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suzykue
suzykue  Friend of PR
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Date: 2/12/13 1:16 PM

what do you use to make a working copy of a pattern if you don't want to cut your pattern up?

SusanStitcher
SusanStitcher
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Date: 2/12/13 1:36 PM

I use tracing paper and trace each piece out. In the case of something with really small pieces, like a bra, I've photocopied the pattern and cut out the copies.

DonnaH
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DonnaH
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Date: 2/12/13 2:32 PM

I bought a roll of tracing paper from Hobby Lobby (it's with the art supplies, not the sewing supplies). They didn't have the wide (mine is only 12" wide, I think), but when a piece is too wide for the paper, I just tape a scrap onto the edge, or mark a specific place on the pattern where the second piece will be attached.

Other people buy wider rolls, some use freezer paper (which can be ironed onto the fabric!), I've even heard of a few that use plastic - one person even mention a shower curtain liner. No problem seeing through those to trace, but also you can see where the pattern on your fabric will end up.

SheBear0320
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Date: 2/12/13 2:39 PM

I use dropcloth plastic from the Home Depot paint department. I like being able to see the print of the fabric underneath so I can avoid improper print placement.

------
Sheila
"sewing very slowly to fill an empty closet"

2014 Stash Busting Sew-Along:
106.625 yards sewn (as of 12/19/14)
145.125 yards purchased (as of 12/19/14)

Silk Challis
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Silk Challis
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Date: 2/12/13 3:00 PM

I trace with pencil on tissue paper.

Fictionfan
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Date: 2/12/13 7:09 PM

Sorry for the long post, but here's my opinion:

I trace every pattern because I have to alter every pattern to fit me. Medical exam table paper is the best stuff I've found for this purpose. It's inexpensive, translucent enough to see the pattern to be traced through it, it is sturdy enough without being heavy, and is tougher than the tissue paper the big 4 patterns come on. I use the smooth stuff, 21 inch wide, 225 yds, less than $4 per roll if you buy a case of the normal, not premium or waxed type and not crepe or decorative. I ended up with a case of the stuff when the wrong size was delivered to my office and they did not want to pay for the return shipping.

I am taking some craftsy classes. Two of the instructors so far specifically commented on using exam table paper for tracing and copying patterns. Nancy's Notions sells this same type of paper as pattern paper for about $8-9 per roll, 21 inches wide but only 75 yds in length, and top dollar that is for the same thing you sit on when you go to the doctor or dentist. I saw the 21 in wide by 225 yds single rolls on Amazon for almost $15 per roll, but a case of 12 rolls should be only about $40, though you can certainly pay more if you want to. Of course, if you only want one roll and don't want to store the remaining rolls from the case, you could consider sharing them or selling them. Maybe you can talk your doctor's or dentist's office into letting you have or buy a roll. Even after shipping, $5 per roll should do it unless they buy the pricey stuff. Sometimes the end of the roll is tossed out because it isn't long enough to cover the table for a patient. Ask if they'd give you one of those to try it out. If it's like my office, you won't be waiting very long for one of those to be available.

A single roll of 225 yds will trace a LOT of patterns before you run out. I'd say a 225 yd roll will do 50 to 75 patterns, depending on how many parts and how many iterations I make before I've got the garment fitted. If the pattern piece is wider than 21 inches, it's easy enough to tape it together to get the width I need. Exam table paper will allow a little leak of Sharpie ink if I let the pen rest too long and the ink begins to soak in, but for the most part I do not have ink leaking onto my original patterns.

A note on the tape: I use medical paper tape that's used to apply bandages, not scotch tape or tape that is for paper, to tape my patterns together when I alter. It is removable and won't tear the tissue if I'm careful, even on that thin tissue paper that many pattern companies use. I can write on it, it tears easily across the width and over the length, and generally allows me to abuse it as much as I want without damaging whatever I'm taping together. I can use it on cloth as well. I used to exclusively use it for tape basting zippers instead of pinning (I wrote a tip on this in my early days on PR) before wash-away wonder tape was available. I was using the Micropore (3M brand) tape long before I ever saw wash-away wonder tape. The wash-away stuff is better in a lot of ways, but sometimes I still use the paper tape for accuracy when topstitching the zipper opening. I've tried the McKesson brand of paper tape and I Hate That Stuff. It doesn't tear at all well, it doesn't always unstick or stick reliably, and it's just a pain to use. I've just ordered another brand to try it out. We'll see how it works for pattern alterations.

