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Sewing Pattern Paper

littleredbear | Posted in Pattern Discussion on

I have made sewing patterns out of a variety or types of paper over the years.  I have never been very satisfied with the results.  I am looking for something different.  Please let me know what you have used and how well it has worked.


  1. [email protected] | | #1

    I have only used one thing - artist's tracing paper. I don't know what brand it is, just got it at an art supply store. It is more durable than tissue and I can use it to trace PDFs. It's reasonably inexpensive as well. I think the roll I bought has 50 feet of length and maybe 24" wide. Other sizes are available.

    1. littleredbear | | #2

      Thank you!!!

    2. User avater
      bonnies | | #4

      I also use medical exam table paper. I have tried a lot of other things, even the Swedish type you can actually sew. Medical exam paper is the most like pattern paper, is somewhat stronger, works great for tissue fitting, you can see through it well for tracing, and isn't expensive. I also like to cut long 2" strips from it so I am ready for pattern alterations.

    3. dogancorie | | #36

      I recently started taking modeling and sewing lessons and my instructor asked me to use artist's tracing paper, and I am very satisfied with this paper.

  2. ihavenoname | | #3

    I purchased medical exam table paper and it holds up pretty well. I think I bought it on wish.

  3. markscott1 | | #5

    So here i would like to say you that Making your own stylish garments is enjoyable work, whether you are doing it for yourself with best singer sewing machine or for the fashion industry. Designs literally start on a drawing board and then follow a number of steps before it’s a wearable garment.Part of that process involves creating a pattern to follow.
    Measure. Draft. Cut. Stitch. Re-draw. Re-cut. And maybe even going back to the drawing board. It’s all in a day’s work when you’re designing and creating garments, bags, and other stitched textile items for your items or product lines, and perfecting the patterns you’ll use to make them.
    Sure, you can use regular printer paper, for which you’ll need tape. Or you could use brown paper grocery bags, which you’ll also need to cut and tape together. For small, one-off projects or for teaching someone about pattern making basics, these might be suitable options. But for serious designing and pattern making, you’ll need more than that.

  4. margame | | #6

    I have also make patterns from a variety of papers, and materials, but this month start using muslin and tracing paper. I found out muslin is more flexible when is time to cut the fabric.

  5. user-6935627 | | #7

    I use a product that used to be called Swedish Tracing Paper. I haven't seen it with that name in many, many years. It's a non-woven product similar to interfacing. It's very easy to use and I have patterns that are over 20 years old that I still use (basic tshirt, blouse, shorts, etc...) and it has held up beautifully. The last time I found something it was made by Pellon and it was with all the interfacings but it was for pattern making and tracing. I bought a whole bolt of it. I love, love, love this stuff.

    1. user-3048597 | | #19

      I also use this. It’s called Easy Pattern ans the number on it is 830. It’s part of their Crafts & Home Decor line, with the yellow label on it. I primarily use this to copy/trace the final version of my pattern after all adjustments are done. It folds easily to fit in a 9x12 envelope. For my “in progress” versions of a pattern, from first tracing until it’s finally done, I use artist/architectural tracing paper. I buy it locally from Blick’s but you can order it online also. Here’s a link to the color/weight that I use. I have a couple of different sized rolls so I can handle larger pattern pieces, or flip and copy it so it doesn’t have to be cut on the fold. Doing this makes pattern matching so much easier. I try to keep the 36” and 24” wide rolls of the white on hand at all times. https://www.dickblick.com/products/blick-studio-tracing-paper-rolls/

    2. user-7934675 | | #32

      I use this, too, and I have bought it with this name from a few retailers. I'm new at sewing and one pattern maker on CreativeBug (Made By Rae) said she said she preferred it.

    3. Sarah_Downunder | | #41

      I use this, too. In Australia we call it trace and toile. It looks and feels just like interfacing, can be sewn to test fit, and it lasts long term. Doesn't rip easily but cuts beautifully. Cannot recommend it more!

