Trace those master pattern pieces!

By Jennie Chancey

I’ve received several questions about what to use when tracing pattern pieces for repeated use (paper? tissue? interfacing?). My absolute favorite choice is Swedish Tracing Paper, which is washable, reusable interfacing (“paper” is a bit of a misnomer). You can even make your fitting toiles from this stuff, as it will stand up to sewing and seam ripping. I absolutely love it and use it for all my master patterns.

I get this from Birch Street Clothing, which sells it at a special discount (buy two rolls, get one roll free!) Click HERE to go directly to the product page.

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24 Comments on Trace those master pattern pieces!

  1. Meredith
    October 16, 2010 at 3:00 pm (4 years ago)

    I would like to know more using this “paper.” Why do you need to trace the master pattern? Do you do it each time you make a dress? If I get an epattern, is it the correct size, or do I have to alter it? I’m new and like the patterns, but am not sure I know what to do.

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      October 16, 2010 at 9:37 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, Meredith! If you trace off your pattern pieces, then you don’t cut up the paper pattern, which means all the sizes are intact for any future projects you might wish to undertake in other sizes. :-) I also have fitting tips that explain how to modify patterns to fit your unique shape. Once you know what you need to alter for your own silhouette, you can trace your master pieces to match. Using interfacing like the Swedish Tracing Paper makes it possible to experiment with the pieces (basting them together; even washing them!) before you cut into fabric. Hope this helps!

      Reply
      • Meredith
        October 17, 2010 at 12:01 pm (4 years ago)

        Yes, thank you, Jennie! I’ve just discovered this site and I’m excited to find so much information, which allows me to get going rather than being confused. I’m going to get some of this “paper.”

        Reply
  2. Meredith
    October 17, 2010 at 12:03 pm (4 years ago)

    Open Sky says the Swedish Tracing Paper is out of stock! I’ll try Birch Street Clothing.

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      October 20, 2010 at 10:44 am (4 years ago)

      I think the recent sale quickly depleted the stock, as Birch Street is the one listing the tracing paper on Open Sky. Give it a week or so, then try again. :)

      Reply
  3. Martha
    October 20, 2010 at 10:06 am (4 years ago)

    But you also cut the tracing paper, and so need a great deal of it? Sorry to be so naive, but I’m new to sewing, and trying to figure out what I’ll need.

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      October 20, 2010 at 10:43 am (4 years ago)

      Hi, Martha! It depends on how many pattern pieces you plan to trace. ;) A ten-yard roll will last quite a long time unless you sew up a new pattern every week. I use the Swedish Tracing Paper to trace my “master” pieces after I have made and adjusted my bodice fitting toile. That gives me sturdy pattern pieces to use over and over again–and they don’t have to be pinned for cutting, as they naturally stick to the fabric. I love this stuff!

      Reply
  4. Martha
    October 25, 2010 at 5:50 pm (4 years ago)

    Thanks, Jennie. I have to say, I stumbled onto your site after watching Pride & Prejudice (1995), and wanting patterns for some Regency gowns. Your name seemed SO familiar to me, and I couldn’t place from where, until I was browsing for a book one day on my shelves, and realized you co-authored the Passionate Housewives book! What a great read! Thank you for such an inspiring treatise on motherhood; it really put things in better perspective for me. God Bless you!

    Reply
  5. Micheline
    December 13, 2010 at 2:36 pm (4 years ago)

    The tracing paper is still out of stock. is there another place that sells it? Are there any in Canada that you know of?

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      December 13, 2010 at 4:58 pm (4 years ago)

      Wow! This has been a popular deal. Try clotilde.com, as they also carry it. :)

      Reply
  6. Lara
    January 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi, I live in Australia and my craft store doesn’t stock Swedish Tracing Paper so is there anything similar?

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      January 9, 2011 at 11:10 pm (4 years ago)

      Sure! You can use lightweight interfacing. :)

      Reply
    • Suziwong66
      May 17, 2011 at 4:39 am (4 years ago)

      For Aussie sewers Spotlight stock a version of Swedish tracing fabric/paper that is on the roll & can be found in the interfacing section. I’ve been using it for a few years now. From memory it’s 99c a metre.

      Reply
  7. ChaCha
    July 13, 2011 at 7:21 pm (3 years ago)

    In Australia, I buy it from http://www.catherinesplace.com.au. Quick shipping from Perth. It is exceptionally good quality and I use it for all my tracing out of Burda patterns etc.

    Reply
  8. HL
    December 1, 2011 at 10:12 am (3 years ago)

    What width is best for the Swedish tracing paper, I found some that was 29″ by 30″. Is that large enough?

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      December 1, 2011 at 11:57 am (3 years ago)

      It usually comes 10 yards to the roll. 30″ wide is great. :)

      Reply
  9. Shirley Owens
    March 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi, just discovered your site via eBay. A comment on the tracing paper…..I have arms that are 2 sizes around larger than my body size. The paper has helped me trace out a sleeve that actually fits. It’s not fun to wear a gathered sleeve all the time, so this gives me lots of options. Love the patterns!

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      March 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm (3 years ago)

      I’m so glad, Shirley! There’s just nothing like being able to custom-fit a “problem” area so that it’s not a problem any more! :)

      Reply
  10. DaughterofCatholiscism
    May 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm (3 years ago)

    Hello! I was wondering where I can buy muslin for a cheap price. I am making myself a dirndl. For the vest I have to have it fit perfectly, so I have to try it out in muslin before hand, and then use the perfect one as a pattern piece and lining.I’m going to need quite a bit of muslin, because I have bavarian silk dirndl fabric, and the bodice material is silk embroidered with gold thread.As you know, this isn’t cheap. So I’m wondering where I can get chap muslin, beacause in my area I can’t find a cheap one.

    Reply
  11. Lyric
    June 4, 2012 at 9:41 am (3 years ago)

    Hello DOC:

    I am finding inexpensive muslin at Jo-Ann Fabrics (add the 50% off coupons and there you have it).

    Reply
  12. Cookie
    September 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm (2 years ago)

    I found a cheaper alternative to Swedish Tracing Paper.
    I bought a case of the paper that your doctor uses on his tables.
    It is cheap by the roll or by the case around $30..luckily I have a medical supply place locally.
    If you want to look for it, it is called Medical Exam Table Paper. It comes in smooth or crepe and about 18″w x 225’long, 12 in a case.

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      September 20, 2012 at 3:24 am (2 years ago)

      Hi, Cookie!

      The difference, though, is that you can sew Swedish Tracing paper, as it’s really more like interfacing. It can also be washed and re-sewn several times as you experiment with various pattern mockups. But if you just want to trace pieces onto paper, those long rolls do work!

      Reply
  13. Cookie
    September 21, 2012 at 10:56 am (2 years ago)

    Thanks Jennie, I will try to find it here in Canada, shipping is expensive from the USA.
    Sounds like a good product.
    Saving my pennies for the pattern collection you have. Will be perfect for the events held here all year round.
    I am proud to live & run my business in historic Olde Sandwich Towne Ontario.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Sandwich_Town

    Reply
  14. Cookie
    September 24, 2012 at 9:14 am (2 years ago)

    If anyone from Canada is looking for the tracing paper here, there is a good online store from BC called Stitch In The Ditch.
    Rolls are 29″ wide and 30 ft. long, She has it listed for 15.99 but it is on sale for 13.99 at this time.

    Reply

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