Know What You Wear

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Pattern Making Tools and Their Uses for Beginners

Creating sewing pattern can’t think without pattern making tools. You'll need the right pattern making tools to make perfect clothing or sewing patterns. The pattern maker should know about all pattern making tools uses and functions. In this article, I have discussed all pattern making tools with function. Using this list will help you identify the tools you need to create your own custom sewing patterns.

List of Pattern Making Tools and Their Uses for Fashion Designers:
The tools required for pattern making are given below, based on the order of their usage (Figure-1).

  1. Measuring devices
  2. Drafting devices
  3. Marking devices
  4. Cutting devices
  5. Sewing devices
  6. Finishing or pressing devices
  7. Miscellaneous or general tools 
Figure-1: Pattern making tools
Measuring Devices:
Measuring tools are the most essential things in making a pattern. The key to success in garment construction lies in taking accurate measurements of the subject and by using the appropriate tool for pattern making.
  1. Measuring tape: It is indispensable for taking body measurements. It is 152 cm or 60″ long with measurements on both sides. Its one end is made of metal having 3″ length and the other is made of the same metal having 1/2″ length. The side with the 1/2″ length is used for measuring a circular area, while the side with 3″ length is used for a vertical area.
  2. CPG measuring tape: This is used for taking measurements for a coat. Three measurements, that is, chest, shoulder and depth of side can be taken at a time. Apart from these, over shoulder and under shoulder measurements can be recorded with this tape.
  3. Leg measuring tape: It is a tape used for measuring the inner part of the leg. It is made of wood in the shape of a crescent and a measuring tape is fixed at the centre of the circle. The circle is entrapped with the leg to measure the inner portion of the leg by tape.
  4. Measuring stand: This stand is used to measure long garments such as long overcoats, frocks or gowns, as well as flare of the garment. In this stand, a rod of aluminium is fitted on the stand. The rod has a graduated scale, which gives the vertical measurement.
  5. Ruler: It is the best device for taking long straight measurements. It is mostly used for checking grain lines and marking hems.
You may also like: How to Take Body Measurements for Dress Making
Drafting Devices:
Drafting equipment is used for making paper patterns. This is the second stage of pattern making. Using the measurements taken, the drafting is carried out according to the design of a garment. The following drafting equipment is used:
  1. L-scale: It is called a triscale or L-scale and is made of wood or steel. The L-scale has one arm, which measures 12″ and the other arm is 24″. It is used for drafting on brown paper to draw perpendicular lines.
  2. Leg shaper: It is made of wood or plastic. Either 24″ or 36″ lengths are available. It is used to measure and shape the interior part of the leg.
  3. Tailor’s art curve: It is made of plastic or wood. This is used to draw curves in the drafting.
  4. French curve: This is made of transparent plastic. It helps in marking shapes of the neck, depth of sides and bottom of the garments.
  5. Compass: It is mainly used for making a curve for umbrella cloth.
  6. Drafting table: It is a wooden table of 3′ height, 4′ wide and 6′ long. The surface should be smooth and firm.
  7. Milton cloth: It is a thick, blue coloured woolen cloth used for drafting. It is mostly used for practising drafts by students. The surface can be brushed and reused until correct drafting is obtained.
  8. Brush: A brush is used on Milton cloth to rub the mistakes while drafting.
  9. Brown paper: It is used for drafting by placing on the drafting table. While using brown paper, a grain line should be followed.
  10. Pencil: Pencil is used for marking on brown paper.
  11. Rubber: It is frequently used for deleting mistakes. Good quality rubber, which does not leave black lines, should be selected.
  12. Red and blue pencils: These are used for marking on fold (red line) and grain line (blue arrow).
Marking Devices:
Marking devices are used for transferring the details of the paper draft to the fabric.
  1. Tailor’s chalk: It is made of china clay and is available in different colours. It is used for marking the paper patterns on the cloth. Alterations and construction markings are drawn using tailors’ chalk.
  2. Chalk in pencil form: This is used like a pencil and is ideal for marking thin accurate lines. This is used for marking pleats, darts and buttonholes.
  3. Tracing wheel: It is used for transferring the pattern markings on fabrics. But for sheer fabrics and loosely woven fabrics, the tracing wheel should be used with care; otherwise, the fabric may get damaged.
  4. Dressmaker’s carbon paper: Carbon papers are mostly used for transferring patterns. In embroidery, they are used for tracing designs. They are available in several colours including white.
Cutting Devices:
Cutting devices/equipment should be selected and used with maximum accuracy. A slight change in cut results in huge fitting problems. These tools must be selected and maintained properly in order to use them effectively.
  1. Cutting table and cutting board: A cutting table is 6′ long, 4′ wide and 3′ height. People working in a standing position use the table and people who work sitting use a cutting board. A cutting board should be 6″ height.
  2. Shears: These are typically utilised for cutting thick materials and usually 10–15″ in length.
  3. Scissors: These are used for cutting ladies’ and children’s garments. They are 7–10″ in length.
  4. Paper cutting scissors: These are small scissors available in various sizes and meant for cutting paper.
  5. Pinking shears: This cuts the edges in a zigzag manner. It is used for finishing seams and raw edges. It gives a decorative appeal to the raw edges while at the same time avoids unravelling of yarns.
  6. Trimming scissors: These are used for carrying out alterations, trimming seams, repairs and cutting thread while sewing.
  7. Buttonhole scissors: These are used for making holes for buttons and eyelet holes in garments.
Sewing Devices:
Sewing can be carried out either manually or by a machine. For hand sewing, the following are required:
  1. Needles: These needles come in denominations of a 0 to 12 numbers. Based on the thickness of cloth, the needle number is used.
  2. Crewel needle or darn needle: This is used for darning. The front side of the needle is bent.
  3. Pins: Pins are used for fixing the pattern on the cloth. They come in different colours.
  4. Pin cushion: It is used for keeping pins together.
  5. Needle threader: This helps in threading the machine and hand needles.
  6. Thimble: This is a cover that protects the finger while hand sewing. It is available in various sizes and is made of plastic or steel.
  7. Seam ripper: It has a sharp curved edge for opening and cutting seams. It can also be used for slashing machine work buttonholes.
Finishing or Pressing Devices:
The following equipment are needed for pressing:
  1. Iron: A good brand with after sale services should be chosen. A steam iron with a thermostat regulator is preferred.
  2. Ironing board: For ironing clothes, a table or ironing board can be used. An ironing board is 36″ long and 12″ wide. Six inches are left on its right side to keep the iron box. The left side of the board is angular and is suitable for ironing dart edges and sleeve darts while stitching. The table or ironing board should have proper stuffed backing.
  3. Sleeve board: It is in the shape of a sleeve. This board is 30″ long and 3/4″ thick.
Miscellaneous or General Tools:
Often, a few more tools and equipment may be required other than the above-mentioned items, in making the pattern and constructing the garment. These can be termed miscellaneous tools.
  1. Sponge: While pressing, a sponge is used to wet the fabric pieces to smooth the surfaces.
  2. Water container: A container with water, which will accommodate the sponge, should be selected. While ironing, water is sprinkled to remove wrinkles.
  3. Damp cloth: If a steam iron is not available, a damp cloth can be used. Any rectangular absorbable cloth can be chosen for this purpose.
  4. Hole maker: It is a sharp-edged instrument with a handle. This is used to make buttonholes.
  5. Orange stick: This is a long tool with a pointed edge. This is inserted into the collars or seams to get pointed edges.