Thursday, October 25, 2012

Working With Unprinted Patterns

 Since I joined the retro sewing community I realized I was not alone in viewing Unprinted patterns with some trepidation, thinking they need some mystical skill beyond our possession to create. After completing my first dress with one I decided to share my thoughts. 
But first a look at some unprinted styles.

Interesting Shirt Details

These would make great Foundation Garments with their special details.

More Stunning Results

So when are you an accomplished enough sewer to tackle unprinted patterns? I chose these two patterns for our comparison today. Butterick 4440 is from the 40s and Butterick 6226 is from the 50s. 

Can you identify all the pieces shown on the instructions? Most dresses have the same three basic parts, bodice, skirt and sleeve. If you know the basic shapes you should be able to recognize them even if they don't have "SKIRT FRONT" printed on them. Keep your instructions close since they do have the pieces labeled. This pattern has a yoked bodice.

Unprinted patterns do usually have the piece number punched out on them as well so even if you get really lost you can find it on the diagram.

Even if the sewing construction directions confuse you read the little section at the top that talks about Pattern Perforations. Also make sure you find out what seam allowance has been given for the pattern. 

The biggest difference I found is when pieces go on the fold and marking the grainline.

Fold is marked with a triangle of small dots. Grainline is a series of large dots instead of the solid line we are used to. (Don't shoot me pattern preservationists but I did not trace my pattern and may have lightly traced a grainline through the large dots in pencil.)

Sleeve marking is still the same.

As Lynda stated in her interview, unprinted patterns are easier since they are precut to the exact size and all the notches and dots are prepunched. This allows for greater accuracy in marking not to mention less time in pattern prepping.
See the ease of marking buttonholes!
So what did I make? Are you ready to see??

I felt this went the best with the fabric I had chosen and it allowed me to use some BEautiful buttons I picked up when we visited family back East. I tried some new techniques and learned much. To read about the dress construction check out my post on WeSewRetro.

So how do you feel? Confident enough to tackle an unprinted pattern? Do you have any tips when working with them? Don't be afraid to try one next time since they are often full of those tiny details that make a dress extra special without going overboard.


Lavender and Twill said...

What an interesting post - thanks for talking about this topic! I haven't delved into the unprinted pattern yet as I am just too chicken, but I can't wait to try once I am a little more experienced!

I am currently working on my 3rd dress/5th item, so I feel like I still have a way to go, but that's ok.

I love how your dress turn out, I think my heart almost skipped a beat when I saw the pattern ~ scallops! Floral! Sun dress! Too cute for words, and of course, from my favourite era, 1940s... *sigh* What a lovely piece to work with.

bonita of Depict This!

EmSewCrazy said...

Keep working on your projects and you will get there! I found the fear worse than the actual experience.
Thanks, the fabric was a modern walmart buy from a few years ago and the pattern was from my stash. I'm falling in love with the 40s too!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great intro to unprinted patterns! I was unfamiliar with them. What a cute dress too.

EmSewCrazy said...

I hope it helps! Thanks for the dress compliment!