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Sunday 16 August 2020

Transparent pattern pieces

I love to fiddle around with stuff. Make it júst so, have things aligned in an esthetically pleasing way. This doesn’t only go for pattern alignment, but seams too – there are few things as satisfying as perfectly aligned seams.

Paper & cardboard pattern pieces

Usually when I prepare a new pattern, I print the pattern on regular A4 size paper. Then I back it with cardboard, straight from the printer or after I’ve roughly cut the pieces out to save cardboard. After that I cut them out on the lines and then I’m ready to go to test this new pattern. However, it’s not ideal when it comes down to the perfect pattern placement on my pieces. I keep shuffling them around, tracing them with Frixion pens so I can ‘erase’ the ink and try again if it’s not perfect.


And one day I found the perfect alternative – pattern plastic! Okay, maybe not the best choice when it comes down to sustainability and eco-friendliness, but these DO stay good a whole lot longer than my cardboard pieces. They show some definite signs of wear and tear already, and because I now trace my pattern pieces onto the plastic (no printing them, sadly), I can print double sided, which saves paper!

Someone pointed out to me that I might want to consider using a beamer. While it probably works great for sewing clothes, I don’t think that it’s the best option for making stuffies that require specific pattern placement. I don’t quite see myself moving pattern outlines around digitally… but who knows, in a couple of years there may be a solution to fit my needs.

A transparent pattern piece (Turtle Tail) on the back of an interfaced wrap scrap - Tenshi Treasures


I’ve been using my transparent pieces for a couple of months now and I must say that I love using them. It makes placement so much easier and it helps my customers to envision what their custom order may end up looking like! It’s not always easy because I’m very familiar with all the individual pieces but they are not, or course. For some creations it’s easier than others – the turtles have very straightforward shell and belly pieces! But the foxes are a lot more complex so that requires some imagination. Fortunately I have enough examples by now to be able to give people a good impression :).

Pattern plastic may not be the best idea for the casual home-crafter who just likes to make something for him/herself, but if you plan to re-use patterns a lot and need exact pattern placement, I’d say this is an excellent option to consider.