I was flipping through my latest copy of Sew News the other day when I came across an ad that caught my eye. It was for a handy set of reference cards to help you estimate how much fabric to buy for patterns. What a great idea!
- Each plastic card is the size and thickness of a credit card. The set of 6 cards is held together with a spiral ring. There is a title card, and then separate cards for dresses, skirts, pants, jackets and tops.
- The main table on the front of each card lists minimum, average and maximum fabric requirements, broken down by clothes size and fabric width. The minimum is the smallest amount of fabric that was called for by any of the hundreds of patterns that were used to build this table. The maximum is the largest amount of fabric that was called for by any of those patterns. And the average is the average amount of fabric. Aside from the choice between minimum, average and maximum, you use this table pretty much like the table on the back of any pattern envelope.
- Also on the front of the card, the “Safety Margin” table helps you decide how much (if any) to round up from the average number printed in the main table. How safe do you want to be? To have enough fabric for about 75% of the pants patterns out there, you only need to add 1/4 of a yard to your average, but if you want to cover 75% of the dress patterns, you need to add 1/2 yard.
- Finally, the sketches on the back of each card are designed to give you an idea of what type of outfit you could make with the minimum, average or maximum amount of fabric listed in the table. The 2 average sketches (and 2 mins on the pants card) are just different styles with the same amount of fabric. The 2 maximum sketches are different – one shows the largest outfit for narrower fabric and the other shows the largest outfit for wider fabric. The dotted lines represent shoulders, waist, hips and knees. Look for trade-offs between length and fullness.
Right now there are only 2 sets of reference cards available for purchase — Women’s Clothes and Plus Sizes. I can’t wait until the Children’s set is ready for sale!