  6. user-7572565 | | #8

    I’ve used freezer wrap.

  7. Reen | | #9

    I have adding machine rolls that work well when I need to add to a pattern.

  8. User avater
    gayleortiz | | #10

    I love wedding aisle runner for patterns. It is a cross between fabric and paper, comes in huge rolls that are 36” wide and 100 feet long. It’s flexible, you can even stitch it together for a quick muslin. Buy it at a big box craft store or my favorite is Suresta Lace Church Aisle Runner on Amazon. You won’t be sorry. Once I learned about this I never use anything else!

    1. user-6935627 | | #11

      What a great idea! Thanks.

    2. user-7862644 | | #12

      I love this idea. Thank you gayleortiz.

    3. simonde | | #14

      I have been using medical exam paper, but wish it were wider. I love this idea! Wide AND long. Unfortunately it is no longer available at Amazon. I was able to find some on eBay. Thanks for the tip.

      1. User avater
        gayleortiz | | #16

        I just bought a roll last week on Amazon. Here's the title...100' French Suresta Lace Church Aisle Runner Wedding And Bridal Decor.
        Hope that helps!

        1. simonde | | #17

          When I went to Amazon yesterday it said "currently unavailable." Yet, there it is today! The magic of the Internet. Thanks.

  9. user-6998382 | | #13

    My friend who is a really great sewer goes and buys used old sheets from thrift stores and makes them into patterns. They work really well,and cheap enough to make a bunch of them. I was really surprised at how modern sheets, used or new,have some of the best "hand"for draping,and patterns and colors that you cannot tell they were sheets!I am not joking. It is amazing cause companies make so many beautiful sheets,and they out shine the fabrics you could buy. I had one sheet that draped around me like a dress, and I could see that"draping " it would work and no one would ever be able to tell it was a sheet and not beautiful fabric. And used sheets I found so beautiful, with bright painted floral patterns I cannot see how they ever got used for ONLY SHEETS. NO JOKE. AND USED but like new. Those sheet companies are so gung-ho at making beautiful and elegant feeling sheets that it's disgusting. hah hah. Of course you want to sleep in them, but Heck,they would look and feel so great as CLOTHES they may as well be making them for that. Plus,I am amazed at how people donate their elegant and beautiful sheets to thrift stores. Yes,you can use them for pattern paper too. Or you can just make sheets into lovely clothes. hah hah. What ever they are endlessly helpful to we sewers. ;-)

  10. User avater
    andysmom | | #15

    I buy woven plaid sheets from thrift and garage sales for muslins so I have nice straight horizontal and vertical lines. For the paper pattern, I buy rolls of medical paper from my doctor for $3.50 a roll and use paper tape to hold together. I keep rolls of painters tape around to hold down patterns, label which side is top or bottom on fabric and even notes on the piece if there is something special I need to do. On the paper patterns I always write the pattern number, size, person, date and on the front the person's measurements. I fold up and put in a ziplock with scraps of the fabric so if I get another order, I go straight to it. It has saved me a ton of time marking things down ahead of time right on the fabric using the painters tape.

    Also the Frixon pens are a must. Don't use on silk!

  11. User avater
    DonMcCunn | | #18

    I just came across this question. I use the dotted marking paper used by the industry. It comes in rolls that are the same widths as fabric. I use the 36" width. It is semi transparent and works well with pencil and eraser for corrections. It has dots every inch which is great for guides for drawing lines, especially right angles. While it is transparent it is much more stable than the paper in commercial patterns. I store my patterns in 6" by 9" envelopes and the patterns I drew in the 70s are still usable today. There are a list of suppliers at: http://deofsf.com/Resources/Patternmaking.html

