Using Historic Type Patterns Printed on Heavy Paper

If you make period clothing, or costumes for Renaissance Faires, Civil War re-enactments, Edwardian, fantasy, or other specialty times, you will find that the patterns are oftimes printed on heavy paper - not tissue.  This makes it very difficult to pin to the fabric easily, the paper tears due to the fact that it is so stiff, and once the pattern is cut, it is basically worthless.


Here is the best, and proper way to use those patterns:  take tissue paper and trace out the size you want to use.  Cut out the tissue and use that.  If your tissue isn't large enough, use some paper tape (masking, painter's tape, etc.) to join 2 or more sheets together until you have a large enough area.  You will find the tissue is easier to use, you can make alterations to the fit, and if you wish to make a different size - you haven't ruined the pattern!  Also, if you later should no longer need the pattern for whatever reason, you can pass it on to someone else - unharmed.   Tissue paper can be found in fairly large packets (or smaller ones) on eBay for very reasonable prices, and in a large variety of sizes.  If you use a particular design often in the same size, try tracing it out on sew-in, light weight interfacing.  This will last almost forever, and is even easier to handle than tissue.  There is also pattern fabric (if indeed, fabric is the proper term) for drapers and designers if you can find it - it is elusive and somewhat expensive.  It is made somewhat like tyvek and can NOT be ironed - don't even try.  But it has dots or lines (very faint) for aligning and adjustments, and can be extremely helpful.

Update: Pattern Fabric/Paper  I have discovered that JoAnn's Fabrics now carries pattern fabric/paper (100% polyester) for people who design, alter, or copy patterns.  It is 45" wide, washable and can be ironed (cool iron), and costs about $1.99/yard.  It has no lines, dots or grid on it and is much easier to use than the older fabric I have been using.  At least this fabric can be ironed!  Which means you can use Stitch Witchery (or the equivalent fabric bonding web) to join 2 pieces together for wider pattern pieces.

I hope this is helpful.  I had to ruin a couple of these patterns before I caught on.  Hopefully, I'll save you that trouble and expense.