How to Add Seam Allowances to Traced Patterns...the Easy Way

Monday, November 16, 2009
There has been some chat on various sewing lists and forums lately about tracing patterns and adding seam allowances to them, so here is a repeat of a tutorial I wrote several months ago that some of you may have missed and may find helpful...


For those of us who draft our own patterns, or trace them from the various pattern magazines, here's an easy way to add seam allowances--


It's very simple...and while not a new concept, I do it a bit differently.

The method is basic:
Add the seam allowance to the pattern by stitching around the pattern using an un-threaded needle the desired distance from the sewing line.

What's different about the way I do it?

Well...I have discovered that by using a large Wing Needle, and a very close stitch (.5-1), the excess pattern paper just peels off. No need to cut out the pattern!

Some more information--

I run the pattern through the machine...the traced stitching line of the pattern on the RIGHT....making sure the stitching line of the pattern is on the seam allowance I want. Thus, the needle holes are punched to the left of the stitching line, adding the seam allowance.

I can see through the pattern paper easily enough to be able to run the marked stitching line exactly on the 1/4", 3/8", or 5/8" inch line that is marked on the bed of my machine. If I can't see through the paper easily, I just use a post-it or piece of blue "painter's tape" along the desired depth of seam allowance I want to add.

After getting a few questions...here are some additional pictures that hopefully will make this process more clear:

1. Mark the desired seam allowance with painter's tape to make it visible under the pattern to which you are adding allowances--



2. The blue line on the paper (shown below) is the traced pattern line. Run it along the desired depth of seam allowance you want to add (see depth of seam allowance pic above), using a wing needle. This punches holes in the pattern paper, adding the seam allowance (the distance from the needle to the blue traced line is the added seam allowance)--