I want but it's useless if I want to scale up the ideas. Should I measure the mini pattern piece and work out the ration with the original sized pattern piece? Then it would be simple maths to upscale?
Posted: 5:04 am on August 26th

sewingape sewingape writes: hello i am new here ... i have been using this trick for nout on 20 years now to make doll clothing for almost any size doll
i mostly work with barbie , gijoe and other dolls like these that are 1/6th scale and also i do 18 inch dolls too its a great way to make doll clothing that matches your child's clothes so mom or dad can have an outfit , their son or doughter can have an outfit and barbie or gijoe to..everyone can wear the same outfit together ..its cool
Posted: 4:29 pm on August 12th

MeSewPretty MeSewPretty writes: Takes me back... I used my older sister's dress pattern's minipats to make my tiny Dawn doll clothes when I was just a kidlet.
Posted: 1:04 pm on July 29th

bethdishong bethdishong writes: I have always needed to modify my patterns because of my build. I am short and heavy but, not heavy all over so this always proved to be a challenge when making something new for me. I always cut and changed the pattern pieces but never thought about the minipats. Never new what they were called either. This will make it so much better to be able to do it this way. Thanks so much for all your ideas.
Beth
Posted: 10:50 am on July 29th

Mariesainte Mariesainte writes: Great idea. I often alter tops to accommodate my large hips. Is there a reason that cutting the bust dart to enlarge the hips is better than just re-drawing the line from armscye to hip?
Posted: 11:07 am on July 28th

tadpole tadpole writes: 'Tis brillig! I wanted to make a test for a kimono - notoriously fabric intensive - but didn't know how. Thank you, Louise! Have I told lately that you're a genius?
Posted: 9:33 am on July 28th

tadpole tadpole writes: 'Tis brillig! I wanted to make a test for a kimono - notoriously fabric intensive - but didn't know how. Thank you, Louise! Have I told lately that you're a genius?
Posted: 9:33 am on July 28th

LOUISE CUTTING LOUISE CUTTING writes: Jumping in here...'minipats' are scaled to each other (or at least Cutting Line Design 'minipats' are. But, as far as scaled for x% and all 'minipats'...generally it is alloted to the space avaliable on the instruction sheet. some are quite small and others are a decent size.

A lady e-mailed me that she was able to make her daughter's American Girl Doll a Jeans Jacket using the 'minipats' from 'By Popular Demand' from my pattern line, she enlarged just the front a little at a time until the little pattern front was close in scale to clothes she already had for the doll. Then enlarged all the other 'minipats' the same %.

Louise
Posted: 12:52 pm on July 26th

ebbyjake ebbyjake writes: Terrific idea! Are the "minipats" on pattern instruction sheets produced at a standard scale so that consistently enlarging x% will get a pattern that fits the half-scale mannequins many of us use?
Posted: 11:14 am on July 26th

Carly_Sue Carly_Sue writes: Nifty idea...I will be trying this. thanks, Louise...I use your ideas and advice quite often.
Posted: 4:42 am on July 26th

user-312247 user-312247 writes: Will try this. What a clever idea!!
Posted: 8:26 pm on July 24th

SJKurtz SJKurtz writes: I first tried this with the infamous Vogue 7464 hat pattern, scaling the pieces up by 3X. Since then, I do it all the time. It really helps figure out where things are going and how they can be resized. This is now my preferred way of making up new patterns for myself; there's always scrap paper lying around, and using lined notebook paper gives me a grainline/stripe tool to work with as well.
Posted: 4:09 pm on July 24th

jlchriswi jlchriswi writes: This is much like using 1/4 scales in design school. I love using 1/4 scales! You can experiment with ideas without using a cumbersome, full-sized pattern. This is a great variation on the concept - I'll have to try it!

Posted: 11:31 am on July 24th

Kyla Kyla writes: That is great ideal, thank you.
Posted: 10:51 am on July 24th

Mahogany_Stylist Mahogany_Stylist writes: Great post. Often when I'm considering a pattern, I look at the guide sheet to determine how I'd make my FBA and to see the of the pattern pieces. Using the diagram to pretest in minature version is a great way to further access changes.
Posted: 9:23 am on July 24th

psfws1963 psfws1963 writes: I think this looks kind of familiar, I took a dress drafting class three months ago. We made patterns for 18" dolls. Before making clothes for our selves. This methed is probably better than the schools methed . I think you have something good ! Posted: 4:49 am 7/24
Posted: 5:49 am on July 24th

Kayle9 Kayle9 writes: When I was a kid, my mother used this technique to make doll clothing to match the outfits she made for us girls.
Posted: 8:28 pm on July 23rd

SharonBall SharonBall writes: I'm always learning something new from Threads. This is a great tip & I'm sure will prove very helpful.

Posted: 7:54 pm on July 23rd

tkdla tkdla writes: Brilliant!
Posted: 5:54 pm on July 23rd

Maydge Maydge writes: I look forward to Louises' contributions to Threads. Her experience and creativity is a great asset to sewists, both newbies and experts. Thank you!
Posted: 5:28 pm on July 23rd

user-2655477 user-2655477 writes: I'm "new" back to sewing after 40 + years and any and all tips are greatly appreciated!!! Thanks for sharing.......!
Posted: 5:16 pm on July 23rd

cloff cloff writes: What a good idea! I'm going to try it. :)
Posted: 5:15 pm on July 23rd

Soucieville Soucieville writes: What a neat idea. I have altered some patterns by tracing the paper pattern piece onto "Remay" type material. A spun bonded fibre which is see through, light and hard to tear. Much more supple than paper. This way I don't have to change the paper pattern piece at all. I don't do this with ALL patterns, but if I have to alter a pattern, the spun bonded material works great. I also use this material when I copy Kwik-Sew patterns. Neat idea.
Posted: 5:12 pm on July 23rd

LuvThreadsMagazine LuvThreadsMagazine writes: Louise Cutting is sewing royalty!

There, someone finally said it.
Posted: 4:56 pm on July 23rd

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