Part 1 (of an undetermined number of parts…) of let’s learn how to use sewing patterns together!

I attempted my first real sewing pattern the other day (10/24). I generally find pictures and kinda sorta directions online of stuff I want to make and then wing it, which has its good points and not so good points (like accidentally sewing the wrong sides together because nothing is really marked….I have a well-used seam ripper.)

Joann’s Fabric had a ginormous sale last week, and I finally made it there on the last day of the sale. Talk about ridiculous- I’ve never seen the place so packed. The number I pulled for fabric cutting was 98- they were on 65! Anyways I got some good simple stretch knits (navy and black) to try on this pattern I got for 99 cents during their last sale. It’s a shirt that’s very similar in style to one I bought at H&M that I love. At the last minute I saw this really adorable pink and hearts John Deer fabric –

John Deere

It's country.

that made me think of one of my friends. It was $2.50 a yard so I decided to get 2 yards. Then I thought, “I have no idea what I would make her out of such juvenile fabric even though she’s totally country, and my choice of 2 yards was completely arbitrary and probably not enough to make pajama shorts…oh well, maybe I’ll use it to try out that baby clothing pattern I got during their other last sale!”

Let me be honest. I’ve had a small stack of patterns sitting in my craft supply chest since before my first sewing machine died on me in 2007. Can you tell I have a little pattern anxiety? I was pretty gung ho to make the shirt for myself so I wanted to cut out the pattern pieces I would need for that. Then I started feeling nervous and didn’t want to mess up my nice fabric and decided maybe I would cut out the baby clothes pattern too while I was at it. Preparing to sew- pinning, cutting, basically everything that ISN’T sewing and then saying Tada look what I made!- is my least favorite part. Might as well make less tedious pattern cutting for myself next time! So I spread out the patterns on the only surface big enough to accommodate them: our bed.


Take a good look. This pattern will never fit back into this envelope. Ever.

I cut out all the pieces for each garment I was interested in making, so I probably won’t need to cut out of these patterns again. Or at least not for a good while.


At least I have one place big enough even if it's a little weird and I cross my fingers I don't cut our sheets.

cutting pattern

Action shot!

Pattern pieces

Funny that all these weird pieces will yield clothing, eventually.

Phew. So our patterns are cut out without incident. Yay!

I ultimately decided to make the baby jumpers pattern first (despite my desire for new clothes for myself) because a) it was 99 cents so if I was seriously inept and somehow managed to destroy it, I wouldn’t feel too bad and b) as previously discussed in my Facebook crafting album, I enjoy making little people things because I get a sense of accomplishment in a short amount of time, which gives me just enough confidence to start another project and c) I seem to know a lot of women who are pregnant/recently had children, so I know I can find someone to gift my first (probably less than perfect) attempt at baby clothing to. Anyways, I digress. My point is, pattern anxiety is ok! Let’s move on.

To further ease my worries of messing this up I decided to upcycle old pajama pants with a cute apple print. Cost? Free! (Thanks yard sale leftovers down the street from two months ago!) So I can be guilt free if it doesn’t turn out. Although, the yellow background blended with the pattern paper so much that it made it a little more difficult to cut the pieces. Oh well.

Pattern 2

Free pajama pants turned fabric which I also happen to think is adorbs. This is the back side of what will be a baby shirt.

Everything was going swimmingly until I realized one side of the pant had both seams and thus there wasn’t quite as much fabric when I went to cut the front half. Hmm. I almost panicked…

Until my tetris skills kicked in.

Flipped Fabric

Phew...when you rotate fabric around sometimes it works out to be the size you need. Thanks spacial reasoning! This is important, because each shirt piece needs to be cut on the fold (otherwise you would need 4 pieces and the shirt would have a seam down the middle).

Huzzah! Got it. The slight amount of stretch seems like it goes 4 ways, not just 2, so I think it will be ok that I am not going the same direction as what I used for the back side…here’s hoping.

That’s as far as I got on Sunday because I was getting too tired to read the directions closely and I apparently need bias tape, which I don’t have. But everything is all cut out and ready to go, and I can make bias tape myself if I feel like doing a lot of ironing.

Until next time– which may or may not be this weekend, because grad school demands my attention and it’s Halloween and all– when I will be putting all the pieces together and hopefully actually doing some sewing!


About Pandercraft

I love to create things. I don't really have one craft specialty, I experiment in any craft that seems interesting to me at the time. I also dabble in photography, which I love. There's always something new to learn and that's what I'm all about!

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