What is the number of materials and construction

Pattern construction

What is a pattern construction?

A pattern design describes the process of making patterns. Patterns, short cuts, are templates, which are usually drawn on tissue paper and shape the fabric cutting. The pattern pieces are cut out and placed on the fabric in the direction of the grain. Pins or weights help to fix the pattern on the fabric. If the seam allowance is not yet included in the pattern, mark it with tailor's chalk in the desired width. The fabric is then cut along the line so that it can then be further processed while sewing.



Patterns are versatile. They can be made for the design, grading, but also the upgrading of garments. Sewing patterns exist for pretty much everything from hats to socks.

Important A basic distinction must be made between a basic cut and a model cut. While the basic cut serves as the basis, the model cut offers creative design elements. A model cut is therefore always preceded by a basic cut. A good overview of basic cuts, e.g. for dresses and skirts, and how to make them can be found in the book "Basic cuts -DOB".

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Which material and accessories are required?

When creating pattern designs, you should not only have knowledge of math and geometry, but also have various tools at hand. If you do not have a part of it yet, you can use the links listed in our shop, where you can order the accessories you need.


Tools required for pattern construction:

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How do you construct a pattern?

A pattern construction can be created according to the following steps

  1. Cut idea
  2. take measure
  3. Calculate size
  4. Pattern construction
  5. Choice of fabric
  6. Cutting

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Cut idea

Cuts are either designed on the basis of ready-made patterns or developed according to your own ideas.

Cutting ideas develop according to the body dimensions. Here with a ladies blouse by Gianfranco Ferre.

Especially recommended for newbies finished sewing patternto familiarize yourself with the pattern construction. These can usually be found as pattern sheets (several patterns printed on the front and back) in magazines, but also individually for download in PDF format. With the ready-made patterns, it should be noted that these are available either in single sizes or in multiple sizes. Often, different cuts are also printed on top of each other. Without having to cut up the pattern templates, you can easily trace the shapes with a pencil and pattern paper. In any case, measurements should be taken before drawing and the correct size should be determined using the body measurement table that is usually supplied.

If, on the other hand, you have been playing with the idea for a long time own pattern There is the possibility of adapting the prefabricated basic cuts according to personal taste or current trends. If you want to be completely free, you take your measurements and construct your own pattern, which can be individually adapted. In both cases, creative skills are required. In the next few steps we will show you how to proceed in this case.

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How do you measure properly?

When designing the pattern, it is important to adapt to body dimensions. Exact measurements are required for the perfect fit. Therefore, in the next step, you should measure very carefully and pay attention to proportions. There are a number of different dimensions that are relevant when measuring human proportions. The dimensions are divided into two groups:

  1. Main dimensionsthat must be measured on the body, and
  2. Auxiliary dimensionsthat can be measured or calculated to avoid measurement errors.



A selection of main dimensions

BuChest circumferenceBody circumference over the highest point of the chest
HuHip circumferenceBody circumference over the strongest part of the buttocks
Dowaist sizeBody circumference in the thickest part cavity
ÄlgSleeve lengthMeasure from the ball of the arm over the slightly bent elbow to the wrist


A selection of auxiliary dimensions

StlSide lengthMeasure across your hips from the bottom of the waist measuring tape to the floor
SchrStride lengthMeasure from crotch to sole
LbhRiseMeasure from the ball of the arm over the slightly bent elbow to the wrist


Depending on the item of clothing and whether it is to be cut for women, men or children, there are a number of other auxiliary measurements, such as the upper arm or ankle circumference. You can find more main and auxiliary dimensions in the size tables in the M. Müller & Sohn pattern system.

Tips for taking measurements

  • Measure the person standing upright
  • It is best to measure the person without clothes, but in underwear
  • Don't measure too tightly
  • Place the tape measure flat against your body
  • Do not measure in front of the mirror

Despite all efforts, measurement errors can sometimes not be avoided. You can read in detail in the article what else there is to consider when taking measurements and how to proceed in the event of errors in the fitMeasure correctly read up.

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Calculate size

The body measurements determined are either compared with the size tables belonging to the pattern or other reference tables in order to select the correct pattern size.

The size tables in the M. Müller & Sohn pattern system are helpful here. They cover a wide variety of body deviations, save time and are easy to use. In the pattern system according to M. Müller & Sohn from 1891, the patterns are adapted to the body measurements according to a proportional calculation. It impresses with its high accuracy of fit and has successfully established itself nationally and internationally in the clothing and textile industry over the past 100 years.

tip If the measurements taken fluctuate between two sizes, always take the larger size!

Since the dimensions measured, calculated or taken from a size chart are purely body measurements, allowances must be added depending on the design, fabric or comfort preferences. These additions can be found in the additions table. These are available for both women’s and men’s clothing.

There are two types of cutting allowances:

  • Minimum allowance (also: comfort allowance) for fit + comfort
  • Addition of space (also: design addition) for design / creation

tip While minimum allowances are always taken into account, design allowances are optional.

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Pattern construction

Once the measurements have been taken and the size has been calculated, the lengths and widths based on the measurements must be subtracted. For a detailed description of the cut, important points are given larger numbers, whereby the dimensions are always to be understood in centimeters. Auxiliary lines are drawn in thin, cut edges and seam layers thick, and incision lines with double dashed lines.


Proceed as follows when constructing a section:

  1. With a vertical line start.
  2. Cut edges / seam layers align with the orientation line.
  3. Widths and lengths, as well as, for example, neck and armholes and darts.
  4. All Measuring sections, Transitions e.g. check shoulder, armhole and dart roof.
  5. Parts separate from each other.

Important All lines must be exactly at right angles to one another. Auxiliary lines are useful here.

The pattern structures should be measured before cutting.

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Choice of fabric

Most of the ready-made patterns indicate which fabrics are suitable in each case. With your own designs, it is important to obtain information about the properties of the material beforehand. How much fabric is needed is based on the cut size and any allowances.

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After constructing the pattern and choosing the desired fabric, it is important to transfer the pattern onto tissue paper. These templates are then used in the next step for cutting the fabric.


Proceed as follows when transferring to tissue paper:

  1. If the (pre-made) pattern extends over several pages, the individual parts should be printed / copied and then glued together.
  2. Then you put a tissue paper over the pattern and trace the relevant lines with a pencil.
  3. Now cut out the templates on the tissue paper and place them as space-saving as possible on the fabric along the grain of the thread.
  4. To do this, you take the fabric single or double according to the pattern and draw along the template with chalk. Pins or weights help to fix the templates on the fabric and prevent them from slipping.
  5. If the seam allowance is not yet included in the pattern, mark it with tailor's chalk in the desired width.
  6. Then cut out the shape you want with fabric scissors.

The pieces of fabric can now be used for sewing and further processing.

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Pattern templates

In our online shop you will find a number of pattern sheets for different items of clothing for women and men. These can easily be printed out and used in their basic pattern or further developed. They are also good for learning model development.

For detailed information on the Pattern construction individual items of clothing are recommended, among other things, our books:

But we also have instructions for you on various patterns for women's fashion such as bikinis, overalls, retro dresses and other models on our website. In the Ladies' Circular 3.2018 you will also find the complete cutting technique for making and sewing 8 sleeve variants.

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First published in 2019, last updated on October 24, 2019