Patterns-do you make your own or buy commercial ones?

Feeling thoughtful about patterns this month. As a bespoke pattern cutter, I make one off patterns based on a unique set of measurements that fit one individual. However commercial patterns are designed to fit universally and are multi sized, but do require some skills to adjust.
Making your own patterns is time consuming and very mathematical.  Once commercial pattern adjustments are learnt, it opens up a wealth of available  patterns which vary seasonally and have been road  tested by the manufacturer.
Then there’s the tracing versus cutting debate! I like to cut out a tissue template, but many more fashionable patterns like burdastyle come as traceable patterns, with multiple patterns laid on top of one another. Personally, just looking at the multi pattern sheets in the burda style mag, makes me feel queasy, but I will be making myself do this over the next month in the name of research!

So are you a cutter or tracer? A pattern maker or consumer of commercially bought patterns?

I’d love to hear your thoughts?

Happy Stitching!


  • JanCoronado

    23.05.2012 at 15:40

    Hey there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the superb work!

  • The Thrifty Stitcher

    23.12.2011 at 15:19

    Thanks for the comments, Robina and Suzy, patterns are indeed a minefield!!

    Merry Christmas ladies, and a lovely stitchy new year x

  • Robina

    10.12.2011 at 02:24

    When I start with a commercial pattern I usually end up cutting out way too big (I'm just too cautious) then I end up slicing off here, then there, then there to craft and tailor to perfection (like icing a cake or shaping a flower bed), and gradully I start changing the shape of it altogether into a completely different dress. Then I wonder why I bothered with a pattern. Maybe that's just me.
    Commercial patterns often frustrate me because they are rarely designed for small boned petites. If people like me follow them without, for example,reducing volume of great hunky scapula, the dress would look like it buried me, whereas it could look divine if it fitted. I'm sure every body has its quirks. I think its important not to lose confidence in the design itself (these styles don't suit me kind of feeling) but simply to remember that its all in the fit which requires an ability to adapt patterns – then it can look fabulous. Tracing patterns make me dizzy.

  • Suzy

    08.12.2011 at 10:15

    I started by being a tracer but that was affecting my mood to sew sometimes. So I worked hard in letting go and now cut straight into some patterns. Usually the ones from the big 4 that were fairly cheap and basic. I always trace if it's vintage, from independent company or if I love it.
    As you know I'm doing a pattern making short course and starting to work on my own patterns now. I'm not going to completely stop using commercial patterns though.