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Friday, 29 April 2016

Tracing pattern and creating a toile in one go

Wilko Get Gardening Protection Fleece 1.5mx8m
OK, you would be forgiven for thinking you had stumbled upon a gardening blog because this is a roll of horticultural fleece, currently available at Wilco for the princely sum of £3.45 for 8 metres of 150 cm width.  That works out at about 44p a metre.  I had heard mention that this fleece was useful for tracing patterns so decided to give it a go.  So here is an account of my experience trying it out on a pattern for a edge to edge jacket with a two piece raglan sleeve.
The neat little roll, once unwrapped, expands into a vast cloud of white stuff.  It is difficult to stop it from creasing and you need to get it smooth to trace.  I found the easiest way to do this was to cut off an amount appropriate to the pattern you wish to trace and press it  with a very low heat and a sheet of paper over the top, I used greaseproof paper (my previous pattern tracing favourite).  You must treat it gently otherwise it will melt.
You can then smooth it over your pattern and weight it down.  In the photograph below you can probably see that the second from innermost line is darker where I have traced the outline but look how easy it is to see the pattern underneath the fleece.

I found that the easiest pen to use was a brush tip felt pen, intended for use by children, although the colour did fade somewhat after a couple of days, I think it is intended to be easily washed away if the kids manage to get it all over themselves and the curtains as well as their colouring book.  Pencil and biro dragged the fleece too much  but the colour was stable.  Any suggestions as to a non-fading alternative would be gratefully received.  I just used what I had available at the time.
Then I used the pieces I had traced (all of which had the instruction "Cut Two") to cut out the second pieces and copied the pattern markings.
Next stage was to mark the seam allowances, using a seam gauge and a different colour felt tip.
And then pin all the pieces together for pin fitting.
As you can see the jacket seems to fit my old Adustoform dummy quite well.  I am showing you the back because the front fits well.
But, although the bust, waist, hip and back length of the dummy are adjusted to my size, it is not me as you can see from the next photograph  where you can see that I will need a rounded back adjustment and the shoulder curve reducing.  I also need to try it on over a thin blouse instead of a thick polo neck jumper but it was too cold today! 
So there you are, your pattern traced and a cheap as chips toile as well.  Agreed, it will not be in the same weight and drape as your intended actual fabric.  However it does have the advantage that you can see through it and thereby get a better idea of what it is about your body that may be causing any problem than you would have when using an opaque fabric.
Have you any suggestions to have about inexpensive ways of tracing patterns and creating toiles?


  1. I use sheeting fabric - £4 a metre but it's double width, I have then been making adjustments to the fabric then using the fabric itself as my pattern - ironed easy and folded and stored easier than grease proof paper (which I used to trace my original pattern). This is where I order from

  2. I have been using garden fleece a lot for tracing patterns, muslin making, experimenting etc like you, but it is no good if you are planning to use the pattern again as it balls up into a rag and you can't iron it to flatten it out again. So I've invested in a roll of tracing paper as used by graphic artists and architects. I'm very pleased as it is easy to see through, takes a pen mark well, and is really robust. Brand name I've got is Gateway

  3. Barbara, you'll laugh but I finally just ordered some of Wilko's fleece as well. I want to make a jacket and all my toile fabrics are too thin. I'd rather not buy a fabric that's more expensive than this, so I am giving it a go!

    Sarah's advice is good, I'll need to keep in mind to transfer any adjustments and changes to the original pattern and not rely on the fleece. It sounds like a material that's useful on a temporary basis.


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