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Tools of Pattern Making

A List of the Essential Tools Needed for Pattern Making

All beautiful garments go through a process of an idea, design, pattern, and, finally, construction before we see the beautiful final work. I compiled a list of tools that are needed for the process of making a pattern design and tracing it over to fabric. All of these items are essential to the pattern maker.

1. Pencils and Eraser

2. Pattern-making Paper

3. Rulers

4. Tape

5. Scissors

6. Tracing Wheel

Your Optionals:

7. Awl

8. Pattern Notcher

1. Pencils & Eraser

It seems kind of obvious to think that you would need a pencil to make your patterns, but it is always recommended to use mechanical pencils. The reason why mechanical pencils are used over regular pencils is because you will have the same constant line compared to having to always sharpen the wooden pencil, so there is that convenience of skipping an extra step and getting straight to work. Different color mechanical pencils will also help you distinguish lines that indicate darts, pleats, or draping. Along with a your pencil, a good rubber eraser to erase your mistakes and try again and again.

2. Paper

Paper is also a must since this is where you will have to get creative. For beginners, there is the alphanumeric pattern-making paper that is marked with numbers, letters, and symbols for easy measurements of your patterns. Manila or craft paper is another an excellent choice.

3. Rulers

There are several rulers needed to make your pattern, but the essentials will be your french curve to make necklines and armholes and your clear, straight 2 x 18 ruler. You can always invest in a ruler that combines the hip curve, vary form and french curve all in one, but often the disadvantage is that they may be much pricier and lesser quality compared to the aluminum rulers. 

4. Tape

The best type of tape to use would be one with a matte finish, because this way you will be able to write over and make marks that an invisible, clear tape wouldn't allow you. The tape will most likely be used to add extra pieces of pattern or to make a slash or spread on your pattern.

5. Scissors

Make sure that you have a pair of scissors just to cut paper, making sure that they don't lose their sharpness. 

6. Needle Point Tracing Wheel

A Needle Point Tracing Wheel will be the tool that you need to trace your pattern onto the fabric, making lines that will be identified by type holes left by the needle.

Optional Tools:

7. Awl

No, not owl—an awl is a tool to mark darts, measure curves, and score lines on your patterns. This tool will also come in handy to make holes on leather and other fabric.

8. Pattern Notcher

A Pattern Notcher can be made by cutting small triangles on your patterns to indicate which one goes with which. As suggested: completely optional since you can do this with a pair of scissors by making a small triangle mark, but to keep things neat and professional, a notcher is the way to go.