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Using Patterntrace to pattern hack or make toiles

Using Patterntrace to pattern hack or make toiles

So, I am getting much more confident with my dressmaking, so much so that I am delving into the world of pattern hacking.  Well when I say pattern hacking I mean adjusting the neckline on a pattern.  But it’s a start and its definitely getting my creative juices going.

Ruffle Sleeve Top

Let me explain in more detail. The Ruffle Sleeve Top, designed by In The Folds and available as a free download from peppermintmagazine.com is a favourite pattern of mine.  I originally made this blouse last year using my Nana’s old curtains.


Always one for recycling vintage fabric when I can, my Nana’s curtains were at least 50 years old.  A beautiful floral barkcoth that I knew would be ideal for this pattern.  I added length to the bodice and some inseam pockets but apart from that I made it as per the design.

I love wearing it but I do prefer to have a higher neck, roll neck or ruffle style collar as opposed to a V-neck.  I just don’t like that cold, bare feeling around my neck, unless I add layers underneath.  Which, if you know me I do love to layer my outfits.

So, I decided to make this pretty blouse again but change the neckline.  So, this is where the amazing Swedish Tracing Paper from Patterntrace comes in.

Pattern Hack

I have been using this paper for at least a year and I love it.  It’s not only a great tracing paper but its sturdy, robust, durable and eco-friendly and compostable too.  So, I wondered if I could use it as a toile, to help me in modifying the pattern.  If you are anything like me when it comes to using fabrics, I hate wasting it.  So, the thought of using anything from my fabric stash to experiment with made me shudder!

Also, because I was only changing the neckline and not doing a complete pattern hack makeover, this paper would be a great substitute for fabric. There’s a guide to altering the neckline of a pattern on The Sewing Directory. 

Well I was not disappointed.  I drafted my new neckline onto the paper and cut it all out as if it were a toile.  It stitched on the machine without any problems.  No tearing, being chewed up on the machine or ripping.  Throughout the process it was on and off Mabel, my mannequin, for numerous fitting stages and it remained intact throughout.  I even unpicked the neckline on the first sewing draft and it still held ok.  It really was like working with fabric.

It did crease somewhat with being on and off the sewing machine and being handled throughout.  But you can also iron the paper, on a cool setting if necessary.

I even stitched the darts onto the bodice, just as if it were a fabric toile.

After I was happy with draft two, I could then transfer the pattern pieces onto my fabric and continue with my dressmaking.  No fabric was wasted throughout!  I was a happy bunny and my fabric stash remained intact!  I could also reuse the paper piece toile for future pattern tracing etc. So, no waste all round!

Paper Tissue Fit

Obviously if I was creating a full-on pattern draft I would use a calico or muslin for my toile.  But even so I would still do a first tissue fit using the Swedish Paper as it was a dream to work with.

My Finished Version

I am really pleased with how the neckline has turned out and I will definitely be making my version again.  It was a great sewing project and learning experience for me and made so easy using the Swedish Pattern Paper.

So, if you have never thought of using this paper as a toile then I would highly recommend you try it.  For a tracing paper it really is a superior quality.  I have never come across anything as sturdy as this amazing product.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!


The Dressmaker’s Closet

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Why not read our post on pattern drafting with Patterntrace next?