Month: February 2018

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

Learning how to read a sewing pattern envelope is the first step in sewing a garment. Learn these tips for success!

Learn to read a pattern envelope|Chambraybluesblog|Chambrayblues.com
Learning to read the pattern envelope is important for sewing success.

 

My first experience with sewing involved picking out patterns and proper fabric at our local fabric store when I was 7 years old. The woman who ran the small store was very experienced and she could answer any questions that you might have and steer you on the right path. Today, things are are very different. So many people are learning to sew for the very first time and have no one to ask for help. Even the employees in the fabric store (if you can find one!) don’t always know how to answer your questions.

Learn to read the pattern envelope before you choose your pattern and you will feel much more comfortable with the process. This post will help you know how difficult the pattern is, what fabric and notions to buy, what size pattern you need and give you an idea of what the garment will cost to make.

Reading a Sewing Pattern Envelope

1) Choose your style in the pattern style book. Pull out the desired pattern from the storage drawer in the store and view the back of the envelope. Not sure how to do this? Watch this FB Live video.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2016768785029847&id=1912224668817593&_rdr

How to read a sewing pattern envelope|Chambraybluesblog|Chambrayblues.com
Most sewing patterns have the body measurements listed on the envelope flap.

2) Find the envelope flap. Most patterns have the body measurements listed here for each size. Compare your body measurements to find the size that is closest to your measurements. Ready to wear sizes are not the same as pattern sizes, so don’t buy a pattern based on your ready to wear size. It won’t work!

How to Read a Pattern Envelope|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
Back of McCalls 7100 pattern

The Pattern Size Chart

3) Look at the description of the garment on the top of the rectangular chart on the envelope. This description tells you how many pattern pieces are included in this particular style. Easy patterns have fewer pieces, you can sew an entire dress with as little as 4 or 5 pattern pieces. More advanced patterns such as coats have lots of pieces, some coats have as many as 28! Different pattern companies have the sewing level clearly marked in the description as beginner, intermediate, advanced etc. Make note of what notions are required. Do you have the skill to sew them? Items like buttons and zippers require more skill to sew. If you are a beginner sewer, you may want to look for a pattern with draw string or elastic closures instead until you have more experience.

4) Recommended fabrics are included on the envelope for each style. Restrict your fabric purchases to only these fabric choices for that style. This is important for beginning sewers who often get misled when purchasing fabric for the first time. Woven fabrics and knits for example, require very different construction methods so they are not interchangeable. If you want your garment to turn out, you must choose the proper fabric for that style.

How to read a pattern envelope|ChambrayBluesBlog|www.chambrayblues.com
Some pattern envelopes have a knit fabric stretch chart.

5) Knit styles sometimes have stretch measurements on the back of the pattern envelope. Place your fabric on the fold over the black rectangle marking on the top of the envelope. Stretch the fabric across the chart to see if it will work for that style.

5) Choose which style view you want to make from the front of the envelope. You may want to circle view A, B, C on the envelope so it’s easy to remember.

6) Look at the “size” column, calculate how much fabric you will need by reading down the chart. Fabric comes in widths of 45″ (cottons or specialty fabrics generally) or 60″ (knits, wool, lace, rayon, fleece, crepe, satin). You will need to purchase extra fabric if you plan to make alterations. I routinely purchase 1/4-1/2 yard extra fabric for each style to be sure I have enough yardage. When I forget to do this, I usually end up having to run back to the store and sometimes the fabric isn’t there any more, or it won’t be off the same bolt which can be a slightly different color. Be sure to buy enough fabric for your project all at once, you can always make something else from the scraps!

The Yardage Chart

7) Extra fabric will be required for matching one way prints or fabrics that have a nap. Buy at least 1 extra yard per style to match plaids. In the photo above, separate yardages are given for fabrics with nap. Fabrics with nap include corduroy or velvet, use these yardages if you are sewing with those items.

8) Don’t forget to purchase interfacing, and lining if your pattern requires it. These are listed separately, below the other fabric and notion requirements. Also, be sure you have a selection of fresh sharp sewing machine needles at home in case one breaks while you are sewing! (Hint, buy needles that are designed for the type of fabric you choose. Different fabrics such as knits, satin or denim require special sewing machine needles.)

What if I make a mistake buying my Pattern?

What happens if you do your best to read the pattern envelope and make a mistake in your purchase? If you get home and realize you purchased the wrong type of fabric for your pattern, most stores will return it. The fabric must be uncut and unwashed. You must have your receipt, including the cutting slip to get proper credit. Sewing patterns can be returned only if they are unopened. Usually, I keep patterns and fabric if I decide not to use them right away. I prefer to have a stash of things in my closet for reference even if I haven’t sewn them. You will quickly become a collector if you aren’t already!

