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A Sewing Pattern Explained

the blouse sewing

Over the past several years sewing as a hobby, opposed to as a job or mending items for your family, has exploded with thousands of new sewists joining the community around the world.

This has been driven by a new wave of independent sewing pattern companies with modern designs and easy to follow instructions, as well as fabric shops that listen to what their customers want. These days, sewing is not just a game for Grandmas! 

Sewing patterns are the backbone of creating great garments and is how designers and sewists communicate. Simply put, a sewing pattern is a 2D template of your chosen garment.

Essentially, the sewing pattern is an envelope that has the garment you would be making on the cover. Once you have choosen the garment that you would like to make the envelope will inform you on how much fabric and any other relevant haberdashery that you would need. Once yo have purchased all your items, you'll sew the garment together using a sewing machine.

So what do you get when you buy a sewing pattern?

Your pattern will come with all of the necessary parts and information to create your chosen new garment. It will instruct you to measure yourself, choose a size based on these measurements, and cut out or trace this size from the pattern sheet (there will usually be multiple size lines printed on to the paper). The pattern pieces will also have information on them instructing you how to correctly place them onto your fabric for best results. You will then cut out your fabric, transferring any important markings from the pattern piece - these will be incredibly useful when sewing.

sewing patterns

The sewing pattern will also tell you exactly what you need to create your garment, including fabric type and amount, sewing supplies such as zips and buttons, and the tools you will need such as pins, specialist fabric scissors and thread (you can get a perfectly curated set of sewing supplies on our website).

Finally, you will usually receive a booklet, or sheet of instructions on how to construct your garment. Some sewing pattern companies go into more detail than others, including images and even sew-along tutorials online.

All in all, a sewing pattern is all the information that you need to create an amazing garment that you will cherish for years to come.

sewing patterns explained

At The Avid Seamstress, we offer all of our sewing patterns as physical paper copies that will be sent to you in the post, or as downloadable PDF files.

Physical Paper Patterns

Our physical paper sewing patterns will be shipped to you in the post and will include:

  • Sewing pattern sheets printed on high-quality A0 paper. You may receive more than one A0 sheet depending on the size of the pattern.
  • A beautifully printed, easy to follow instruction booklet that takes you through each step of making your garment, with helpful photographs or drawn pictures alongside each step. 
  • Size and measurement guides, including information on how to measure yourself correctly and choose a size based on your measurements.
  • Checklist of everything you will need to make your garment.
  • Comes packaged in a sturdy envelope for safe storage.

PDF "Digital" Patterns

A PDF or otherwise known "digital" sewing pattern is an instant download of the product. You'll receive all the items as PDF documents and can either print the pattern sheet at home on a home printer and put together or you can print the paper pattern sheet at a copy shop. 

Alot of sewists like digital patterns because they are cheaper than the printed product and it arrives instantly, so no waiting for the postman. Most sewists put the pattern sheet together and then work off the instructions on screen. 

Our PDF patterns are available on our Etsy store as digital products. Once you have completed checkout of your pattern(s), they will be available for immediate download in your purchase history and will also be sent to your email address.

Files include:

  • Print-at-home A4 pattern.
  • Print-at-home US Letter pattern.
  • A0 pattern for copy shop printing (this is the same as what you would receive in a physical paper pattern).
  • Information booklet including size and measurement guides, as well as fabric and supplies required.
  • Easy to follow instruction booklet that takes you through each step of making your garment, with helpful pictures alongside each step.

If you've never used a PDF pattern before, check out our handy guide here.

We hope you found this guide to sewing patterns useful, but feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions -