Sewing tools, part 3: Pattern writing

This is a multi-post series, if you missed the first 2 parts you can find them here: Sewing Tools Part 1: Measuring and here: Sewing Tools Part 2: Pressing

At any point in your sewing journey, you may want to try your hand at drafting your own patterns. Here's a roundup of some of the helpful supplies and gadgets I usually have on hand when drafting a pattern.

Roll of paper

Whether you regularly trace independent/commercial sewing patterns to preserve the originals or try to draft your own sewing patterns from scratch, having a large roll of semi-transparent paper on hand will prove invaluable.

You can simply use newspaper or smaller sheets of paper taped together, but a roll like this is quite inexpensive and a useful addition to your sewing space.

Brown kraft paper or butcher paper are options, but I prefer to use a white roll as I can see through it, which makes it easy to trace and transfer any important information like seam lines and seam allowances , grain lines, notches, darts, folds. , bust points, drilling holes, etc.

Try to get one wide enough (at least 1 meter, wider is even better) to make it easier to trace larger pattern pieces.

Dot and cross patterned paper

Essentially the same as described above, with the useful addition of small markings (dots, crosses or sometimes numbers) on the paper itself to simplify drawing straight/parallel/perpendicular lines and make it easier alignment in general.

Swedish tracing paper

This thing is so cool, it acts like paper but sews like fabric. Its paper-like quality means you can easily write all of your pattern information on the pattern pieces, but it is more durable than paper, meaning you can make much of the pattern directly with these pieces from the boss, potentially eliminating the need to do so. make a canvas. When you take this into consideration, the fact that you may not need to make a canvas helps offset the somewhat high price.

Roll of cardstock

If you are at the beginning of your sewing journey, you can most likely do without it as the previously mentioned papers will be enough, but once you want to draw your own blocks or flats or design your own patterns, then it will be a worthwhile investment. Cardboard will be more durable than paper, which is important if you plan to use the design repeatedly, as it will be better able to withstand the wear and tear of multiple handling.

Patterned hooks

These useful gadgets are perfect for hanging your models for storage; this can be long-term or mid-project if you just need to remove the pieces to free up space. I tend to have a few paper models of projects in progress next to some blocks/slopes that I have drawn, hanging from a metal rod that I have suspended from the ceiling. You can just hang them on hangers, but patterned hooks reduce clutter and are quick and easy to access.

Pattern punch

In order to place your designs on the hook, you will need to punch a hole in it, but the hole must be large enough to accommodate the size of the pattern hooks, which is larger than a regular hole punch. Professional template drafting punches are heavy and expensive, but you should be able to get a cheaper portable single-hole punch, like I did, which will do just about the job.


While we're looking at hole punches, let's not forget the trusty notcher. This gadget allows you to clip both your paper and fabric pattern pieces to outline all the important points on a garment, ensuring that one pattern piece will line up perfectly with its corresponding pattern piece. Using your notches as guides, you'll be able to accurately align seam lines, more delicate curved seams like armholes, pockets, seam allowance values ​​and more.

Tracing wheel

A tracing wheel is useful for transferring pattern lines or important markings to paper or cardstock, just watch out for those tips!


This seems obvious, but you'll need a sharp pencil to draw out your design. An H graphite pencil will work, or you can use a click mechanical pencil for a consistent tip that won't dull. The more specific, the better.

I also like to use a blue pencil on one end and red on the other, you can then use the blue to trace and the red to make corrections.

Leave me a comment below if you have any other favorite template drafting tools and supplies.

Stay tuned for future posts I have planned that will cover other nice-to-have sewing gadgets!

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