Wednesday, February 6, 2013

GSWDS: Tracing

When I first started sewing, I never traced.  Well, to be honest I hadn't heard of tracing until maybe a year into it.  I started tracing because of the Built by Wendy Dresses book, which has three patterns and a bunch of variations on each dress.  Anyways, I've been a faithful tracer ever since...especially kids patterns.

When I sit down and trace my patterns, I always use these:
1. Pattern Weights: Okay, so these aren't actual pattern weights, but whatever, use whatever works for you (and obviously we liked mexican food in this house, huh?)
2. Medical exam paper: I think everyone uses something different, but this is what I used.  I ordered this pack from Amazon in 2011 and I am still using it.  I'm about halfway through it.  I honestly love this stuff, it does have it's limitations, though.  To trace with this, you put the paper over you pattern and trace the lines, which means that it can get a little confusing, but you get used to it.
3. A large ruler: This will definitely come in handy when tracing the shirring placement line in this pattern.  It's not 100% necessary, though.
4. The pattern from Gertie's book: I put this on here for a reason.  Sometimes I get all my supplies together and then I'm sitting at the table, confused until I realize I forgot the pattern.  Ooops!
5. A clear small ruler: This is about 12 inches long.  This is definitely helpful when tracing and marking darts.  I got this in the drafting part of the craft store, but I know that the quilting has similar rulers.  I love it, but it's a pain in the butt when you lose it because it just blends in with the carpet/fabric/cutting surface.
6. Seam Gauge: I use this all the freakin time.  I use it to take in the shoulders, take out the waist, etc etc.
7. Tape: When doing alterations on your pattern, tape is super important for slashing and spreading or taking a chunk out of the pattern.
8. Pencils with good erasers: Do yourself a favor and don't trace with pens...rookie mistake that I may or may not have made.
9. Paper Scissors: self explanatory :P
I use those with every single pattern I trace.  Here are some optional things:
1. Wrapping Paper: I used this before I got the exam table paper.  I actually completely raided our christmas paper stash and we are finally feeling it.  But, this stuff works surprisingly well, honestly.  You can't see through the paper, but if you're going to go this route, then you'll need...
2. Tracing Wheels: The crazy death trap one is actually pretty sharp and I got it from my husband's aunt (my aunt-in-law??) and it's awesome.  I use this a lot, but not so much with tracing.  
3. Fine Tip Sharpie marker: I use this in two instances: a) when I am feeling extra awesome and I want to go the extra mile or b) I am procrastinating and want to find any reason whatsoever to put off cutting out fabric.  So, sometimes I go back over my trace lines with the sharpie maker, let's face it, I don't do it all that often :P but hey, you can if you want to.
So, when you're tracing out the pattern, you will only want to trace out:
Bodice Front
Dress Back
Skirt Front (only if you're concerned about length)
You will trace the rest out after we do the muslin.
The rest is pretty simple.  Unfold your pattern and trace off these pieces, using either the exam paper or the tracing wheel.

A couple things about Gertie's patterns:  

1. You can't skip the tracing part.  Her patterns overlap and are printed on the front and back of the paper.

2. Make sure you get all of the markings.  The first time I made this dress I didn't catch these little guys:

These are how she marks notches.

3. Make sure you're getting the right size.  It is a little difficult finding exactly which line to trace sometimes.  Especially if you have the exam paper over the pattern.  What I did was mark the sizes on the actual pattern like so:
Anyways, so I guess this is my post about tracing.  I wish I had ground breaking information for everyone out there, but I don't.  There really isn't a trick to tracing, and at first it seems like it's time consuming, but I have NEVER regretted tracing something.  
So, I will see you guys tomorrow with some muslin shots (yes, I kept my muslin hanging around for this very purpose...of course I could have just taken a picture of it and then thrown it away.  Hmmmm, oh well.) 

1 comment:

  1. Actually, I learned a lot from this post so I think it was ground-breaking. I find that when tutorials go right from the beginning that I am more relaxed and I learn a lot more. SO thanks. I am right behind you in working on this pattern (tomorrow we're expecting a lot of snow and it should be a snow I think I will be able to keep up with this sew-along!)