Friday, September 3, 2010

Sewing Quick Tip - Pattern Paper

After weeks (months?) of teaching myself to sew I'd like to share a couple of things I find really useful. Many books, online articles and blogs talk about techniques, styles, patters and wonderful fabrics. Most times I'm missing the "small things" though. It is much less talked about practical things around sewing. I hope to manage to write a more or less regular post about small practical things that are related to sewing.

As a beginner you probably use pre-made patters but at a certain time you want to make pattern on your own. To my great surprise this was MUCH easier than I expected it to be. To make your patter you need paper. Sewing shops supply you with whatever you need. But when you are sewing on a budget and you are not sure if the result will come out well you might hesitate you spend a lot of money just to throw it away later in disappointment. I read replacing professional sewing paper with wrapping paper or packaging paper. Of course, it is a lot more affordable but chances are you still need to spend money for it. Wouldn't it be great to spend very little (or even nothing) and do something good and recycle? YESSSSSSS!


I found the answer literally at my doorstep. My parents run a print shop which also does large format printing. The paper supplies my dad orders come wrapped in huge sheets of paper. This paper has no other purpose than to be wrapped around the actual printing paper. As soon as the printing paper is unwrapped the large format wrapping paper loses its purpose and is most likely to be thrown away. What a waste!
The wrapping paper really has a large format and is very strong and durable. Once you cut out your pattern you can keep it and reuse it many times without any damages to the paper.

So go to your local print shop (especially the ones which do large format printing) and ask them if you may recycle their packaging paper. I don't know how it works in other countries but in Germany you got to pay for anything you throw away. The more you throw away the more you pay. So you actually help them. The ideal case would be that they might look at you a little confused but then don't charge you anything and ask you to come again soon. Still, I believe it's ok if they charge you a little as you gain from it. If they don't charge you anything bring some cookies next time. From experience I can say this is appreciated very much. 

Happy pattern making! 


  1. Oh man! Your parents run a print shop!! Fun. I miss caressing large pieces of paper. I haven't needed to use large pieces of paper for patterns yet, but newspapers could work too. I remember my mother using a few sheets to make a pattern for an ironing board cover.

    That's a good thought, Kathrin!

  2. I think newspapers are a good idea too! I didn't think of it before. Although i believe it only works for smaller patterns. Lately I make a lot of custom made pants for friends and family and most of them have long legs so need larger paper. I'm sure it works great for shirts though.



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