Over the years, I've tried:
Freezer paper: too expensive, though it has a backing that doesn't let permanent marker leak through to the pattern underneath; if you have a cheap source of butcher paper I think that's the same stuff; quilters use this for some piecing techniques. Usually only narrow widths.

Wax paper: can't write on it easily and wrinkles change to white so they can obscure my markings, too narrow.

Parchment paper: expensive, not particularly translucent, but it's tough and usually doesn't let ink leak through. Narrower than the exam table paper I use.

Tissue paper: Sharpie ink leaks through and ink bleeds so it doesn't stay a sharp line, it tears too easily, too fragile depending on the quality you find. You can get wide widths, though.

Plastic sheeting: icky to try on, smears the ink, harder to see through than exam table paper, and just overall unpleasant when I'm used to paper. Really cheap, usually wide, usually a lot on the roll.

I also used that interfacing-like stuff with lines that give a 1 inch grid. It's expensive (I think), lasts forever, you can sew it, but my cheap paper is more recyclable, it's much easier to write on, and it will lie flat when I'm making alterations. I have not been to an art supply store, so I don't know what they have for tracing. I've never been willing to pay for Swedish tracing paper, so I have no experience with that product. I've also never sprung for P&P's gridded pattern paper, though it would be very useful to have the grids. Instead, miser that I am, I spend a few moments drawing some grid lines when I need them, in 1/2 or 1 inch squares. Kraft paper is too thick to see through. Same with newsprint and copy paper, plus copy paper is pretty expensive by the time you get all those pieces taped together to copy one pattern.

Another side note: NAYY a plug for an excellent product I wish I'd invented: SA Curve, a company owned by a PR member, sells an indispensable set of tools for tracing patterns. 3/8 inch and 5/8 inch wide rulers in a curved shape like French curves and Fashion rulers. You can find lots of 1/4 inch rulers in quilting supplies and a lot of straight rulers, but for patterns, you need 3/8 and 5/8 inch to either mark in the seamlines or add seam allowances (hence the SA of SA Curve) and you need the curves as well as straight edges. If you want to work with burda magazine or other non-big-4 patterns that do not have seam allowances added, or if you need to add to Kwik Sew or Jalie patterns because their narrow seam allowances don't provide enough width to adjust sizing, you need these rulers. I don't have the drafting rulers she's selling now, but that is what I would have purchased if they'd been available back then.

HTH
-- Edited on 2/12/13 7:15 PM --

------
Fictionfan

Scheri
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Date: 2/13/13 1:51 AM

I use swedish tracing paper.

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Scheri Manson
Edmonton, AB CANADA

SandiMacD
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Date: 2/13/13 2:59 AM

I move a lot so I have oodles of those thin white sheets of packing paper. So I use that and my copier. I only copy the outside lines and tape them together. Or tape them down on the packing paper if I need a solid center.
I like the fact that those sheets are so wide.

------
sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

rosehatten
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Date: 2/13/13 4:28 AM

I use "soil separator" from Home Depot. The roll is 48" wide and 150 feet long, for under $20. The best part is that you can sew it, so I can get a quick test of the pattern. I find that a Sharpie will go through it, but I use crayons, and they work fine. Ball point pen also works well on it.

JeanM

JeanM
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Member since 6/25/05
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Date: 2/13/13 6:34 AM

I use Swedish tracing paper, and trace almost everything (I like having all the sizes available, or a clean restart if I mess up on my alterations)

I have used sewin interfacing (it can be found with a printed grid - 1 inhc ).

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