Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Saving a Pattern

I'm beginning to feel nervous about my girls' 4H projects. 4H offers kids the chance to learn new skills and follow rules and gain self-confidence. The deadline is mid-July, but experience tells me it is not to soon to begin teaching them the skill of wringing their hands in distress.

I'm a little extra amped up because Sophia has added one project to her list and Ava is a "real 4H-er" now (not just in Exploring 4H - and limited to one project) and has multiple projects of her own. True, no one is required to do more than one project, but this is the choice we've made. I'd like Sophia and Ava to be skilled in the home arts, and those are Sophia's interests, but they aren't Ava's first choices. When it came time to choose Ava's projects, I told her she must do foods and sewing and then she may choose a project or two on top of that.

Sophia - Foods (baked and preserved), Sewing, Floriculture, Child Development, Leadership

Ava - Foods (baked and preserved), Sewing, Photography, Crafts

So we're getting started now, hoping to avoid tears and shouts later. Twelve-year-old Sophia is a big girl now, and if she and I want the same style of dress, we likely would find our sizes in the same pattern envelope. But how does one save a pattern to use for multiple sizes?

The "experts" say to trace the size of the pattern you want to use, and never cut the pattern at all. I was five when my grown-up sister got married. My mother kept the aisle runner - a semi-sheer white fabric with a floral white-on-white print - and traced pattern pieces until I was a grown up bride myself.

But I don't know any brides with aisle runners to share. Besides. I don't want to go to that much effort.

I saw the solution on Margo's smart blog. I'll document my successful experience here:

After laying out my pattern pieces, and pinning them, I make little snips from the edge of the pattern piece to the line of the appropriate size. The snips are made intermittantly - less on a straight edge, more on a curve.

The snips make little flaps, which I then fold back along the line of the correct size of the pattern piece. Now, when I cut the piece, I'm cutting alongside the fold, rather than through the fabric AND the paper pattern piece.

See how nicely the middle size has been cut, while retaining the view of the other sizes to be made later?


  1. "...but experience tells me it is not to soon to begin teaching them the skill of wringing their hands in distress." Very well written post with lots of information!

  2. I was jumping up and down with my hand waving wildly in the air - until I read that you had, indeed, found the answer on my blog :) Soooooo handy.

    Can't wait to see what the pattern produces!


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