How to Trace a Sewing Pattern Onto Fabric?

If you have a sewing pattern that you’d like to use but don’t know how to trace it onto fabric, don’t worry! It’s actually a lot easier than you might think. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll be ready to start sewing in no time!

Follow these steps to trace a pattern onto the fabric.

  1. Determine the size of the pattern you need
  2. Cut out fabric for seam allowance (usually 1/4″) all around pattern
  3. Lay the fabric flat and place the pattern on top
  4. Trace around each piece of clothing using a pencil or chalk
  5. Cut out each traced shape from the fabric
  6. Pin pieces together and cut along lines where indicated by markings
  7. Fold in any darts and stitch to finish your project!

What is a Sewing Pattern?

A sewing pattern is usually a “pull-out” article that you can find in many women’s fashion or home decorating magazines. It contains easy-to-follow instructions on how to cut out the clothing items, sew them together and add necessary trims and accessories. The pattern also always contains a size chart that you can use to determine which size is best for your measurements.

It is important to note that sewing patterns are usually for children’s, men’s or women’s clothing items. The exact same pattern might not be used for all these options. For example, the pattern pieces usually have a “male” or “female” marking on them to indicate where you can cut out certain sections of the fabric.

Do Sewing Patterns Come With Instructions?

Yes, most sewing patterns come with some sort of instructions. It would be difficult to provide the measurements needed for each person’s body on a piece of paper. To address this, the pattern pieces come with specific markings. These markings indicate where to place the pattern on a person’s body. By following these markings you get a more customized fit for your sewing project.

What Is Pattern Drafting?

So, if sewing patterns have measurements on them, how do people use different sizes of patterns? That’s where pattern drafting comes in. Pattern drafting is the process used to alter a standard sewing pattern to fit your body measurements. You can use this method with any standard-sized pattern and an old pair of jeans or other clothing to get a custom fit for any project!

Pattern Drafting Method:

  1. Determine how much you’d like the dress to be altered (i.e. more length, larger bust area)
  2. Measure an existing piece of clothing that fits the way you’d like your new dress to fit (bust, waist, hips, etc.).
  3. Draw a 2″ grid on the pieces of paper for tracing- each square should represent 1/2 inch (1/4″ seam allowance included)
  4. Follow lines on pattern and make corresponding marks on your altered grid
  5. Trace along these lines onto a new piece of paper or fabric to create a custom pattern
  6. Add 1″ to width and height measurements before cutting out fabric pieces to ensure a proper fit

How to Properly Take Out a Sewing Pattern on Fabric

To ensure that your new pattern is ready to go, you’ll need to take out the old pattern. However, it’s important not to just rip out the old stitching or you could damage or distort your fabric! Follow these easy steps for taking out a sewing pattern.

  1. Cut underline of the garment by pattern markings

First of all, start by cutting along the stitching line of your pattern. The line you will be cutting is called the underlining and should not include seam allowances or markings. Make sure to cut underneath the stitching so you don’t damage the fabric. After this, remove your pattern piece from the garment.

  1. Cut seam allowance

After removing your sketched sewing pattern, it’s time to cut off the excess fabric around your pattern. Using a rotary cutter or scissors, carefully cut along the appropriate markings on your pattern to preserve your seam allowances.

  1. Take out pattern pieces one by one

Now that you have the underlining cut out of your garment, it’s time to start taking out the rest of your pattern! Using a seam ripper or small sharp scissors, remove all stitching from inside the seams until you’ve reached the center back or hem of your garment. When doing this it is important to stay as close to the stitching line as possible so you don’t cut into the actual fabric of your garment.

  1. Check and mark seams and darts

After completely removing your old sewing pattern, use a ruler and chalk or pencil to check all seams and dart markings on your paper pattern for accuracy. Be sure to double check all darts to make sure they are open. If any markings are incorrect, use your seam ripper or small sharp scissors to remove the marking properly and then re-mark it on the right side of the garment.

  1. Make final adjustments

It’s important that each piece of your pattern fit together well before cutting out your fabric. Measure each pattern piece individually to be sure it is the correct size. If any pieces do not fit together properly, you may need to alter the seam allowance of the adjoining pieces.

