Backcountry Forum

Make Your Own Gear
Backpacking Forums
backcountry gear

---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store

Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen


Avalanche Gear
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters


Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel

the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags


Sleeping Bags


Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial






Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear


Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel


Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva


Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment

 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Stay Healthy--Eat Well


Mary Janes Farm Organic Backcountry Meals


Natural High


Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#194688 - 04/01/16 11:57 AM Questions About Making Apparel From Patterns
4evrplan Offline

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 693
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
I don't have any specific plans, so this post is more for future reference...

I've never made anything from a pattern (except a few pieces of my WIP backpack), but I'm wondering, do clothing patterns come with instructions on how to resize them, or do you buy a specific size pattern?

The idea of making a light and inexpensive wind shirt/rain jacket appeals to me, perhaps using Membrane. When you make up your mind to start a clothing project like this, what steps do you use to find a pattern you're happy with? Or is it better to reverse engineer an existing piece you like the fit of?

#194690 - 04/01/16 01:25 PM Re: Questions About Making Apparel From Patterns [Re: 4evrplan]
OregonMouse Online   content

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6459
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Normally you buy a specific size pattern. Please note that pattern sizes have little or no relation to retail clothing sizes! Always buy patterns by your body measurements.

I strongly recommend first making up the pattern in cheap fabric (utlity muslin or thrift store sheets), make sure it fits, and alter your pattern accordingly. Very few of us are standard size in all respects. It's a lot easier to alter a pattern before you cut it out in your expensive fabric!

Most patterns come with instructions, but some are better than others.

There are a few patterns that are multi-size, showing which line to cut on for which size. For those, it's even more important to do a trial fitting in cheap fabric first.

If you haven't sewn before, consider taking a basic class, if you can find one.

Edited by OregonMouse (04/01/16 01:27 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#194692 - 04/01/16 02:40 PM Re: Questions About Making Apparel From Patterns [Re: 4evrplan]
Pika Online   content

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1748
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Some pattern suppliers have outlines for a range of sizes on the patterns you purchase. For example, the Green Pepper/Rainshed parka pattern can be used for every size from small to XL. This particular pattern is designed for a liner but can easily be made without. By modifying this pattern and using light fabric, I have made a pullover hooded wind shirt that weighs 2.7 oz.

I endorse OM's recommendation that you take a sewing course if possible. Sadly, I leaned how to sew by trial and error. I'm pretty good at sewing now but it would have saved me a lot of money were I to have learned to sew BEFORE I took scissors to pricey fabric. Doing a trial run with cheap stuff is also a good idea; I think I'll give it a try for my next project 😂.
May I walk in beauty.

#194693 - 04/01/16 02:43 PM Re: Questions About Making Apparel From Patterns [Re: 4evrplan]
Dryer Offline

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3577
Loc: Texas
Most clothing patterns come with sizing options. You'll see lines to cut for different a "range" of large, medium, small. Patterns are fairly true to size based on your measurements.
Where things get tricky the first few times of sewing patterns are things like collars, back yolks, button fronts...anything requiring interfacing and two fabric layers. You'll be cutting out shapes that make no sense until the final assembly. Make sure you understand "wrong side" and "right side" of your fabric.
Sippers are fun, as are button holes.
When you are done, you'll wonder why shirts cost $30 and not $500, with all the labor that goes into them. grin

The more you do, the faster you'll get. I've sewn hundreds of theatrical costumes and after a while, you don't bother reading pattern instructions....everything just falls into place.
Hint....get a rotary cutter and big mat, and straight edge.
paul, texas KD5IVP

#194697 - 04/01/16 05:00 PM Re: Questions About Making Apparel From Patterns [Re: 4evrplan]
4evrplan Offline

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 693
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Thanks everyone!

Those Rainshed patterns look pretty complex. I was thinking something more minimalist like, for example, a Helium II or a Hypershell look-alike, though I'd be conflicted on whether or not to add pockets. It's nice to have a place to rest and warm your hands.

Something tells me I wouldn't be happy with it without some R&D, which I currently do not have time for, so this idea will go on the shelf for now.

#194698 - 04/01/16 05:05 PM Re: Questions About Making Apparel From Patterns [Re: 4evrplan]
4evrplan Offline

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 693
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
And this this would be the perfect fabric for it. Not breathable, but that's my choice. I don't sweat much, so the fully waterproof fabric would probably work better for me overall.

#194889 - 04/12/16 04:29 PM Re: Questions About Making Apparel From Patterns [Re: 4evrplan]
finallyME Offline

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
The clothing patterns you buy at a sewing shop or walmart, generally cover a range. After you open the pattern up, you cut the lines that correspond to the size you want. You don't necessarily need to take a sewing class, but it will definitely help. You could just buy the cheaper patterns and practice with them. The common pattern brand at Walmart has decent instructions for beginners, and are really designed for beginners, so not too complicated. I think the brand is called Simplicity.
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.


Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Bristlecone sleeping bag
by Dohrmc1946
05:02 PM
CNOC Vecto 2L Water Bag
by Bill Kennedy
04/17/18 12:00 AM
Sawyer and Platypus Threads Not the Same
by Bill Kennedy
04/11/18 09:19 PM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
Salomon vs. Danner...what am i giving up?
by willie1280
04/06/18 08:44 AM
Does anyone carry a side arm in wolf country?
by toddfw2003
03/27/18 09:21 PM
Where's all the puff?!
by willie1280
03/26/18 07:40 AM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Ripstop - NOT!
by Bill Kennedy
04/24/18 09:46 PM
Need Suggestions for Pack
by Bill Kennedy
04/15/18 01:44 AM
Tyvek or polycryo DIY tarps- worth it?
by clueless
06/26/16 03:13 PM
Featured Photos
Breakneck Ridge, New York
May 2012 Eclipse, Lassen Park
New Years Eve 2011
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
1 registered (), 37 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
Dohrmc1946, Axel999, hungodd94, trailmix, Rosscoe T
12558 Registered Users
Forum Links
Site Links
Family Hiking
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Outdoor Gear Daily Deals
Outlets, Sales, Bargains

Our long-time Sponsor, - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker &