• Noor Bchara

Pattern Making Tools I Use Most Often


Making my own patterns and samples is a big part of my design process when I'm creating upcycled pieces. This really allows me to design in a 3 dimensional way vs a flat sketch on paper. Designing into upcycled fabric is more complicated since I'm usually working with smaller shapes from deconstructed garments or fabric scraps.


It really helps me to lay out the garment pieces on the table to see the sizes that my pattern pieces have to fit into. This also helps to define what I am designing and ensures that my design will work. Sometimes I'll add extra seams just to make the pattern pieces fit into my upcycled fabric pieces.


If you are new to pattern making and draping, I recommend checking out the draping and pattern making tutorials on University Of Fashion.



Here is my list of pattern making tools:



1. PATTERN PAPER

PATTERN PAPER is a must-have when making patterns. It can be purchased in small amounts such as 10 yards at a time but is more cost-effective to buy the entire roll.




2. TRACING PAPER

You'll need TRACING PAPER to transfer your muslin shapes to pattern paper or to make a copy of a pattern piece.



3. FRENCH CURVE

The FRENCH CURVE is used for drafting the armhole and neckline shapes.



4. RULER

This clear plastic RULER is great for being precise with your measurements and adding in the seam allowance.



5. HIP CURVE

I usually use a HIP CURVE to smooth out the bigger curve shapes such as the hips.



6. L-SQUARE

I use the L-SQUARE to square off corners.





7. PATTERN WEIGHTS

PATTERN WEIGHTS are great to have for tracing from muslin to pattern paper, cutting, or to keep the pattern still on the table when making adjustments. You can always use a heavy book or other objects you have on hand.




8. PINS

Sewing PINS are needed for pinning the muslin pieces together.





9. MUSLIN

MUSLIN is used for draping garments on the dress form or creating a rub-off from an existing garment.






10. DRESS FORM

The DRESS FORM is used as the body shape to drape muslin onto.





11. PENCIL

I like this mechanical PENCIL for drafting patterns and marking on muslin.



12. SCOTCH TAPE

SCOTCH TAPE is for taping pieces of pattern making paper together or adding more paper to make an existing pattern shape bigger.





13. PAPER SCISSORS

PAPER SCISSORS are for cutting out paper patterns.



14. FABRIC SCISSORS

Having a good, sharp pair of FABRIC SCISSORS is really important for cutting muslin and fabric to make samples. Make sure you take care of these properly by only using them to cut fabric and threads and never paper or anything else. You will also want to get them sharpened regularly.


15. TRACING WHEEL

The TRACING WHEEL is used for transferring muslin shapes to pattern making paper with tracing paper.


16. AWL

The AWL is useful for when pivoting patterns around and moving darts. The point of an awl is quite sharp, like a spike and much thicker than a pin.


17. NOTCHER

The NOTCHER is used for punching out the notches on the pattern pieces.




18. MASKING TAPE

I use MASKING TAPE for taping pieces of muslin together while I'm draping.






19. COLORED PENS

COLORED PENS are great for color coding the pattern pieces on the cutters must as well as indicating them directly on the pattern pieces. I also use them on the muslin if my original lines change, I will draw the new ones in a different color.




20. RABBIT PUNCH

The RABBIT PUNCH is for punching a whole in each pattern piece so that the pattern can be hung on a pattern hook. You can also fold the pattern pieces and put them in an 8 1/2" x 11" envelope.



21. PATTERN HOOKS

PATTERN HOOKS are used for hanging the pattern pieces. Each pattern is hung on a separate pattern hook and kept with the cutters must on top.




22. MEASURING TAPE

MEASURING TAPE is for measuring when draping with muslin.







23. CUTTERS MUST

The CUTTERS MUST is the information page that comes with the pattern. It specifies the pattern number, brand, season, and lists off all the pieces that belong in a particular style and if they are self, combo, lining and fusible as well as specific sewing instructions such as topstitching and the amount of seam allowance.





You can download your CUTTERS MUST template here:


Hi, I'm Noor Bchara

I'm the founder of NOORISM, a repurposed denim brand where we create new, elevated pieces from second hand jeans. I'm an adjunct professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City where I teach about Upcycling and Repurposed design. 

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