Questions About Making Apparel From Patterns

Posted by: 4evrplan

Questions About Making Apparel From Patterns - 04/01/16 11:57 AM

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?
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Questions About Making Apparel From Patterns - 04/01/16 01:25 PM

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.
Posted by: Pika

Re: Questions About Making Apparel From Patterns - 04/01/16 02:40 PM

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 😂.
Posted by: Dryer

Re: Questions About Making Apparel From Patterns - 04/01/16 02:43 PM

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.
Posted by: 4evrplan

Re: Questions About Making Apparel From Patterns - 04/01/16 05:00 PM

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.
Posted by: 4evrplan

Re: Questions About Making Apparel From Patterns - 04/01/16 05:05 PM

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.
Posted by: finallyME

Re: Questions About Making Apparel From Patterns - 04/12/16 04:29 PM

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.