I hear tell that there are top tools lists all over the internet for drafting your own sewing patterns. Being that my first love is pattern making, I thought I would weigh in with mine. I have thirteen. Boom!
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Top Tools No.1: Pattern Making Paper
Without paper, there is no pattern! Pattern making paper is sold in different styles. Plain, squared or dot and cross. I like the plain version, which I buy in a HUGE roll from Morplan in London.
Why is dedicated Pattern making paper so important? It’s the translucency it offers. If you are drafting patterns, you’ll need to be tracing sections off. Pattern making paper offers this.
Top Tools No.2: Pattern Master (or equivalent)
I LOVE my pattern master. I have a habit of sitting on mine, snapping it in half, which ain’t so great! This is a version designed by Martin Shoben and sold exclusively via Morpplan.
There is a thinner variation now available on Amazon, for about the same price…
Top Tools No.3: Awl
My awl comes in very handy. It is mostly useful for when I am pivoting my patterns around, moving darts and other fabric suppression bits around the pattern.
Top Tools No.4: Pattern Drill
This tool is great for marking in the positions of darts, pleats etc. It ‘drills’ a hole into the pattern where you push down, leaving a perfect circle cutout behind. This makes it easy to mark the fabric when you are cutting out and marking your fabric.
Top Tools No.5: Tracing Wheel
This is also one of my favourites. This particular style is hard to come by. I ‘lost’ this for a few weeks and in my hunt for a replacement, all i could fins where duff non spikey versions. When I found this trusted friend again, I put him in a VERY safe tool box! 🙂
This is the closest I was able to find on Amazon, it has the similar spikes to what mine has…
Top Tools No.6: Pattern Notchers
I think these might have been the first proper tool I splashed out on when I was just learning to pattern cut. They are again from Morplan and cost over £20. I figured you get what you pay for, and much like scissors, you want your pattern notchers to be sharp!
There is this similar pair on Amazon, which will also punch a hole into your card patterns to store them on hooks!
Top Tools No.7: Pattern Scissors
Ahem… So, I mentioned my love of all things from Morplan right? These scissors, designed SPECIFICALLY for cutting patterns, are also from there.
They have these lovely sharp short blades, perfect for cutting my paper patterns, and give me lots of control due to the short blades… I LOVE THEM! 🙂
Again, my Morplan ones don’t seem to be available anywhere else, not even on Morplan! 😮
Top Tools No.8: 4H Pencil
You know one thing that really bugs me? People who use the wrong tools. And the one thing you can go wrong with when it comes to pattern making tools? The wrong kind of pencil. Seriously.
Headsup: This is my PET HATE!
It is so easy to get your hands on a decent 3H or 4H pencil. The reason they’re best? They are a HARD pencil. This means that when you mark a line with a nice sharp pencil, you will get a lovely sharp line.
- It won’t be wide and smudgey
- You’ll be able to see the right line you want to trace off
- It JUST MAKES SENSE! *nuff said*
Top Tools No.9: Meter ruler
Yep. When you need a nice long grain line, you need a meter rule. I have the lovely solid one in the photo above. It doesn’t move, it isn’t thin and bendy. Love it.
You could try this one from Amazon, it has great reviews… and it has a handle for easier manoeuvring!
Top Tools No.10: Tape Measure
Uh-oh… Here I go again.. Yep, my beloved tape measure is also from Morplan. And guess what? They don’t do that one anymore… I’m really going to be stuck once my current one is knackered out! 😮
Top Tools No.11: Masking Tape
Useful for temporarily attaching paper sections together. I get mine from Cass Art as it is the only one I have found which makes it easy to peel off without ripping my paper.
Top Tools No.12: Glue Stick
Good old Pritt Stick! This stuff does the job better because I always seem to get it when it is on special offer.
And Finally… Top Tools No.13: The Dress Stand AKA Tailor’s Dummy!
The Dress Stand is also known as a tailors dummy. Now, this CLEARLY isn’t an essential tool for when you’re just started out on your pattern making journey. They are a HUGE investment, and so you should only make the investment when you feel ready and able to progress further with more advanced pattern making and draping techniques.
The one in the above photo is MY PRECIOUS. I had her made to order from Kennett & Lindsell about 6 years ago when I decided it was time to invest, and it cost me almost £1000. Before that, I used an adjustable one, and that worked well for me. Here are several that you could look into:
- This Multi Size version on Amazon US
- This fixed size version on Amazon US
- This adjustable form on Amazon UK
- This fixed size one again on Amazon UK
Remember, it is important to get the right dummy for your needs. The home sewer who is making clothes for themselves, will do well with an adjustable dummy, while the fashion student / designer will do better with a fixed size dummy that they can then use as a basis for their designs.
Ok, if you have any questions about tools used for pattern making, do let me know in the comments below – I’ll do my best to answer them as fully as I can!
RECOMMENDED READING: If you enjoyed this post, check out my tools for sewing beginners post here. Or there is my post on learning to make your own patterns here.
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