Now, this might seem a little obvious to everyone, I’ve hesitated even posting and calling it a tutorial. But following conversations with my youngest daughter (15, studying textiles at school) and a friend of mine (long time sew-er), neither of them knew this shortcut – and to be honest I only discovered it when I was working after 4 years of studying fashion! So on the off chance that someone, somewhere, finds this useful…
There are various gadgets around to measure curves on sewing patterns – flexible rulers and wheely things, and if they work for you, excellent! The great thing about sewing is there is always more than one way to solve a problem. But, you see I’m not a great one for gadgets, so for this method, you’ll only need a tape measure, pencil and ruler.
Why would I need to measure a curve on a sewing pattern?
If you need to alter a pattern to fit you, you may find you need to adjust the armhole or neckline and then you are going to need to make sure the collar or sleeve fits again. For that, some pretty accurate measuring will be needed!
Here’s the method, I’m going to pretend you’re measuring an armhole.
Step 1: First you will need to use your ruler and mark the correct seam allowance accurately on your paper pattern in pencil. This represents your stitch line when you stitch your garment together. It’s this line, not the outside edge of your pattern that needs to be the same measurement.
Step 2: Next grab your tape measure, and here’s the trick, stand it up on its SIDE and walk it EXACTLY along your pencil line to measure that entire length of armhole – EASY! Make a note of the measurement, I always write them straight on the pattern piece.
Now use the same method and measure your sleeve head, remembering it will be bigger than the armhole as it should have some ease in it.
That’s it! It can take a little practice to do it accurately, but who doesn’t love a low (no!) tech solution to a problem?
Happy stitching (and measuring),
Mrs M x