  1. Use the adjusted pattern

Now that your old sewing pattern has been removed and all markings have been checked, it’s time to cut out your fabric! Follow each marking on the paper (or fabric) with chalk or a pin to get an accurate fit for your new garment. And there you go! You can use this process for any pattern and fabric to get a custom fit for your next sewing project.

How to Trace Pattern Onto Tracing Paper?

Tracing is very easy!! You need to simply place your pattern paper or sheet on the fabric you are using. Trace the necessary pattern pieces onto your fabric with a pencil or chalk. Use spiral binder clips to hold the paper in place while tracing.

  1. Place your pattern paper on top of the material

First of all, you need to place your pattern paper over the fabric you are using. The most important thing to remember when placing your pattern paper is that you must make sure the grain lines are running in the same direction as your chosen fabric.

  1. Use chalk or pencil

Secondly, use a pencil or chalk to trace along each line of your pattern onto your fabric. The best type of chalk to use is tailor’s chalk. It does not rub or smudge easily.

  1. Fasten paper with binder clips

Fourthly, once you have traced your pattern lines onto your material, use spiral binder clips to hold the pattern paper in place until you are ready to cut it out. Binder clips are much safer than pins when using certain fabrics like silk or velvet since they can leave small holes in the fabric.

  1. Cut off excess fabric

Finally, pin the clipped sketch of your pattern onto the fabric and use sharp scissors to carefully cut around all your traced lines. Always remember that any markings for darts should be left unsewn so that they may be pressed open before stitching together! And there you go! It’s easy as 1- 2- 3!!

How to choose the best tracing paper for fabric?

The best tracing paper for fabric is a high-quality white paper with a low-to-medium-weight rating. A thicker rating may not allow the pencil to move easily across the surface while a thinner rating could cause you to make incorrect markings on your fabric or leave tracks through it.

When choosing tracing paper, pay attention to the dimensions of each sheet. If you are using a large sheet of paper to trace multiple pattern pieces onto the fabric, make sure to use it all up before changing sheets. This ensures that each marking is accurate.

How to Trace Pattern Onto Fabric With Permanent Marking Pen?

Permanent marking pens are designed specifically for transferring markings on the fabric. It’s best not to use a pencil since the markings will fade over time and may disappear altogether. When using a permanent pen, it is important to shake well before each use in order to remove all pigment clumps. Also, it is best to use a pen with an ultra-fine tip so the markings are clear and easy to follow on the fabric surface.

First, turn your pattern upside down so that when you trace the markings onto the fabric they will be in their correct direction.

I recommend using a white colored pencil for dark surfaces just like tracing paper or black color pencil for light fabrics.

Place one edge of the pattern firmly against the fold of your fabric. Then place all similar pieces of pattern together before transferring markings onto them. Markings go on both sides of each piece whether front or backside.

These markings should match lines on your pattern paper once you turn it over after putting traced pieces together.

Tips for Tracing a Sewing Pattern On Fabric

  • Please use a tailor’s chalk or water-soluble marker for tracing patterns onto the fabric.
  • Most importantly, always be gentle when using a marking tool on the fabric, especially with darker fabrics. You want to avoid piercing or marking your stitches.
  • Once you have completed your markings, it is necessary to remove them before cutting out the pieces of fabric. This will prevent any chance of transferring the markings onto your material.
  • To remove marks from the fabric, you can use a damp cloth to wipe away permanent markers or an eraser for pencil marks. If using a wet cloth, be sure to lay down a pressing cloth first!
  • If traces remain after removing marks with water and an eraser, try turning the garment inside out so that the markings are visible on the wrong side of the fabric. Then rub a bar of soap directly on top of the markings until they lift off completely.
  • When working with patterns that need to be altered (such as shortening or lengthening) it is best to make these changes before tracing your original pattern onto your fabric piece. This will allow you to better match seam lines since more of the pattern will be shown on your material.


At last, I would like to recommend the best product for you. It is Tidy Books Sewing Pattern, Tracing Paper. The pattern paper comes in perforated sheets that are easy to tear off along the marked lines, leaving smooth edges behind.

So, what do you think?

Hope this article can help you in making Sewing Patterns! Enjoy 🙂

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