How to use a sewing pattern

How To Use A Sewing Pattern-Easiest Way

I don’t know about you, but there is something therapeutic about sewing. It might seem tricky at first but once you get it, you are already weaving your own designs. But beginners usually struggle with patterned sewing. And to fix that, we have just the topic for you: sewing patterns!

How to use a sewing pattern? It takes a lot of patience to sew. You will also need to know how to follow the pattern step-by-step. Especially for sewing patterns, you have to follow the instructions on a pattern sheet and understand the notation of which way to sew.

Not sure if you should use a sewing pattern? Or are you confused about what to use and what fabrics should be used? Well then, this article is for you! Read on to find out how to use a sewing pattern and make your sewing designs even better.

Key Takeaway

  • You have a selection between hand and machine sewing. It is up to you which one you want to use depending on the type of fabric.
  • You can buy sewing patterns in stores, online, or copy a vintage style. Just remember to get the instruction sheet to make your sewing easier.
  • To follow a sewing pattern, you will need to prepare carefully before starting on the actual sewing.
  • There are many fabrics. Both man-made and natural. Pick whichever one you want.

What Can Use? Hand Or Machine?

Now that you want to start sewing, you will need to know what to use to sew. Let’s get started! Firstly, you will need the pins and pincushions, scissors, a seam ripper to calculate seam allowance, and an iron and ironing board to make sure the fabric is smooth and your sewing is precise. But there are differences in equipment depending on what you will use to sew.

Now the difficult question: should sew by hand or use a machine? For a sewing pattern, it does not really matter which type you are using.



Sewing by hand is more precise for intricate details, but at the same time you can be inconsistent and it is time-consuming to sew by hand. You will need a thimble to protect your fingers and a sewing needle. It is advised to use hand sewing for embroidery, cross-stitching, or general repairs.



Machines are fast and easy to follow patterns, but they take up a lot of space and have a high learning curve that you need before you are able to carefully follow the patterns. You will need a sewing machine, presser feet, and bobbins. Machine sewing is more for garments, quilting, and buttonholes. But you can also use it for sewing patterns, but you will have less control if you have not mastered the sewing machine.

So what should you use?

You should choose whatever you are comfortable with. A hand is better for more precise and difficult patterns. A machine is good for easy patterns and difficult fabrics like leather. It is up to you to decide which one you want to use and I suggest going with what you already know.

Types Of Sewing Pattern

Now that you have decided which sewing instrument to use, it is now time to choose your sewing patterns.

Types of sewing pattern
Types of sewing pattern

Some types are:

  • Easy-Fit

Simple designs which are great for beginners

  • Designers

Following an expert’s design should be done for more experienced sewers.

  • Vintage

If you want to follow a specific era’s design, then Google is your friend. Check out some eras and see the type of sewing patterns that were used back then.

  • Digital

These are available online, and if you buy them from online shops make sure the instruction pattern sheet is available with the pattern’s purchase.

  • Custom-Fit

Again, if you are more experienced then you can design your own sewing patterns on custom fits!

Remember, if you are purchasing a sewing pattern, always make sure there are instruction pattern sheets for your sewing pattern. Trust me, you will thank me later if you have an instruction sheet. It will make your life so much easier!

How To Follow A Sewing Pattern?

Got your sewing kit? Got your sewing pattern? Great! Now let’s see how to follow a sewing pattern. You will have to make some preparation before getting started with your sewing.

How to follow a sewing pattern
How to follow a sewing pattern


A good sewing session starts with good preparation. Instead of moving around trying to find what you need, get everything organized!

  • Measuring table: You need to be precise on measurements to not mess up your sewing. The patterns might have complex designs so you will need to measure out as accurately as possible.

Gather your materials: What fabric you will be using, marking tools and paper templates you need to draw on, your sewing kit, scissors to cut out your fabric, etc. Get them all in order.

