Introduction: Read a Pattern

Using a pattern can be intimidating for first time sewers. There are a lot of numbers and symbols used along the way to make things look a lot complicated than they are.

Here is a quick guide for first time pattern users to help them navigate the pattern and everything contained in the package.

Step 1: Front of Package

First thing to look at when buying a pattern is what size the pattern makes. This will be shown in the top right corner below the pattern number (in this case 0603).

Different letters will represent different sizes.

Here are some examples.

M = Misses

P = Petite

PP = Petite Plus

The numbers beside the letters represent what size numbers there are. In this case the pattern is for Petite Plus sizes 12 - 18.

Step 2: Back of the Package

On the back you will be able to get measurement sizes and numbers on how much fabric is needed for each piece in the pattern.

To get the right size you should measure the person you are making the piece for.

In this chart you can see that if you wanted to make a size 10 B top you need 1 3/8 yards of fabric.

Step 3: Instructions in Package

In the pattern package, there is the pattern pieces and instructions to give step by step instructions on how to make each of the pieces. By following the instructions carefully you can make any of the pieces.

Also in the front of the instructions cutting layout instructions that show how to lay out the pattern pieces on the fabric to get the most efficient layout.

Step 4: Pattern Piece

The last thing in the pattern package are the pieces themselves. Each piece has a few important markings on them.

First there are numbers on each one to identify the pieces and what is needed. The pattern instructions will tell you what pattern pieces you will need.

The pattern piece also tells you how many pieces that need cut. For example pattern piece 8 requires 2 to be cut.

A line with two arrows is also found in the middle of the pattern. This shows what direction to lay the pattern on the fabric. The arrow is to go with the grain of the fabric.

Each pattern also has a number of lines around it, showing different dimensions for different sizes. Cut out the pattern piece along the size you want.

Also along the line of the pieces are little triangles. These triangles are used to line up each piece with the one beside it. As you cut out the pattern from the fabric make sure to cut a small notch in where the triangle is then the notches will help you line up all the pieces as you sew.

Step 5: Sew On

While there are other pattern symbols you may come across along the way, but now you have a little information on how things work to help you with your next sewing project.