Video: How to walk a pattern

Mia asks:

I know you have said that the only paper you use for patterns is oaktag. I was wondering, how do you walk a pattern with oaktag (assuming it has seam allowances added already)?

These days I’m more inclined to walk patterns with my CAD program since it is more accurate and faster but between oak tag and marker paper (or still flimsier paper), I much prefer walking oak tag patterns. A major reason being that oak tag doesn’t bend as easily so it is more accurate.

Probably the best way to show you is with this example of a short video clip of me walking a shoulder seam. This comes from a video that Mr. Fashion-Incubator and I shot about how to check a pattern in preparation for grading. The full length video is yet to be released (who knows when that will happen) but it will illustrate one aspect of pattern walking. Forty seconds into the video it zooms in so you can see very clearly what I’m doing.

Another useful thing to know is how to pivot the pattern pieces while walking them. Once I find a clip of that I will upload it and include the link.

If you’re not sure what pattern walking means, it is a check that is done prior to pattern grading before the style can be put into production. This is the sort of thing that sewing contractors will expect in the way of production sewing accuracy from people starting a clothing line. Keeping with the theme, you need to know that contractors can’t work with soft or tissue patterns unless the soft patterns are a plot from a CAD file.

Tip for checking your patterns
How on earth do you use oak tag to MAKE patterns?
Paper patterns, soft or hard?

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18 Comments on "Video: How to walk a pattern"

Traci Akierman
3 years 2 days ago

Thanks for this Kathleen. When I first found your blog and joined the forum, I searched and searched to find some instructions on how to walk a pattern. I figured out a way to do it that I thought was right and it looks like I have been doing it right. Since I don’t have a line, I’ve been walking all the commercial patterns that I want to use (after transferring to alphanumeric or oaktag) and any that I attempt to draft myself. It’s amazing how far out some of the commercial patterns are!

I keep learning so much from you. Thank you so much for all the effort you put into this site and the forum!

PS – I *REALLY* hope you release the longer video for sale someday soon.

3 years 16 days ago

Thanks for posting that great video. A picture is worth a thousand words! I am looking forward to more. I am also interested in Oriole comment about cut pieces matching.

3 years 17 days ago

The video worked fine this morning, and I’m glad I came back to watch it.

I’ll be eager to see the entire thing, if you ever package it.

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3 years 17 days ago

It was wonderful to see you walking off patterns on YouTube. I can’t wait to see you walk a collar into a neckline or a sleeve into an armhole. I always walk my patterns instead of measuring. I believe that walking imitates what the seamstress does when she puts 2 pieces of fabric together and connects them with her sewing needle. When I walk, I imagine what the seamstress will be doing, in the correct sewing order. I check notches, pattern shapes when they are connected, to be sure that they are accurate for the seamstress. Measuring will not achieve the same result that walking off does. Talk to a seamstress. She will tell you.