Part 2 in this series: The pattern.

Of course the pattern is one of the most important parts of your project. When you are new to sewing you probably don’t know what to look for when selecting a pattern. Pattern companies try to make it easy for beginners these days. Look for the words ‘easy’, ‘start’, ‘beginner’, ‘learn to sew’, etc. on the pattern package. When searching in pattern books there is usually a section dedicated to beginners with easier-to-make patterns.

After you have selected your pattern the secret to, Making Your Project Look Store Bought, is:

   1. Understand the pattern. I read the pattern a couple of times. I curl up on the couch with the pattern like I was going to read a good book. The pattern companies have put a lot effort in writing the pattern directions, so read every part of the instructions to gain a clear understanding of the project. Even if it is not a beginner pattern they include some very basic information that beginners should read.

    2. Cut out your pattern. I suggest that you cut along the cutting lines of the pattern on the tissue paper. This makes it easier to see where to place your pattern pieces on the fabric and make any adjustments that are needed. After you do this a couple of times you can cut around the patterns as you cut the fabric.

    3. Adjust your pattern. Following the instructions on the pattern will make this task easier. There are several different ways to make adjustments. I say don’t take short cuts. This process takes time but it makes the difference in your finished project.

   4. Laying out pattern on fabric. Here is the part that really counts. Remember the part about reading the pattern? There is a section in the directions that will tell you all kinds of important information about laying out your pattern – such as; placing patterns on the fold, placing patterns on the straight of grain, and measuring equal distance from grain line to the salvage or fold. (If you don’t get your pattern on the straight of grain your item will not hang right when finished.) Your pattern is designed to help you get it right. Take your time and ask for help if you don’t understand. There are a number of sources (sites) on the Internet where you can get answers or you can call your nearest fabric store and they will be glad to help.

   5. Cutting. Double check every placement before you cut. This will save a lot of heartache. Check to see if you have the fold piece on the fold. I always pin across the fold to remind me not to cut. Always cut the notches – don’t cut them off, as they are there to help you to get your fabric aligned when sewing you project together.

   6. Marking the fabric. You will need both dark and light chalk pencils to mark your pattern – then mark, mark, mark everywhere the pattern says to mark. This helps with fabric placement as you sew to get all pieces to match up.

    7. Place your pattern pieces in a zip lock bag to take good care of them – as you may have to refer back to the pattern piece later. If you like this pattern you can use it again. You can change it a little or do a different view.

Along with following these very basic steps – gleaning all that your pattern has to offer will, ‘Make Your Project Look Store Bought’. Remember to be patient.

Happy sewing,  JoLene!