My sister turned 29 recently, and I neglected to buy her a present. When she mentioned that she needed skirts for the nursing program she’s starting in the fall, it seemed like an excellent opportunity to redeem myself and to try sewing with templates, wonderfully simple and useful tools that I learned about recently in Linda Lee’s article “The Unsung Tools: Sewing Templates” (Threads issue 64).
Not only do templates take the guesswork out of hemming and topstitching, you can also make them yourself out of tagboard. I cut mine from file folders. Here, I’m adding patch pockets to a skirt, and I need them to be as clean and symmetrical as possible.
Lay the tagboard on the cutting surface, then place a sheet of wax tracing paper face down on it. Set the pattern on top of that, weight everything, and run your tracing wheel around the edges of the pattern. Remove weights, pattern, and tracing paper. Use a rotary cutter to cut the template out of the tagboard.
Measure, mark, and trim away seam allowances.
Layer the following on an ironing board: tissue paper or lightweight, sew-on interfacing; the pocket; and the tagboard template.
Cut corners and notch any curves of fabric.
Fold edges of interfacing and fabric up over the template. Press in place.
Remove template and interfacing. Pin pocket to garment, and baste. Stitch very close to folded edges of the pocket. Remove basting.
Happy birthday, sister!
Image credit: Drawing of pocket for a cool and kid-friendly project at The Purl Bee.