Swedish Pattern Paper

Awhile ago I got a book called Real Fit for Real People out from the library. It’s got some very useful tips on fitting patterns.

I am realizing more and more that it’s important to create a muslin – a sort of “first draft” made in cheap fabric, usually (duh) muslin. I always want to skip that step and get straight to sewing, but then there’s just something a little off with the garment and I don’t wear it, so I’ve wasted far more time than if I had made it.

The book shows you how to “pattern” fit using tissue paper patterns made by most commercial pattern companies. I downloaded the Tova Pattern to make myself a little dress, or shirt, haven’t decided yet. Since it’s a PDF pattern that prints off on 8.5×11 it’s not conducive to tissue fitting, but I also didn’t want to make an entire muslin given that it’s a rather loose drapey pattern and not particularly tailored.

Swedish pattern paper is a step between the tissue and the paper – it’s thin and cheap and easy to trace on, and stiff enough to use with a pattern. But it can also be sewed, pinned and even washed. I’ve been using it for tracing patterns from books too, like the backpacks, and it’s really great to work with. Not that easy to find at regular fabric stores (or maybe I’m just looking in the wrong place) but I found some online for very little.

Adventures with Swedish Pattern Paper

Anyway, here I am making a sort of half-muslin with the Swedish pattern paper. I’m standing on an angle, so you can’t really tell, but the centre line of the dress fell right down my middle (not including seam allowance), length was right etc. It takes a little imagination to picture the garment, but I got enough of a sense that I don’t think any major adjustments are needed before I cut into the fabric. I’m still deciding whether this dress will be chambray (most likely) or a shorter, blouse-length voile. Things to ponder.

Still have to put the final touches on the dress I did at the Workshop too. Didn’t make a muslin for that and had to let it out a wee bit around the hips, but it’s still quite cute.

Vintage Pattern Fun

I have a bad habit of going on eBay and ordering adorable vintage children’s patterns that I will never make. It’s funny because I’m not much of a stockpiler – living in a small space does that, but I have at least a dozen of these, probably spurred on by watching too much Mad Men.


This one made me laugh. Nowadays Gymboree has a “Husky” section. Back then they were more upfront – “suitable for chubbies.” One hopes that “Patsy”, for whom this pattern was apparently destined, never caught sight of the notation.