  12. JohninKent | | #20

    I’m a freelance pattern maker and designer. For first drafts I use the industry standard paper we call alpha-numeric pattern paper (it has a grid of letters and numbers in light blue) or marker paper (it’s used to make markers, which are the long pieces of paper with all the pattern pieces drawn on it, laid over the stacks of fabric layers that will be cut). Marker paper is translucent, which is great for tracing, is stronger than other tracing papers or light weight papers, and is strong enough to erase and use Scotch tape to make alterations. This paper is available in 48” and 60” widths and can be ordered from specialty industrial sewing supplies companies. A reasonable substitute is computer plotting paper, that is white bond paper, easy to write and erase, less translucent. My favorite computer paper is parchment plotter paper, stronger, easy to write and erase, translucent and excellent for tracing, but a little more expensive and harder to find. For storage I fold the papers for into a stapled, labeled Manila file folder, then into a bankers box for shelf storage.

    For durable patterns, I use tag board, which is the same thing used for Manila file folders. You can buy rolls from paper companies or from industrial sewing supply companies. Tag comes in 48” and 60” rolls. For storage, we use a specialty hole puncher called a rabbit punch( it looks like a rabbit in profile) to put a 3/4” diam. hole in the pattern piece, then thread a pattern hook through the holes, and hang the hole bunch of patterns on a garment rack. Again, rabbit punches and pattern hooks can be bought at those same industrial companies and WAWAK. com.

  13. JohninKent | | #21

    Me again. If you don’t care about being able to trace patterns, then two more paper types are readily available. Brown craft paper is a good alternative for paper patterns, and you can get it anywhere and at various widths. Another surprisingly easy to use and purchase paper is flooring paper from any big box hardware store, you can get 500 ft for $46, or about a quarter per yard. Hope this helps!

  14. user-7891856 | | #22

    I purchased a roll of griddded paper from a school supplier…it’s fantastic.

  15. ln2 | | #23

    I go to my local newspaper publisher. They always have end rolls of unprinted paper with a couple of hundred feet on them for fifty cents per roll. Widths range from 25-45”. It’s harder to find publishers these days but they’re out there and the paper is nice. Seems what they use for B&W is thinner than what they use for color print or magazines, but both are sturdy enough for pattern drafting.

  16. user-252942 | | #24

    I get/buy a roll of paper from my Doctor - the same used to roll across the examining table in their office. It is transparent enough for tracing, sturdy enough to not tear in use, unlimited length, and a decent width.

  17. User avater
    AndrewCrowley | | #25

    You can also use plotter paper for hand-sketched patterns. Because it is more translucent than the brown craft paper, it's easier for tracing, while also being more durable than tissue or tracing paper. Many sewers will claim, hands down, that manila pattern paper is the best paper for making patterns

  18. catstexas | | #26

    I’ve used soil separator cloth, like this one from HomeDepot. I bought it directly from the manufacturer in a bog roll

  19. veras | | #27

    For tracing and making sewing patterns, I use Bee tracing paper in canary yellow. It stands out from the flurry of white that's on the tables, on the floor, etc. It's stronger than medical paper - try removing tape from medical paper and you'll understand - and it's still transparent. Comes in various widths. And white as well, for those who prefer to keep it simple. Great stuff.

  20. whoneedlesthis | | #28

    I have used lightweight interfacing, and a lightweight type nonwoven stuff from a gardeners supply shop, called row cover, you spread it on tender seedligs to protect them from an unexpected cold spell, my young students loved that because it clings to the fleece we were using to make their pullover hoodies! Now I am also using baking parchment to trace patterns for my porcelain dolls from a book called "The Dolls Dressmaker".

  21. ln2 | | #29

    I use rolls of unprinted newspaper I buy from a local publishing company. They are the ends of rolls that don’t have enough for a run for them. They print five or six local papers, so they often have different widths. Some paper is heavier than others but I find each has its own use. I save the heavyweight for the final patterns and use the lightweight for tracing. Best of all, a roll with maybe 30-50 yards is about $1.00!

