Sunday, 20 March 2016

Three Ways to Copy Multi-sized Patterns

This great little pattern would suit a variety of ages
and sizes.
Back in the day when you bought a pattern, you bought it in your own size and there was only that one size in the envelope. Today,  most patterns come in multiple sizes. Many, like the one on the left, would suit a variety of ages. However, once you have cut it out in your size, there is no going back.  All you have left is scraps with the edges of the larger sizes printed on them.  Any smaller sizes are printed inside the one you have cut out and you can't really use them as you will destroy the one you want.
Occasionally, you will want to use the other sizes as well. This top would suit my daughter and I know several people who might like to make it. If you are making children's clothes, you may want to use the larger sizes later. For my sewing club, I made three patterns for pyjama bottoms - small, medium and large and we had a pyjama-making session.

It's really not difficult to copy out the sizes and get maximum value from the outlay on your pattern.
Here are three different ways to do it.

This is the cheapest and easiest way to copy a pattern and would even work on Burda patterns.  On Burda patterns, though, I would add an extra step - use a felt tip pen to draw around your size.  Otherwise, you may find it hard to identify which lines to trace.
What you need:
Your pattern, a soft pencil, a ruler, pins or sello tape, scissors and some greaseproof paper.

A pattern spanning sizes 10 to 22.
Greaseproof paper is very good - sturdy, transparent and will probably last longer than the original paper.
Begin by laying out your pattern and securing the greaseproof paper over it. I used a few pins, but you could use a bit of sellotape.
I carefully traced over the pattern lines, using a ruler where necessary. ( The dressmaker's curves were not really useful on this pattern, but may suit another one. They go back to my pattern making days and were definitely useful then.)
Cut out your pattern and label it. Don't forget the notches, darts, straight grain line and markings like 'cut on fold' and the pattern number and size.
Proceed to next size. I traced sizes 10 to 16.
Covering the pattern with greaseproof paper.

Tools for tracing.

The second method:
What you need:
Large sheets of paper. I used the A2 paper from my husband's whiteboard. You could use newsprint (cheap, unprinted paper) or even newspaper although you would need to ensure the ink did not harm your fabric.

Cut out the largest size that you want to copy.  Lay it on the paper and pin it just like fabric.  Cut around the pattern and label it with straight grain line, notches, darts 'cut on fold' line pattern number and size. Continue with each smaller consecutive size taking care where pattern sizes overlap.

Cutting out the pattern and then the copy on paper.

The third method: Tracing the pattern.
What you need: 
You will need large paper again and a tracing wheel and dressmaker's carbon paper.
Sandwich the pattern, carbon paper (carbon side down) and paper and secure with pins.
You may need to put a few layers of newspaper underneath to allow the tracing wheel to do its work.
Trace around the pattern including markings and notches. Then cut out the pattern and label it.

Dressmaker's carbon paper and a tracing wheel.

Using the tracing wheel and dark dressmaker's carbon paper.

The traced pattern.

The shell top ready to cut out in my size.


  1. Thank you! The first method is what I did before, but your second method seems way quicker--*IF* you don't cut around the original first like you wrote, but just pin on the whole thing and cut the pattern and copy in one go. Why cut twice? Then do the same with the next biggest size, etc. The other methods seem way too laborious for the same result! Thanks again. (PS. The first comment is spam, in case you didn't see it.)