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best way to keep pattern "nice&q…

Lee_K. | Posted in Patterns on


I have a pattern that I plan to make a few times. What is the best suggestion for keeping it so that I can use it again? Copying it onto muslin or paper or…? It is a vintage pattern, so the tissue is a bit fragile.

thank you



  1. Leslie_Kern | | #1

    I like to trace patterns onto heavier paper. Muslin has a tendency to stretch, especially on the bias, and it's harder to get a clean edge to cut against. For me, paper is more accurate.

    I use a good quality pin-wheel to trace the outline and markings to the paper, then use straight-edge and pencil to "true" the pin-dot lines.

    If you are concerned about the original pattern tissue, you may prefer to use carbon paper and a non-perforating tracing wheel.

    1. sanderson | | #2

      *I bought a roll of "flimsy" at the local university art supply store. It's translucent, like tracing paper and 48 " wide. I try to do doubles of all the pieces that would be cut double so that when I'm making something that I want to have the print flow across two or more pieces I can better see how things line up. On vintage fabrics it is often necessary to cut single thicknesses to avoid distressed areas. I've learned to mark grain lines in another color and label lefts and rights carefully. For now I use zip-lock bags to hold patterns though I'm sure the pros out there could suggest a filing system that would better preserve a particularly fragile pattern.

      1. Lee_K. | | #3

        *thanks all!

        1. Sarah_in_NY | | #4

          *Old thread, I know but:for actual vintage pattern pieces my method is: trace original pattern onto white heavy tissue or vellum, use this copy for alterations etc; then make a final copy in blue. a little compulsive I know, but helps me keep track of what pieces to use.I've also used a trick I learned somewhere (forget where), which is to fuse light fusible interfacing to a pattern that is very fragile -- obviously you don't want to do this to something archival or that you plan to sell, but it does make handling some of the very fragile pieces easier.As for filing patterns, the best method I have worked out is to use comic book storage materials. I buy the "silver age" bags and the "modern" boards, the bags are larger than the boards to allow room for thick patterns (spend a little more on the better quality supplies). I put the envelope in front of the board and the pieces and instructions behind, thus separating the highly acidic contents from the nice paper envelope. I then just store them all in the boxes they make specially for comics. Oversized patterns (Vogue and some specialty patterns) won't fit, I should probably get a set of magazine-sized supplies but haven't done it yet. This system works so nicely I put all my patterns up this way, vintage and modern. Flipping through them to find one is soooo easy now!Sarah

          1. karen_morris_ | | #5

            *sarah, i'm impressed! you make me feel like a slob (or, rather, like someone who doesn't plan ahead...), but i often copy patterns onto freezer paper, for no other reason than that it's sturdy, fairly wide, and i can pick it up at the grocery store. for wider pieces, i tape two lengths of paper together.my other favorite material is "monster" paper. i think this was developed in sweden? it feels papery but it's like tyvec, nearly indestructible. this is great for patterns you plan to use over and over. you can also sew this stuff together and try it on! so it functions as a "muslin". you can buy it on rolls at the Sewing Place and other sewing suppliers.

          2. Sarah_in_NY | | #6

            *Karen --I've got to try out that monster paper!! That sounds really neat -- it sounds like it might work better than muslin since the stretch in muslin can be a pain sometimes. Don't feel bad, I think freezer paper sounds great. If I'm just going to use a pattern once but I need to copy it for alterations (which is, like, ALWAYS) I'll use almost anything. I have a pattern sitting right here in fact, in a lovely two-tone pink stripe tissue that came free with my last bra ^_^. Victoria's Secret always wraps everything in a ton of paper and I hate to waste anything!!Sarah::sewing world withdrawal getting unbearable::

          3. Sarah_in_NY | | #7

            *Just FYI to anyone that finds this thread -- almost everyone calls the monster paper "Swedish Tracing Paper" -- do a websearch on that and you'll find plenty of places that carry it.Now to get some and try it -- see, you really CAN learn something new every day.Sarah

          4. karen_morris_ | | #8

            *sarah, thanks for helping me out with the name. i thought it was swedish! it's good stuff. let me know how you like it. it's more $$ than paper, but is worth it if you will use the pattern a lot.

          5. Sherm | | #9

            *Very lightweight, non-fusible pellon is wonderful for tracing favorite patterns

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