Cut out your pattern pieces
Open your pattern envelope and pull out the folded tissue paper and the instruction sheet(s). This
instruction sheet is called the guide sheet.
Your guide sheet will indicate which pattern pieces you need for the item you’re making. The pattern pieces
should be numbered or lettered and should also be named (bodice front, sleeve, back facing, etc.). Unfold
the large sheets of tissue paper, find the pieces you need, and cut them out. You don’t have to cut
precisely on the solid outer lines just yet, you can just cut around the pieces for now. You'll be cutting on
the solid lines after you’ve pinned the pieces to your fabric. Carefully fold and place any unneeded pieces
back into the pattern envelope.
Make any desired alterations
You may want to make some simple alterations to your pattern pieces, such as lengthening or shortening
sleeves, pant legs, or a skirt length. Your pattern pieces should be printed with horizontal lines showing
you where to cut the pattern to lengthen it or where to fold the pattern to shorten it. Your guide sheet
should give you basic instructions for how to lengthen or shorten a pattern piece.
When lengthening or shortening a pattern piece, just remember to include extra fabric at the bottom for
the hem (your pattern should indicate how much fabric is required for the hem).
There are many other alterations you can make to your paper pattern pieces that can help your finished
garment fit better. If you’re learning to sew to have clothes that fit better, there are many instruction
books, magazines and classes that can show you how to do all kinds of more complex alterations. There
are also adjustments you can make to the fit of your garment as you’re sewing it together.
Press your pattern pieces
Press your pattern pieces with a warm, dry iron to remove wrinkles and creases. The temperature of your
iron should be just warm enough to flatten the paper without risking scorching it. Using wrinkled pattern
pieces could cause your fabric pieces to come out distorted. Which could result in pieces that don’t match
up quite right and a finished garment that doesn’t fit quite right.
Learn to Sew Lesson #6: Prepare Your Pattern Pieces
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