What’s better? Tracing or Cutting patterns.

The sewing community seems to be split on tracing out patterns or cutting into your patterns. I admit, once upon a time I was all for #teamcut however as my independent pattern collection has grown, I’ve moved over to #teamtrace on a few occasions. I’m going to give the pros and cons of each camp:

Tracing Patterns


  • Patterns can be reused if you want to make another in a completely different size.
  • Grading between patterns can be done easily when tracing if your are comfortable when common adjustments that you usually need to make.
  • Tracing onto tissue paper allows you to tissue fit your garment before sewing which saves time before you cut into your fabric.
  • Some pattern sheets have many patterns overlapped so it is necessary to trace over each pattern piece in turn.


  • It can be time consuming because you have to trace and then cut, doubling the time it takes to start your next project.
  • Sometimes your tracing paper can slip and your pattern is then incorrect but it might not become apparent until you start sewing.

Cutting Patterns


  • Time saving. Sometimes I’m just so eager to start a a project. If I’m using a pattern company that I have used many times before and I’m confident with sizing cutting let’s me just get on with it.


  • Mistakes are hard to come back from. If you make a mistake such as following the wrong line, cutting out the wrong size it can sometimes be difficult to rectify it.
  • You can only use the pattern in one size. If you would like to make the pattern for someone else or your measurements have changed the pattern then can become redundant and you have to buy it all over again.

My opinion is mainly split between shop bought patterns and PDF patterns. Independent shop bought patterns are usually more expensive so therefore I don’t want to make a mistake cutting out the wrong size and then feel like the pattern has been wasted. I do love PDF patterns, firstly for the cheaper cost (always a bargain hunter) and since I found net printer I can replace the pattern easily and cheaply if I make a mistake. When I’ve used a big 4 pattern, I always cut because the tissue is so delicate I don’t feel that I could confidently trace it off.

I think this issue will always split the sewing community. But as they options for how sewing patterns are available to us expands I think many people will move between the two camps.

What are you? #teamcut or #teamtrace

Adelle x

2 thoughts on “What’s better? Tracing or Cutting patterns.

  1. I’m team Trace these days. Mainly to preserve my patterns as I used to be into cutting and folding my patterns when cutting out garments. Cutting and folding to my size was good as I was lazy but I’ve found that using the same patterns it tends to ruin them a little.


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