If you’ve always wanted to know how to make a pattern from your favorite clothes you just can’t get enough of, this is a great place to start. I’ll be showing you how to make a pattern of a flowing tank top, however, the same techniques can be applied to any clothes you have!
- A tank top you want to make a pattern of.
- Interfacing (or another cheap white basic material that’s easy to write on)
- Tape Measure
- Gather the supplies above.
- Cut the pattern making fabric the general length of the tank top.
- Turn the tank top inside out and fold so that the seams down the sides of the shirt are now together. Instead of looking at the tank top as a whole, we’re looking at it in pieces. By turning it inside out, I can see that the tank top is made up of 5 pieces plus the strap (because of the seams). The same goes for any other item of clothing you’re working with.
- Pin the chest area first.
- Trace around this area you pinned (don’t worry about seam allowances for now).
- For seams that are beneath the shirt and you can’t trace around, just flip the shirt over so that you can see the seam underneath, and trace around that.
- Do the same for the other seam.
- Now you have the chest area traced out.
- Make notes on the pattern piece for referance. Some good notes to make are how many of that piece to cut, if you are to cut on a fold (which in this case we are because the piece is folded in half), where the seams are going to be, and if seam allowances are included on the pattern.
- Next pin the area beneath the chest area in the same way.
- Trace around this area as well.
- Now pin the upper back of the tank top.
- Trace and make notes as well.
- Now completely flatten the lower back piece and pin.
- Trace around this and make notes.
- Do the same with the front lower piece.
- For the strap piece, measure the length of it with a tape measure.
- Measure all the way to the fold of the back. My straps are about 22″ long (when cut on the fold – so 44″ total). Keep in mind that your length will need to be doubled (cut on fold) because you measured it to a folded part of the shirt.
- Measure the general width of the strap. It is about ¼” wide and I’m going to need to fold in each side once, and then once together so I need to multiply ¼” by 4, which will give me 1″ wide.
- Draw a rectangle on the pattern making material that is about 22″ long by 1″ wide. Be sure to also mark on one shorter end to cut on the fold.
- Cut out all of your pieces.
- Go over the notes you made on the pattern pieces with a marker to make sure they don’t rub off.
- Do this with all of the pieces.
- Get out a notebook and write down the instructions on how to put the piece together.
- A lot of this is just how you think it would logically be put together, but you can also take cues from the tank top itself. As you can see in the picture to the left, it is clear that the front pieces and the back pieces were sewn together, and then the front and the back were sewn because that seam goes over all the other seams.
- Now you have all your steps. You could also draw, or take pictures of each step for easier understanding.
- Fold up and stuff all the pieces and the instructions into a standard (or a pattern) envelope.
- On the front of the envelope I like to write the name I’ve given the item, the category it belongs to (ex. Shirts >> Tank Tops) and I like to draw a small thumbnail of what the item looks like (or you could take a picture).
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