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Do I need a pattern to copy and sew an existing dress?

(10 Posts)
Mercedes Wed 17-May-17 12:37:47

I've promised to make my dd a dress like one she already has. It's fairly straight forward - back and front with some tiny straps.

I had planned to lay the dress down on the new material and trace and cut round it. When I looked online there was all sorts about folding the dress over (in half longways) or tracing it onto paper. Do I need to do this?

Has anyone copied their clothes who can advise please.

GoodyGoodyGumdrops Wed 17-May-17 12:46:57

How experienced are you? Have you ever made clothes before? If not, I'd be included to buy a similar pattern. If you're a confident sewer, then you could certainly try making your own pattern, but I would trace the dress first onto paper. You do need to do the halves thing, otherwise it will not come out symmetrical. Remember to leave Sean and hem allowances, as well as making any facings. I've done this, with...mixed...results wink It's fun, challenging, and very satisfying.

LIZS Wed 17-May-17 12:48:54

As long as it has no darts etc I'd just trace it piece by piece.

banivani Wed 17-May-17 12:48:58

Depends on how precise you want to be. If you put the dress down and trace around it, there is no way you can get the left and the right side perfectly even. (However I assume you're doing it on doubled fabric at least!). So you end up with an individual right and an individual left and it's very particular then how they fit together. You won't be able to join the left bit to the right bit. (Ask me how I know this...) So if you double the dress you get identical sides. I hope you understand me! So it depends a little on how careful you want to be. You could wing it, esp if fabric is inexpensive and it's only a child's dress anyway. See how it goes and you learn from your mistakes ... ;)

Mercedes Wed 17-May-17 18:01:06

It's for my teenage dd so it's not that big (long) a dress and I know I've got to cut it on the bias to get the stretch and flow. Will that make a difference to the cutting out?

I was going to do it with material doubled over and trace around all of it While I can see you will get symmetrical front and back why wouldn't it match as a whole piece if you did it this way?

The material only cost £3 so I can afford to make mistakes. I relooked at the dress and their are 2 darts in the front. Will that make a difference to my cutting?

Is this getting more complicated?

banivani Wed 17-May-17 19:18:12

Ah sure you can give it a go for 3 pounds. ;) Let's see if I can explain what I meant - you're lines will invariably be a little wobbly and you might end one side a little higher than the other, so you'll have to be careful you've got all the material facing the right way when you cut because the pieces won't be interchangeable. Does that make sense? Other than that not massively difficult. Bias is trickier though, because the fabric shifts and stretches when you sew (and you have to get the bias right so the pieces are straight on the bias, but I assume you know that).

The darts can be trickier. I'd recommend the approach to see how the dress is put together, like is it one big rectangle sewn on to a small rectangle and then two mini-rectangles for straps? Then you cut out bits like that and look at where the darts go on the original and copy. If we're talking rectangles it's not so hard. I mean, the process is part of the fun. :D

Mercedes Wed 17-May-17 23:21:22

yes it's a rectangle but one that widens as you go down - can't remember my shapes.

I think I can work out the darts as it would just be wider/longer at bust area so would cut straight before narrowing at top and cutting in. I think

Thank you banivani I will give it a go at weekend

banivani Thu 18-May-17 06:43:21

You can't do worse than fail, right? smile

CaulkheadUpNorf Sat 20-May-17 15:14:10

I've taken a dress apart before, traced round it onto paper or an old sheet and then sewn it back together again. This worked well when it had darts as I could then work out exactly where they went.

I probably wouldn't do this to someone else's clothes unless I was super confident though...

u32ng Thu 01-Jun-17 13:51:11

I came on mumsnet to ask thfor exact same question, except for myself. I have a dress I love and would like to recreate it. I'm new to dressmaking though so thinking I may need to get a few dresses sewn before going off piste!

Maybe worth getting a tracing wheel OP? A few tutorials I looked up online used it to trace seam lines.

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