Fuse & Trace Your Patterns!

Fuse & Trace Your Patterns!, originally uploaded by queen puff puff.

I don’t know a single person that likes patterns printed on tissue paper. My favorite patterns are printed on stiffer bond paper or even tag board. But most pattern companies print on lightweight and flimsy tissue that tears and floats away. So what to do?

I iron fusible interfacing to the back of my tissue patterns before I cut them out. It makes them stiff, gives them weight and makes them easier to cut. You’ll also find that they last a LOT longer. You can really use any sort of fusible. I always save my scraps and use those. You can piece together leftovers scraps so it’s a good stash buster!

1. Cut your pattern pieces apart. You don’t need to cut on the line here, just quickly separate them so they are easier to do deal with.

2. Place a pattern piece face down on your ironing board and TURN THE STEAM OFF ON YOUR IRON. Seriously, steam and paper is a bad combo. Quickly iron the pattern flat, making sure there aren’t any creases or wrinkles. Place a piece of interfacing on top of the pattern GLUE SIDE DOWN and quickly fuse on the interfacing. Flip to the right side and give it a quick iron. Repeat for all of your other pieces.

3. Now go ahead and cut out all your pattern pieces. You’ll notice that it’s much easier to cut the fused pattern than soft and flimsy tissue. Cut in your notches. (Just chop off any triangle notches and clip into the triangle)

4. Now lay your fabric out and place your pattern pieces according to the cutting layout. Instead of pinning, just weigh down your pattern pieces with anything heavy like soup cans, tape dispensers, etc. (I never pin because it takes too long and buckles the fabric.)

5. Trace around each pattern piece with tailor chalk, a fabric marker or even a Sharpie. Be sure to mark all your notches!

6. Remove your pattern pieces and cut out your fabric by cutting on the inside of your lines.
This technique is so much faster, easier and more accurate. Give it a try and you’ll never pin again!!!

135 Responses to “Fuse & Trace Your Patterns!”

  1. sarah Says:

    i love this idea. do you ever use a multi size pattern for several sizes by folding over the edges though? do the edges of this still fold over to show smaller sizes?

  2. Erin Says:

    Thanks for this great tip! I’m going to do this with all my patterns!

    Also, I made a dress out of that pink sheet in the 2nd picture. It turned out very cute.

  3. Suzanne P Says:

    Incredible~ my eyes have been opened! Thank you!

  4. StitchCraft Says:

    Sarah - I have never had good luck trying to use different sizes on a multi size pattern. If you do want to use the different sizes, I would recommend getting a roll of cheap butcher paper and laying it on top of your pattern. You should be able to see through it and trace off the size you want. Then go ahead and fuse your traced pattern!

  5. StitchCraft Says:

    Erin & Suzanne - Thanks. I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me. Cutting is always the most boring and tedious part of sewing so I am always looking for ways to speed it up!

  6. Whitney Says:

    I don’t even bother to iron the interfacing on. I buy the cheapest non-fusible interfacing on the bolt (with a coupon, it is never more than $15 and lasts forever) and trace the pattern pieces onto the interfacing. I don’t ever cut the actual pattern so I can refer back to it or use the multiple sizes later.

  7. Lynn Says:

    Oh. Mah. GAWD!

  8. amy Says:

    Genius! I seriously hate trimming patterns. Then some of the pieces float away and get eaten by the dog. I bet this would help!

  9. Nancy Says:

    I iron all my patterns to freezer paper.

  10. Jennifer Says:

    What a genius idea. I want to try the freezer paper thing too! I love freezer paper for quilting, but always struggle with those awful tissue paper things. I really like the idea of tracing them onto the fabric. Smart. I hate pinning!

  11. Elementary, my dear « Moonlight and Magnolias Says:

    […] Thank goodness for people like StitchCraft, who come up with brilliant ideas like ironing your patterns to interfacing. […]

  12. Heather Says:

    Thank you! Thank you! I knew there had to be an easier way!!!

  13. heather jane Says:

    This is totally rad. Thank you!

  14. lori Says:

    WOW! I’m so excited to try this. Thank you!!

  15. StitchCraft Says:

    The freezer paper idea is a good one. Do the pattern pieces still slide? One of the additional benefits of the interfacing is that the patterns kinda “stick” to the fabric.

  16. maritessb Says:

    you’re a genius!

  17. Jami Says:

    Fabulous idea! Where do you buy the fusible interfacing?

  18. Peter joanson Says:

    Only One word to characterize such a great post “WOW” that was a very interesting read

  19. Robin Says:

    Thank you so much! I have been racking my brain trying to come up with something to do about that lousy tissue paper! I really had given up even buying from the pattern companies who use it and they are usually so much cheaper. :)

  20. Mary Says:

    Oh my goodness so many great ideas here. I have a large family and was trying to come up with a way to copy the patterns so I could use the different sizes. The idea about using the interfacing to trace with is a great idea. I think that I may give it a try.

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