Wednesday, September 2, 2009

we are the vintage pattern preservation society

ah, thrift stores. where would we be without you? certainly at a loss for treasures of days gone by. you are a ripe hunting ground for the forgotten but not yet gone to the trash. a place to find what has been misplaced, to take what is old and make it new again. an excellent place for thrifty threads and the stuff to stitch them together.

here's a favorite find from a recent adventure:


this pattern, circa 1985, was just begging for some new life. but 20+ year old pattern paper is a fragile creature that needs a lot of tlc. thankfully, there's a way to preserve this by-gone charm for all time. for the chickadee method of pattern preservation, you just need a sharpie and a bit of muslin or other fabric to trace on.

start by cutting around the pattern pieces that you are interested in. don't cut right on the line, leave a bit of a border. you'll be tracing the pattern and you want the original lines to be intact. then gently press the pattern paper with a warm iron (no steam!) to remove the wrinkles.

pin the pattern piece to muslin or other appropriate scrap fabric. instead of snipping around the shape, take your trusty sharpie and trace the lines of the pattern. a fresh sharpie is best for this sort of thing, one with lots of ink. but be mindful, the angled tip can sometimes snag the thin paper. go slow and let the ink sink into the fabric below. be sure to recreate all of the appropriate markings like notches and grain lines. if your fabric is thin (like muslin) you might want to consider protecting the surface underneath as the marker will bleed through.


once you are finished tracing, remove the paper. marvel at the miraculous power of the sharpie. your pattern should now appear on the fabric. cut out the fabric pieces along the border lines and they are ready to be placed on the actual fabric that you'll be making your garment out of. pin them in place, cut, transfer markings and reuse as many times as you want. no need to worry about the paper disintegrating or ripping. this is also a great way to make several pattern sizes without interfering with the integrity of the pattern.

note: don't trace directly on to the fabric that you plan to sew, these marks are permanent and permeate! so they'll definitely show up on the finished product.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

How very interesting....you should be a teacher. You would be a fine one. Thank you for the great tips and tricks on tracing a pattern. kd

dandelion blu said...

this is a great tutorial- you should submit it to the BEST blog- afterall you are an honorary member...