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Tips & Techniques > Tracing Patterns -- Add Seam Allowances and Finishing all at Once

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Posted by: celeste

About celeste star
Member since: 6/21/04
Reviews: 31 (tips: 3)
Skill level:Advanced Beginner
Favored by: 14 people
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Posted on: 9/1/08 11:32 PM
Last Updated: 5/12/09 12:46 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 17 people   
After working on tons of Burda's over the last year*, I have finally developed a method of tracing, marking, cutting, & sewing.

When I learned to sew, I was taught the old cut the pattern out on the "cut" lines and then sew it using the pre-determined seam allowance. Converting to Burda patterns (seam lines, not cutting lines) was a real challenge. I tried lots of different methods and finally settled on, and fined tuned this one:

step one:
trace pattern to tracing paper (using pencil)

step two:
cut the pattern pieces (paper, not the fabric yet) on the "seam" lines (the lines that you traced) also, cut the pattern's darts, pleats, etc., open along one edge and fold open.

step three (partly optional):
lay pattern pieces on fabric, pin lightly and very roughly, cut a big hem allowance around the edges (you can even skip this step and cut later, if you want.)

step four:
with pattern pieces on the fabric, trace along outside edge (I like using the little french-made crayon/chalk marking tool search for it as: "BOHIN CHALK PENCIL" -- will add a link to the tool's picture soon.) I also have discovered that I actually like to hand baste for marking as well -- especially if the fabric is bumpy. Note: you will need to trace one right and one wrong side of the pattern piece--unless it's a single piece (i.e. not cut on a double layer of fabric) and, always mark on the wrong side of your fabric.

step five:
get the serger out and serge all of the edges the same distance from the marked seam line (your edges are now finished AND you have "cut" out your pattern pieces! Two birds with one stone) You can also do this step without thread--just let the serger cut your exact seam allowances if you prefer to keep the edges unfinished prior to sewing the pieces together.

step six:
line up the serged lines and then sew along the marked seam line or the correct distance from the edges if you are sewing on the right side of the fabric. Voila! Dishes are done baby

note: I don't cut out any piece that needs to be fully interfaced. I just cut out the interfacing, fuse it to a bigger piece of fabric and then serger using the same distance from the seam line as I used on the other pattern pieces.

*I wrote this tip a few years ago as a bonus to a pattern review. While browsing my old reviews today, I ran across it again. Back then in the review, I promised to post it as a tip (better late than never?)

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fishfish said... (11/20/08 4:00 PM) Reply
What a brilliant idea, I am using burda magazine's patterns as well, was worried what am I gonna do with the pattern without seam allowance. haha, your tip save my life as I have 6 burda projects that I want to do. Great tip!
EleanorSews said... (10/17/08 12:05 PM) Reply
What a nifty process! Makes such sense too. Thank you!
Calvin's grandma said... (9/17/08 5:00 PM) Reply
What a timesaver, just getting used to using european patterns myself and this helps!
SewVeryTall said... (9/9/08 9:09 AM) Reply
I was curious about the Bohin Chalk Pencil. Here's a link that shows several of them...

Bohin Chalk Pencils

glenj said... (9/5/08 9:58 AM) Reply
is your marking tool a mechanical chalk pencil,that comes with about 8 coloured and 8 white refill chalk sticks?if so this is the best without exception marking tool i have ever only complaint is that i only found it 6 months ago.(ten years earlier would have been nice)
marycds said... (9/3/08 1:46 PM) Reply
Brilliant! I will try this.
seweibhlin said... (9/3/08 10:39 AM) Reply
very, very clever thanks for a great tip.
TheSewingGirl said... (9/2/08 10:15 AM) Reply
I LOVE this tip!! I will giving it a try-out soon.
Merry G said... (9/2/08 6:50 AM) Reply
What is the "little french marking tool?
granny geek said... (9/2/08 0:42 AM) Reply
great tip...thanks!
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