I’m quite sure you know this feeling: once upon a time, you owned a gorgeous, store-bought garment that actually fit perfectly. This is wonderful. What’s not so wonderful about it is that after wearing it all the time, it reaches this point where you really cannot wear it any longer!
What to do?
It isn’t always easy to find a pattern that matches the style lines and ease of the beloved garment. To avoid fitting problems and to make sure your new garment looks exactly like the old one, there is one perfect solution: copy the garment!
This tutorial shows you how to copy a garment without taking it apart.
On the left: a picture from me wearing the original dress. I loved the shape and the comfort of this dress, but the fabric is pilling already.
On the right: my rub-off dress in a sparkly fabric. I feel like a million bucks! I also added some width to the hip area to give myself a bit more wearing ease.
Now, onto the tutorial!
What you’ll need
- A large piece of cardboard
- Paper scissors
- Pattern paper/ tracing paper
- Sharp pencil
- Original garment
How to copy a garment
Place the piece of cardboard flat on the table (or on the ground if your table isn’t big enough). Place a layer of pattern paper on top of the cardboard. Place your garment as flat as possible onto this surface.
Start by pinning one part (for example, front piece) onto the cardboard, using pins. You pin straight through the seamlines. Make sure your pin goes through the garment, the pattern paper, and into your cardboard. This is where a thimble or pins with a glass head come in handy. Trace the whole piece of this garment with pins. Don’t worry about the other parts yet, we’ll get to those soon!
Remove pins and garment from your pattern paper and put the garment aside. If everything went okay, you will find your pattern paper to be pierced. These holes are the holes made by your pins. They form the pattern piece.
Connect the dots! You can use a ruler or curve if necessary
Name your pattern piece and write down which garment it belongs too (for example, dress Hanne) Make sure you mark all seams, grainline, if the piece needs to be placed on the fold and so on! Make sure you also add placement markings for pockets, darts…
If you prefer seam allowance on the pattern pieces, add those as well. Usually, it’s about 1 cm-1.5 cm for seams and 2 cm-2.5 cm for hems.
Repeat this process for each part of the garment: front, back, collar, sleeves…
Below you can see my finished pattern pieces
You are ready to go ahead and cut out your fabric and sew up your garment! Happy sewing!