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Conversational Threads

Making a pattern from existing article.

Karen2 | Posted in Patterns on

There have not been any referencing comments to making a pattern from an exiting garment as featured in the latest issue of Threads, to my disappointment. The article in Threads was very timely for me. I have a very favorite blouse that I was able to “tape” and thus create a pattern. The blouse is a camp shirt and made by L.L. Bean with collar, yoke, etc. After spending some time taping I was able to generate a pattern. The outcome was just excellent and the dimensions on the newly sewn garment are very close to the original blouse that I had taped. The effort was truly worth my time.


  1. carolfresia | | #1


    Glad to hear you successfully used that technique! I think it's pretty ingenious, esp. if (like me) you're a klutz about tracing off patterns the traditional way. I've been told that this approach is also excellent for making patterns for slipcovers or upholstery.


  2. kamsila | | #2

    Dear Karen

    I am Kamsila from South Africa,brand new to this forum.I have read about Threads magazine on the internet but unfortunately can't get hold of it at any bookstores here.I DESPERATELY wanted to read the article on copying a ready-made garment using masking tape.Would it be possible for you (or any other kind reader) to scan and email it to me-I would be ever so appreciative.

                     kind regards -kamsila

    1. Karen2 | | #3

      Hi Kami,I read your post a few days ago and have been trying to find an efficient way for you to find that magazine. I think your best bet is to deal with "The Threads" magazine itself. You may want to subscribe for a year. The postage would probably be high, though. Here are some simple instructions for taping an existing article of clothing. Other readers feel free to jump in or, if possible, scan the article and send it to Kami. The tape you will need is scotchgard blue and you will need a roll of one inch and a roll of two inch. You will also need duct tape. Start out by securing the piece you will be taping so that it is taut to a flat surface. Take the one inch tape and tape with care the perimeter of that piece. Then use the two inch tape and tape the shortest width of the piece taping with overlaps. The overlaps will be half the width of the tape. After the taping is complete for this piece of the garment use the duct tape and tape at right angles to the blue taping. You will only need a few strips of the duct tape- the purpose of this tape is to give a little more body to the blue tape. Carefully remove the taped piece and carefully place this piece on to tracing (or equivalent)paper. Check measurement and make adjustments if necessary. Make allowances for darts, etc. The width of a cloth measuring tape if five eighths of an inch. Use this to mark a five eighths seam allowance around the taped piece. This is the best I can do for you now. Karen

      1. kamsila | | #4

        Hi karen

         Thanx for taking the trouble to try and explain the technique to me-however I must confess it sounds confusing. Another Forum member,Donna Brandt .is trying to email the article to me.Unfortunately,my "hotmail" inbox didn't have the capacity to receive

        the email-I've since activated my new email address :    [email protected]    and am eagerly awaiting the article from Donna

                                   With fond regards



        1. sueb | | #5

          I hope that whoever is copying and emailing the mentioned article got permission from Threads to that first since making a copy is a violation of the copyright laws.  Wouldn't it just be easier to purchase a single issue direct from threads in order to get the article you need? 

          1. punky | | #6

            Dear Sue,

            Thank you for mentioning the copyrights to the story. If everyone copied and sent Threads articles to their friends, there would be no need to subscribe to this terrific magazine. And, if there is no need to subscribe, the Taunton Press might pull the plug on the magazine and cease publishing.



          2. sueb | | #7

            To be honest, I hesitated before posting because I didn't want to sound like a stick in the mud but I admit I am a bit of a stickler when it comes to the copyright violation thing.  It bothers me that people think that if I do it "just this once" or "just for my friend" that it's ok.   I appreciate your postive response to the message I posted!

  3. mlc207 | | #8

    I was so glad to see your post!  I was considering using that same technique to copy a favorite pair of pants. I will definitely give it a go now!!  I was concerned about the fit of the finished garment - if it would be the same as the original. How did you  do the part about adding notches for ease in construction? How did  you decide where to put them?  Thanks so much!!  Elsie



    1. Karen2 | | #9

      Hi Elsie, I would reread The Threads article before you begin. The blouses I have made (two so far) are pretty simple in design. I added a little more to the back pattern piece to accommodate the two pleats on either side of center back. Did this by just cutting the pattern and separating in the pleat area. The only real ease I had was in fitting the sleeve into the blouse body and that even turned out to be pretty easy. I marked on the sleeve cap where the front and back yokes joined their respective front and back pieces. Also marked the center of the sleeve cap. I was amazed how easy it all went together. The blouse is a very tailored style. The sleeves appear to have just the right amount of ease. It was amazing! The collar was marked and sewn in a similar way. The important thing I think is to keep measuring the pieces as you tape. Make sure the dimensions on the garmet are the same as the pattern you are creating. Karen

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