Sunday, April 1, 2001

Techniques: Adding Seam Allowances to Burda WOF/Style Patterns

(For anyone without a tracing "accessory" who traces patterns w/o seam allowances.)

While thinking about sewing a pair of Burda WOF pants for my DS and before I actually started, I had an epiphanal moment. I don't mind tracing patterns, but it's always a bit more tedious to add the seam allowances to Burda WOF patterns which are printed w/o any. The epiphany was when I thought of adding the seam allowances with my sewing machine!

I traced the patterns onto Swedish Tracing Paper and then rough cut them, leaving about an inch around each pattern piece.

I measured out 1/2" in a small spot on one piece, brought that piece to my machine and using my widest foot, I aligned the left edge of the foot with the sewing line of the pattern piece and moved my needle to match the 1/2" mark. I saved this stitch setting to my machine's memory.

With my machine loaded up with really cheap thread and one of my leftover bobbins of an odd color from another project, I sewed around the pattern piece, which had the effect of adding a 1/2" seam allowance marking. I can sew a whole lot faster than I can measure and add a uniform seam allowance to a traced pattern, so I am definitely going to use this method from now on. It's so fast, and completely brainless!

I also tried it without any thread and I like that method too, although it wouldn't be as visible on light colored fabric.

Swedish Tracing Paper is my usual medium for tracing patterns because it's sewable, and it "sticks" to the fabric when cutting out. I didn't fine-cut the pattern pieces after adding seam allowances until I had the pattern on the fabric, which is my usual method.

Don't forget you may need to add in extra allowance for hems manually. But for adding seam allowance around curves and other tricky areas, this method is so fast and accurate.

You can also use any width for the seam allowances as long as you're consistent and use this same width when sewing the garment.

Add'l hints:

1. Use a longer than normal stitch length, and maybe loosen your tension depending on your machine.

2. If the stitching puckers after you're done, use a seam zipper and just break the top thread every few inches. This will relax the thread so the tracing paper lays perfectly flat again.

With Thread:



Without Thread:



Close-up:

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