Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Do Your Trace?

I trace all of my patterns.  I like to make changes and adjustments to the patterns so tracing is a must in my book.

The question then becomes: What do you use to trace your patterns?

I have a thick sort of tracing paper that I have no idea what it is.  It appeared magically at my office door one day and even though I told the delivery person that it was delivered to the wrong address and left it outside the office door for a week hoping the original owner would check tracking and find it….the roll of paper remained.  So after a week, I dragged it inside the office to join the two tables that had previously been misdelivered to the office.  So this tracing paper of unknown origin has been what I primarily used to trace patterns. 

The upside is that it is not too opaque that one can trace anything with it.  The downside is that it is stiff and rather hard so fitting with this paper is impossible.

I also have some  large pads of post it type paper.  I have tried using this with marginal success.  It works well on modern patterns printed on heavy paper.  It does not work well on any other patterns.

So, investigating options I wanted to give soil separator a whirl.  It is cheaper than the famed Swedish tracing paper but I had read that it is just as good still being fabric.  I considered medical exam paper which was cheaper still but really wanted that fabric so that I could try pin fitting.

The other day, I awoke with a mission.  I have free time so I will head off to Home Depot looking for soil separator.  Off I drove, through some substantial post Christmas police activity, through the gauntlet of a parking lot, weaving through those migrant day workers asking if they could assist straight to the garden center.   Lo and behold, what did I find?  Why nothing with the name “soil separator.”  Nope, nada, not a thing.  However, I did find a product called “weed blocker.”  Helpful hint here:  if you do go to Home Depot or another home improvement center ask for both soil separator AND weed blocker.
This is the roll of commercial weed blocker - it is 4 ft by 50 ft.

What the weed blocker actually looks like.
If possible it is even darker  (camera flash)
Weed blocker is made of fabric that looks like a interfacing web so I was excited.  But then I noticed the colors: black, brown and grey.  What?????  That won’t work.  After discreetly opening a corner of the grey, it being the lightest of the colorways on offer, I determined that it was not completely opaque and could work.   It was also 4 feet wide which you have to love.  So, it was purchased, dragged to the car and off home I went.

This weed blocker would be perfect if not a dark color. 

It works though I did have about an hour of problems finding a pen, marker or pencil to write on the stuff.  Once that hurdle was over, it was easy sailing.  It is just light enough to work and works fine with printed patterns.   With non-printed patterns, it is more difficult but I have found it works.

With the help of the weed blocker I have more than accomplished my December pattern tracing goal!  


Anonymous said...

You can buy rolls of the paper that is made just for pattern drafting. I buy mine from here:

1912 Suffragette said...

I trace all of my vintage patterns. Modern ones I just slice up. I use 8 lb. tracing paper from Blick Art Supply. I have the 24" and the 36" rolls. Since I'm 5'11" I always have to lengthen everything anyway and usually widen the shoulders and back, so I go through a lot of paper. I use Sharpies and never have any problem with bleed-through on the 8 lb. stuff. I've thought of getting the Swedish pattern tracing fabric from Folkwear, but it seems pretty expensive.

Elegant Designs by CL said...

I, too, love the pattern tracing paper from sewtrue. It works well for fitting and draping. I'd love to fins something more easily accessible and a little cheaper, though. I've tried everything from wax paper to chart paper, from interfacing to tag board!