  22. SuperiorLiz | | #30

    I have found ends of rolls of "Tyvek"; House Wrap Material used over sheathing and before siding is put onto a construction. It is great for tracing with a perforating wheel the patterns from Magazines such as Burda or Octobre, sturdy enough to pin or even stitch, and my roll which was 8' wide, is still going strong some years later. I did get my daughter to saw through to make the 8' into three narrower rolls. I also picked up a part roll of Tag Paper maybe 20 years ago; really good patterns that I use time and time again; Boxers for my son!, get cut from that! But the Tyvek is good because it is vaguely transparent; enough to be able to see where you are on the fabric if there is a pattern. And it takes a Sharpie Marker well. PLus I have old Graph Paper; double letter size; weird grids; but used plain side up it works well for small patterns; doll clothes and such. Mine was free; found it in my dad's junk. He probably had it when he was a student back in the per-historic era! Actually I think one can keep an open mind as to what will work for you; pricewise as well as availability.

  23. markscott1 | | #31

    I have a Bernina that I inherited from my mom but they are way too expensive. Walmart sells Brother which I have heard others on here recommend. Sears sells Kenmore which I personally know are an excellent machine.

    singer sewing reviews

  24. PointPatou | | #33

    To trace a pattern, I use Swedish Tracing Paper, which is translucent. Pellon makes a similar product, although I've never used it.

    To draft a pattern, I use industry pattern paper. Plain is fine. Even if I have the gridded kind, I usually use the back. It is sturdy but can be folded and unfolded easily. It also has some translucency.

    To create small patterns that will be used on slippery fabric, freezer paper is my preference.

    To preserve a pattern that's been tested and will be reused, I transfer it to oaktag, which is like manila folder paper, except heavier. It often has a green back which is helpful if the pattern needs to be flipped. It can be bought in large rolls.

  25. MrSewguru | | #34

    Stitch. Re-draw. Re-cut. And maybe even going back to the drawing board. It’s all in a day’s work when you’re designing and creating garments, bags, and other stitched textile items for your items or product lines, and perfecting the patterns you’ll use to make them.
    Sure, you can use regular printer paper, for which you’ll need tape. Or you could use brown paper grocery bags, which you’ll also need to cut and tape together. For small, one-off projects or for teaching someone about pattern making basics, these might be suitable options. But for serious designing and pattern making, you’ll need more than that.

  26. sharon627 | | #35

    I read an article saying to use aisle runner. I purchased a 100ft roll and it’s brilliant. Easy to mark, cut and sew. On line it’s reasonably priced (£19GBP). It folds or rolls very easy for storing. This is now my go to pattern pieces and construction .

  27. [email protected] | | #37

    Swedish tracing paper. It is thin enough to see through. Doesn’t rip and works perfectly. G er t it s as t quilt store

  28. [email protected] | | #38

    Swedish tracing paper. It is thin enough to see through. Doesn’t rip and works perfectly. Get it at your quilt store

  29. dianalorenssss | | #39

    For over a year, I've relied on https://www.trustmypaper.com/ , and I couldn't be happier with the quality and consistency of the essays they've written for me. The authors are well-versed in their fields, and the support staff is always ready to provide a hand. I've told all my friends about this service, and I'd suggest it to anybody seeking for a good essay writing service.

  30. Nancy_Clegg | | #40

    tracing paper made in Sweden. It is transparent because it is thin in nature. does not tear and functions flawlessly. Buy it at your local quilt shop.I've used them for more than an entire year, and I'm beyond pleased with the calibre and reliability of the articles they've created for me. I've recommended this service to all of my friends and would recommend it to anybody looking for a reliable essay-writing service. https://www.leather-outwears.com/

  31. User avater
    bettystitch | | #42

    Swedish Pattern Tracing paper is currently available from WAWAK a sewing supply house. You will be amazed at the variety of high quality sewing supplies they sell. http://www.WAWAK.com

  32. leethemediator | | #43

    From Amazon, I get Burda's pattern paper. It is very similar to the transparent, thin papers used by Simplicity, Butterick, etc. for their patterns, only in white. Folds up easily, compactly, and wrinkles can be ironed out.

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