Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pattern Grading

Tailoring Thursdays™, Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Sewers

Pattern Grading

Often times you get a pattern that doesn't fit just right.  You can make patterns smaller or larger by a process called grading. 

As a seamstress and pattern designer I have often had to grade patterns.  

I never like to redo something that has already been done well.  
So for details on measurements, math and grading pattern pieces specific to ones measurements go see these posts:
http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/4368/making-sense-of-pattern-grading

To practice grading here is what I teach my students.  
It works easiest to use graph paper with lines at a 1/4" distance.

1.  Draw a circle on the graph paper. 

2.  Trace the circle onto plain paper.  
3.  Cut out the circle you just copied.  
4.  Fold cut out circle in half and then fold in half again.  This is to create the equidistant lines -- which is easy on a circle. :)  
5.  Cut on the fold lines. 
6. See how the circle pieces fit inside the first circle. 
7.  Draw lines down the center of the circle creating the same lines where you cut the circle into 4 segments. 
8.  Now to enlarge or "grade" the circle by 1/2", place the corner of the segment on the graph lines equidistant from the lines drawn in step 7 (for 1/2" it would be two lines).
9.  Using a repositionable tape, tape each corner of each segment piece 2 lines from the center lines.
10.  Trace the edges of the segments onto the original paper.  
11.   Connect the opening segments. 
12.  Now you can see if you wanted to make the new larger circle larger the original segment pieces would give you a HUGE gap to connect those corners. 
13.  Instead, repeat steps 1 - 12 with the new larger circle. 
In the following pictures I increased it by 1/4" in diameter.   
Practice with circles, then with squares, then with triangles, then with hourglasses.  
Then move on to your pattern! 

Happy Grading!

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