Ashley Hough

Adding Seam Allowances to a Sewing Pattern

Ashley Hough
Sign in
Duration:   5  mins

When drawing your own pattern, adding seam allowances can be time consuming, as you are essentially having to draw your pattern a second time. Ashley Hough shows a quick and easy way to draw in seam allowances on a pattern piece using two pencils at the same time.

Adding Seam Allowances

One of the basics of pattern making is drawing in a seam allowance on the pattern. Doing this ensures that you cut out all of the pattern pieces large enough so that when they are stitched together they fit perfectly. However, adding seam allowances can be tedious. Ashley shares a quick and easy way to add a seam allowance, in several different sizes, to your pattern pieces by using two pencils.

Ashley demonstrates how taping together two pencils allows you to draw two evenly spaced lines at the same time. She explains what kind of pencil she likes to use and why and how far apart your lines will be if you simply tape the pencils together. She shows that a standard No. 2 pencil, rather than a mechanical pencil, works better with the technique as it has several flat sides. This makes it much easier to tape together than a pencil that is round.

She then demonstrates how to use the same technique for adding seam allowances in different sizes by spacing apart the pencils. Ashley shows how different items such as fabric, cardboard or square dowels can be used to space the pencils. While fabric and cardboard are both great supplies to use if only adding a small amount of space between the pencils, if adding a significant amount of space between the pencils, the dowels are the better choice as they are sturdier.

For more tips on making patterns learn a great way of how to make a reusable pattern.

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

Make a comment:
characters remaining

3 Responses to “Adding Seam Allowances to a Sewing Pattern”

  1. Janet Hammond

    Great idea - but not so good when the pencils need sharpening?

  2. pearlfancy

    If you use three pencils use a different color for each to indicate the pattern line, 1/4" and 1/2" seam allowance.

  3. pearlfancy

    If you simply put 3 pencils together. With center pencil tip not touching paper you will have your 1/2" to 5/8" seam allowance. It will be firm and don't have to worry about getting the right fabric thickness and the give of the fabric. And, its quick.

Get exclusive premium content! Sign up for a membership now!