Time To Start Sewing

Got everything you need? Fantastic! Now let’s get started on what you need to do step by step:

Time to start sewing
Time to start sewing
  • Drawing out the stitching patterns: Draw the stitching patterns on a paper template. Make sure you follow the pattern instruction paper whether it is dotted lines or straight lines. This is very important so take as much time as you need.

A trick that I use is I use the marking tool to number the steps as I go along. That way I know which part of the sewing comes next!

  • Cut the fabric: Cut the fabric using your paper templates. Take it slow and be as precise as possible. You can cut more than what’s needed but cutting it short will become a problem. What you can do is trace the template on the fabric and then cut it. Copy the stitching instructions as per your template and the instruction papers. This will be your guideline when you start sewing.
  • Start sewing: This is it. This is what you have been waiting for. It is time to start sewing. Follow the instruction on the paper carefully. What you have marked on the fabric should match the instructions. Follow the stitching patterns used, and repeatedly check to see if you are using the right stitch. The instruction is your guide so regularly check to see if you are on the right path.

And that is it for sewing patterns! Do know that sometimes there are overlapping done on sewing patterns so those definitely need to have the right stitch done. Otherwise, one mistake early on and you have to start all over again or fix your mistake.

What Fabric Is Used For Sewing?

The type of fabric that you use for sewing can of two types:

Natural Fiber

Natural fiber comes directly from plants and animals. And there are various types too!

Natural fiber
Natural fiber

These could be:

  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • Jute/Bamboo
  • Wool
  • Silk
  • Leather

Man-Made Fiber

There are a lot of man-made fibers out there for you to sew patterns. Some are alternatives to natural fibers.

Man made fiber
Man made fiber

These are:

  • Polyester
  • Rayon
  • Nylon

And from these there are the types of fabrics made:

  • Twill
  • Satin
  • Velvet
  • Chiffon
  • Suede
  • Cashmere
  • Spandex

I could go on but I think you get the idea. There are many fabrics you can choose from. Some are man-made fabrics like spandex and chiffon. Others like cashmere and velvet are from more natural sources. It really depends on the type of design you are trying to make and the fabric you use to make it. Totally up to you!


What is seam allowance?

A. This is the gap between the edge of the seam and the stitching line (usually about 2cm). This gap is to ensure there is enough material before joining two pieces of fabric together.

Is a sewing machine better than hand sewing?

Hand sewing is more precise and you have a lot of control, but it is time-consuming and inconsistent. A sewing machine is more consistent and faster, but you give up control and precision. Some sewing is possible only on a sewing machine depending on the type of fabric used.

Can I make my own sewing pattern?

Of course, you can! It takes a lot of time, effort, and making mistakes but you can make your own sewing pattern. Make sure to make a step-by-step instruction guide to help you not get lost.

Is it difficult to follow a sewing pattern?

If you label all the steps correctly and follow the instructions on paper, it won’t be hard. The difficulty will be in the difficulty of the stitch and if there are overlapping parts that need different stitches you haven’t learned yet.

Can I sew a pattern on leather?

Yes you can. However, leather is a very tough fabric. So you will need to use a sewing machine to draw patterns on leather. That is why leather sewing patterns are much simpler because it needs a sewing machine.

Final Thoughts

I hope after reading this you are now more aware of how to use a sewing pattern. They are a fun pastime and can make your clothes more fashionable. Whether you pick it up as a hobby or want to become a weaver, sewing patterns will always be helpful. Once you are more experienced in sewing patterns, you may not even need instructions. With enough experience, you can make your own sewing patterns!

It is all about practice. Keep on working on your sewing, follow the patterns and you will be making your own patterns in no time.


Hey I’m Sherry Howes an expert in sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. With a passion for fiber arts and a talent for crafting, I Have spent years improving my skills and sharing knowledge with others. Whether teaching a class or creating a new project, I’m always excited to share my love of crafting with the world. I like researching new techniques and trends in the crafting arts community.

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