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How To Follow A Sewing Pattern

Updated on March 30, 2014

How To Follow A Sewing Pattern

For those of you new to sewing or if you're thinking about sewing - this hub is for you. The excitement for sewing can be easily lost when you buy a pattern, open it and look at the instructions. It can be an overwhelmingly, frustrating experience that can burst the excitement bubble of wanting to learn how to sew. My goal is to highlight some important steps for following a pattern that will make sewing a fun experience!

Sewing can be one of the most fulfilling hobbies you'll ever do; start slow and don't overwhem yourself in the early stages. When you're bit by the sewing bug like I was, you'll probably need to be peeled away from your sewing machine by your husband or other loved one just to get some sleep at night! LOL

Choosing A Pattern

When looking in the catalog at patterns, you'll be surprised at the vast selection of fashionable patterns to choose from. Many beginners make the mistake of choosing a complicated one for the first time causing lots of frustration when attempting to make the outfit. The time will come when you'll be able to conquer more advanced patterns, as for now choose very simple ones to start with.

There are many pattern companies that have a line specifically for easy patterns, I would suggest choosing a pattern from one of these lines. You'll be surprised at the fashionable choices these lines have too. When you master a few simple patterns, gradually work your way up to more advanced levels. Many patterns have the skill level right on the front of it making it easy for you to choose a pattern for your level.

The Easiest Clothing Articles To Start Sewing

The easiest articles of clothing for beginners to learn how to sew with are skirts and pants. Choose a pattern that has the least amount of pattern pieces to start with. Skirts and pants can have as few as 3 pattern pieces if pockets are not included or 5 or more pieces if pockets are included. Try to find a pattern without pockets to start with first.

Take Your Measurements

Before you buy your pattern, make sure that you have taken your measurements with a tape measure. Measure your chest area, waist and hips. This is very important because patterns usually don't coincide with manufactured clothing sizes, and to top it off each pattern company has a slightly different size charting.

When You've Chosen Your Pattern

When you've chosen your pattern, congratulate yourself, for you are on your way to learning one of the most creative, practical hobbies ever! Choose your correct size corresponding with the size on the size chart in the catalog. The pattern itself is identified by a number which is in the right or left upper corner usually containing four digits.

When you pull you pattern from the draw, make sure you get your right size. Now, there are usually multiple sizes to a pattern, make sure your size is there. I like the way patterns were manufactured years ago, just one size to a pattern. Oh well, I'm sure the way they are manufactured now saves a lot of trees which is a good thing.

The Back Of The Pattern

On the back of the pattern there is a sizing chart that helps you buy the right size pattern according to your measurements and there is a chart that gives suggestions as to how much fabric you need to buy to make the garment. There are suggestions for types of fabrics to use for your garment and what notions you need to buy to complete your project. Take a moment to carefully read all of the information on the back of the pattern since this is crucial for your project to turn out great.

If you go to a store that specializes in sewing, there is usually always someone around to help you if you need it. Never be afraid to ask for help!

Reading The Pattern

Once you're ready to start, the first and very important thing to do is to read the entire pattern instruction sheet over thoroughly even before you lay out your material. Reading the entire pattern through first will really help out as you go along.

On the first page there is a cutting layout guide for how to lay out the material, following this guide is very important. If you don't follow the guide, you may run out of space for the pattern pieces. On the fist page there is also drawings of the individual pattern pieces which specifies what each piece is.

There are also instructions on how to use a multi size pattern and a small glossary of sewing terms. I cannot stress enough the importance of reading the entire pattern first before you start, it may seem tedious but the task will be well worth it in the end.


I hope this hub has enlightened and encouraged those of you who want to start sewing. Remember to have patience, take it slow and work on some simple projects first, then before you know it, you'll be making your own clothes and saving a bundle!

A Good Video On How To Follow A Sewing Pattern


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    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      5 years ago from Maine

      LOL, that is a coincidence. Go ahead and write the hub using a slightly different perspective. It's always good to have fresh content on the same subject. Thank you for your wonderful comments. The best to you!

    • DommaLeigh profile image


      5 years ago

      Like your Hub, I was thinking about writing about the same thing but you pretty much covered what I was going to do. I even have the same pattern that you used (LOL). You know what they say great minds work alike.

    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      7 years ago from Maine

      Thank you very much Tonipet! I wish your sister in law the best of luck with her sewing career! Thank you for your comment and for voting this hub up!

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hi. I'm sharing this hub to my sister in law who just started with her sewing career. She'll love all the info. Interesting. Voted up!

    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      8 years ago from Maine

      Hi Whidbeywriter,

      Thank you very much for your comment!!!

    • Whidbeywriter profile image

      Mary Gaines 

      8 years ago from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington

      Very helpful thanks for sharing this...cheers!

    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      8 years ago from Maine

      Hi tracykarl99,

      Thank you for your very nice comment!

    • tracykarl99 profile image


      8 years ago from San Francisco

      A nice hub ~ informative and useful! Thanks.


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