Nov 222012

Part 8 – Choosing the Pattern and Fabric

This video will basically show you how to read the back of a pattern envelope in order to help you choose the right size pattern, as well as to see the notions that are required to make the garment.

If you have never bought a pattern from a fabric store before, you are in for a treat. I love browsing through all of the pattern catalogs. The most common ones are Butterick, McCalls, and Simplicity. There are catalogs for men, women and children. There are catalogs with Halloween costumes and other themes.

The catalog will show you a picture of the pattern envelope along with the pattern number. After choosing the pattern you want from the catalog, the next step is to find the actual pattern. Patterns are usually stored in file cabinets by pattern number.

Next, look at the back of the pattern envelope where it shows the different sizes, and the amount of fabric and notions required.

Using the body measurements that you wrote down, choose a size that has the measurements closest to what you need. The patterns leave a little bit of room, so don’t worry if it’s off a little bit. For example, if your bust is 39″ use the amounts for a 40″ bust.

Next, look at the part of the pattern where it tells you what type of fabric would be appropriate for this garment. For example, cotton, wool, silk, etc. Do not choose a fabric that is plaid or has stripes. These fabrics are more difficult to sew and that would need further lessons.

The pattern will tell you the minimum width of the fabric you need. Fabric usually comes in bolts of 45″ wide or 60″ wide. If possible, choose a fabric that is 60″ wide. This will usually give you extra fabric that may be used for adding a belt or some other embellishments. Look at the amount of fabric required for each garment. You might want to buy an extra 1/4 to 1/2 yard of fabric.

Next, look at the part of the pattern where it lists the notions required for the garment you have chosen. For example, if the pattern is for a skirt and jacket, but you only want to make the skirt, see what notions are required for just the skirt. In this example, you would need 1-1/8 yards of 1-inch wide elastic.

Lastly, don’t forget to choose matching thread. This is the beginning of building up your thread collection.

This video was created by Niler Taylor and placed on YouTube with embedding enabled. Visit her Playlist on

You might find the following posts to be very helpful:

Bestselling Sewing Books.

Sewing Accessories & Supplies.

Scissors & Cutting Tools.

Happy Sewing! Continue reading »