15 Tips to Resizing a Pattern

Hi Crafters! There was a great discussion on the Craftaholics Anonymous facebook page on how to resize a pattern so you can sew it in different sizes with only one pattern. Here are the awesome tips and tricks that crafters {like you!} had to offer:

15 Great Tips and Tricks to Resizing a Pattern

how to resize a sewing pattern

Craft Question: “I bought a pattern today for a pillowcase style dress for my daughter, it has sizes 3 up to size 8 and she is just now a 3. I would love to be able to use the other sizes as she grows without having to rebuy the pattern each time. Any suggestions? Can I take it to a place like Staples and have them make a copy that I could then cut out for each size?” -Cortney

1. “Cut out the size 8, trace onto freezer paper, then cut down to size 7, trace onto a new piece of freezer paper, and repeat! : )” – Amber B.
2. “If it’s copywrited, they won’t print it for you. You could try tracing it onto another sheet of paper. I use the paper you ship packages in and a tracing wheel or carbon paper. I know there are other ways, but this is the way I was taught.” – Stacy p.
3. “Try a local blue printing shop. They can usually scan/copy on regular copy paper 36″ wide.” Meghan T.
4. “Make sure you mark all your pleats and arrows and all that. Then clearly label the sizes with a permanent marker and you should be set. Freezer paper works great but heavy brown paper that you can buy in rolls works good too. Also, that method (though more time consuming) will last longer than a print out. Don’t think they can copy that anyways but I don’t know.” – Sara B.
5. “You could trace the size 3 onto tissue paper, then cut that size out of the tissue paper… save the original pattern for as she grows.” – Cara W.
6. “We cut them to the largest size, fold it down to what we need and pin it. Then use the pattern like normal. (sometimes you might need to fold or slit it a bit to make corners but it works)” – Rebecca J.
7. “I buy bolts of cheap fabric from JoAnn’s and cut my patterns out with that. It allows for adjustments too.” – Melissa M.
8. “I trace onto non-fusible interfacing. It’s fine enough to easily see through to the pattern to make tracing super easy, but durable so lasts forever. Because it’s a bit ‘felty’ in nature it also means you don’t have to use pins when your cutting out your fabric as it grabs the fabric and doesn’t move. Do one for each size and keep the pieces in an envelope or plastic sleeve with a picture of the dress and size. Easy for future reference.” – Kylie T.

resizing a pattern
image via elegant musings

9. “I used to buy newspaper roll ends (at the local newspaper). I think I paid $2 for the ends. Used it for the kids to paint and color on. But I would trace the pattern on this. Kept my original, but had multiple copies for sizes (since I planned on using many more than once.) Because of the copyright laws, you MAY NOT take them to the copy place and have them make copies. It is illegal for them to do so. You may own the pattern, but do not own the rights to it. But you can do it manually. You can also buy a tracing material from most fabric stores. It is like interfacing. The one I use has red dots in a grid. Joann’s carries it.” – Marylin G.
10. “I always trace my multi sized patterns onto freezer paper or patten cloth. Freezer paper is cheaper, but pattern cloth rolls nicely (and doesn’t crease) for storage.” – Val P.
11. “My mom always bought multi-size patterns. She would always fold under the larger sizes (snipping the inside and outside curves with scissors) when necessary. She would make us 3 girls all the same dresses or shirts and not have to have all our sizes. Just be careful that you don’t nick the pattern when cutting it out. If you do, immeadiately repair with tape.” – Carrie V.
12. “Buy more patterns. Keep the pattern number in your wallet. When you go in the store, check to see if they are on sale. When patterns are on sale for 1.99 or .99, it is cheaper to by another than to copy or trace it. In college we were taught to trace on to “ironed” tissue paper and never cut the original.” – Debbie H.
13. “I have a friend who works in a Dr.’s office and she got me some of the paper they put on the tables. Perfect for tracing patterns. I just trace the size I want to use and clearly mark the traced pattern pieces with size, pattern number, pattern piece number, etc…” – Kathy L.

14. “You can use tissue paper, you can go to nancy’snotions.com. She sells pattern tracing paper or Do-Sew Pattern Tracing Material. Tissue or pattern tracing paper can tear. The Do-Sew is like see-thru fabric. It won’t tear, you can iron it or even use it to help you fit a pattern. I use all three depending on my mood. You can also use the tracing paper & use iron on interfacing to the back of the tissue pattern. I remember doing that years ago when my kids were little. Just some suggestions. Hope I helped.” – Christine B.
15. “Depending on what company made the pattern it may just be easier to watch for sales. In my area, Joanne’s and Hancock fabric often have McCall, Butterick and Simplicity patterns on sale for 99 cents. Hancock Fabrics has their Butterick patterns on sale for 99 cents from 4/5-4/9. Another idea is take card stock and cut out the different sizes for the arm and neck holes.” – Kathy H.

You can find the complete thread that these responses are taken from on the Craftaholics Anonymous Facebook page here. Stop by and join the active crafting community on Facebook!

happy crafting,


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Hi! I'm Linda, the craft addict behind Craftaholics Anonymous®, a craft blog. Crafting is cheaper than therapy, right? When I'm not DIYing something, I can be found taxiing around our 4 crazy kids or working out. Or shoe shopping... because you can never have too many shoes! Happy crafting! ♥

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  1. 1
    Jamie Lee

    I was going to add my 2 cents when I read the last tip. That’s what I do…I buy a couple of the same pattern when they are a dollar on sale at Joann’s. I just keep a list of the different patterns I want and when I go there for stuff, check to see if any of those designers are on special.

  2. 2

    That was my questions! LOL :) I ended up folding it under to her size 3 and kept the pattern in one piece. Thanks for all the AWESOME and fast responses I got. I started a notebook with all the ideas so I’ll have them for future reference.

  3. 3

    Wow there are a lot of great tips so no need for mine lol. Thanks for sharing,God bless

  4. 4

    I like these ideas! Very clever, ladies! How would you UPsize (yeah, that’s a technical term) a pattern?

  5. 5
    aldrena jenkins

    thanks for the tips for resizing patterns

  6. 6
    Stacy C.

    I actually just cut the largest pattern size and then fold over the edges to the size I need. Works like a charm! Then you’re not spending the extra money for additional patterns.

  7. 7

    I read this somewhere and have not tried it myself to know if it works: go to the hardware store and get the plastic drop cloths and trace the pattern onto it with a permanent marker. It is completely see through to help with tracing and bends and moves if you need it to. It can be rolled up or folded for saving to use again.

  8. 8

    I have taped the original pattern to my sliding door and then taped tissue paper over it then traced the sizes I needed. Obviously this is done during daylight. I had 3 girls all at different sizes and this way I bought 1 pattern but used it 3 times.