I like to keep track of what I spend on each garment for my own enjoyment. My custom designs are akin to designer brands, they are good quality and custom made to fit me perfectly. Do not compare your custom sewn clothing to things you would buy at a discount or department store, those garments are poor quality and not custom made.

Every time you make a new project you learn something else. Think of this sewing journey as one that will be on going. The time to start is now!

 

Don’t forget to Pin this post!

Check out some of these other tutorials:

Sew Along 2018, the Year of the Blues!

How to Shorten Pattern Sleeves

What You Should Know About the Cricut Maker

How to Measure for Pattern Alterations

 

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What You Should Know About the Cricut Maker

What You Should Know About the Cricut Maker

This new Cricut Maker machine is a great add-on to your sewing room. There are lots of great features that you will love! Here’s what you need to know before making a purchase. This post is sponsored by Cricut. I was compensated in some way for writing this post. Any opinions given are completely my own.

What you need to know about the Cricut Maker|Chambray Blues Blog|Chambrayblues.com
Cricut Maker, design your projects on your Ipad!

The Maker Pros and the Cons

I have been looking at machines for a long time, comparing different features and contemplating what I would use them for in my creative business. Each model Cricut machine does so many different things that I had a hard time choosing between them. It was hard to know which options would be best for me and exactly how I would use them without first trying out the machine.

One of the best features in my opinion, is the ability to design with Cricut on my Ipad. There are a couple of Cricut Machines that do this but I still wasn’t sure how often I would use them. It seemed like most reviews I read for the machine were used for cutting Heat Transfer Vinyl (or HTV as it’s known), cutting paper or cutting plastic for making stencils. Since I haven’t used a lot of those materials in my creative business, it just didn’t seem like the right fit for me.

Recently, I stumbled across an online video from one of my blogger friends of the Cricut Maker cutting entire sewing pattern pieces. This was a total game changer for me, and I knew that I would use the Cricut Maker tool a lot in this manner! I couldn’t wait to get one and start making projects! Excitingly, the folks at Cricut chose me for their Maker campaign. Thank you Cricut!

 

What you need to know about the Cricut Maker|ChambrayBluesBlog|chambrayblues.com
The Cricut Maker has a storage compartment for all your supplies.

 

Cricut is Easy to Use

Being new to this type of equipment, I was pleased to find out how easy the machine is to use. It only has 2 cords to plug-in and takes minutes to set up. The blades and supplies can all be stored right with the machine, another huge plus since I am organizationally challenged.

Especially helpful is the color coordination of the pieces. I can tell by the color which pieces go together and exactly what they cut. Everything comes labeled and is easy to read. This makes set up so easy!

Cricut Maker Review|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
Cutting mats for each type of material.

The cutting mats come in different colors as well. There are different mats for each type of media such as printer paper (Lightgrip), cardstock (Standard grip), or fabric and leather (Heavy grip). The mats have an adhesive that keeps your materials in place while the blade is cutting for the most accurate precision. It’s easy to remove the material after cutting. Cricut also supplies handy tools for precisely lifting your cut design off the mat. They have thought of everything!

What you need to know about the Cricut Maker|ChambrayBlues|chambrayblues.com
Sewing tools and supplies for using the Cricut Maker.

 

Cricut also has basic sewing tools to accompany your Maker Machine. These are great for beginning sewers and it has all the basics: fabric scissors, tape measure, leather thimble, pin cushion, pins, seam ripper, thread clippers. They also have a variety of marking pens.  I love that they all match and look lovely!

Cricut is for Sewing

There are a lot of things you can make with this machine, but the most exciting is that Cricut has a partnership with Simplicity patterns. There are a number of Simplicity patterns that you can download from Cricut’s Design Space right to your Cricut Maker and cut. Imagine!

Are you excited? Me too! Here are a few examples of what’s available:

1. Doll clothes

2. Childrens clothes

3. Hats

4. Bow ties

5. Headbands

Obiviously, there are some limitations since the cutting area is only so large, and the fabric size is limited to the size of the cutting mat. But it is amazing how this technology is possible! There are also quilt block patterns available!

Some of the fabrics you can cut with your Cricut are:

1. Cotton wovens

2. Polyester

3. Denim

4. Felt

5. Canvas

6. Bonded Fabrics such as craft felt, web or fleece.

 

What you need to know about the Cricut Maker|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
The Cricut Maker cuts fabric, HTV, paper, just about anything!

I will have my first project will be ready soon! Have you used the Cricut Maker? What did you make? I would love to know! You can share your projects in my Facebook Group here.

Be sure to Pin this post!

Thanks to Cricut for sponsoring this post!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Need more inspiration? Check out these other posts:

Sew Along 2018, the Year of the Blues!

How to Shorten Pattern Sleeves

How to Measure for Pattern Alterations

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