Posted by on Feb 13, 2015 in Sewing, Theory | Comments Off on Preserving a Retail Pattern

Okay, so today, I’m going to talk about my least favourite thing about retail patterns – their paper. I freaking hate the tissue paper that comes in the retail patterns. I can’t tell you how many patterns I’ve ripped because of their terrible paper. I just can’t say enough bad things about the tissue paper printing method. I hate it. Can you tell?

So, while I was doing Renaissance re-enactment, I was friends with a large group of women who all had their own patterns, but we were all willing to share the patterns between us because of the cost thing. Among that group, we really didn’t want to risk our patterns getting destroyed. We also didn’t want to risk a pattern getting cut down to a size we couldn’t use any more.

To solve this problem we used an every day kitchen item:

IMG_0514Reynold’s makes this heavy-duty paper that has a thin coating of plastic on the back. It’s pretty easy to find, and though it’s about $5 a box, it will preserve about 2 patterns each.  Yes that adds $2.50 per pattern, but you’re going to be able to use that pattern over and over again, so that’s worth it to me.

You’ll also need your iron turned to a low setting like Silk or Nylon with all the water poured out. I’ve found that every iron I’ve used that has a water reservoir leaks when it’s on a non-steam setting, and if there’s somewhere you don’t want water, it’s on the crappy tissue paper that makes up retail patterns. While your iron heats up and dries off from pouring the water out, you’ll want to lay out a sheet of freezer paper the same size as your pattern page with the plastic (shiny) side up. I use my dinner table with a cardboard sheet covered with a flannel blanket so that I can lay out a whole pattern page at one shot.

2014-11-10 10.45.11

Jennifer Forbes – using random crap lying around to weigh down paper since 1992

Lay your pattern sheet on top of that freezer paper.

2014-11-10 10.49.02Note that a single sheet of freezer paper is not wide enough for the pattern page. It rarely is. I always end up layering at least two sheets of freezer paper to make a whole pattern page.

Once you have your pattern page laid out on the freezer paper, iron it by making circles. Always keep the iron moving so that you don’t burn the paper.

ironI always make these circles for a slow count of 5. This will cause the plastic on the freezer paper to melt and the pattern adheres to it. You’ll notice in the picture below that the bottom left corner is a little darker where it’s stuck to the freezer paper.

2014-11-10 10.50.21Once you’ve ironed the whole sheet, you’ll want to turn it over so that you can focus a little more on the area where the two sheets overlap.

2014-11-10 11.00.26If you press it a little longer, those sheets will bond together.

2014-11-10 11.01.45Once you have the whole sheet ironed so that it’s bonded together, let it sit until it’s cool to the touch.

Once it’s cool, you can cut out the pattern pieces and they’ll be nice and sturdy. I always cut them along the largest size for the pattern so that I can always size it down if I have to. Sizing down is always easier than trying to size it up.

2014-11-10 11.07.24

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