The best pattern making tools

Pattern Drafting

the best pattern making tools

Keep in mind these tools aren’t the end-all, be-all of pattern making and alteration. These are the tools I’ve come to use in my workflow. You may or may not like them and that’s okay.

Shit, we all work a little differently! Use what suits you.

PatternMaster ruler


Made specifically for Morplan — a UK based store. It’s brilliant. I absolutely love it. So many tools in one. My only complaint is it can be too big for the surface I’m working on at times, but other than that, I couldn’t work without it. Yes, I am aware there are cheaper versions, but I would not trust their accuracy. Buyer beware. I purchased mine with metric measurements because it’s much easier to sail through drawing patterns. I don’t have to get a calculator out to convert decimals or fractions.

grader square

Graders Square

I use this mostly when I’m creating a pattern from scratch, but there are sufficient grading marks on the PatternMaster. If you’re not serious about making patterns and grading and down for sizing, I wouldn’t say this is a necessary tool. More of a luxury!

straight ruler

Straight Ruler

This is an acrylic ruler and is sometimes called a quilting ruler. I have 3×12 inch ruler and a 6×24. The 3×12 I use a lot with smaller pattern pieces to make straight lines quickly, add a seam allowance, or to true lines. It’s a general ruler I use for lots of little things! My larger 6×24 is mostly used as a guide to cut and square fabric or true lines on large pattern pieces.

pink measuring tape

Measuring Tape

Any brand of measuring tape will do. I prefer the tapes with both imperial and metric on them! While I’m drawing out and altering patterns, I like to keep it hanging around my neck so I can access it quickly and it also stays out of the way.

DIY pattern weights

Pattern Weights

Pattern weights do just what the name implies. They hold down a pattern! It makes tracing and cutting a pattern so much easier. They’re quick to use. No more putting pins through the pattern and causing holes or runs in the fabric. You don’t need uber-expensive weights either. These were handmade! Each weight is two washers from the hardware store wrapped in ribbon. That’s it! I made 6 weights for a total of $6.00.

white copy paper

Copy Paper

Plain white copy paper is what I use to draw patterns on. It can be annoying to tape the pages together, but I much prefer it over lightweight tracing paper. When I make mistakes, it holds up to a pencil eraser. It’s also easier to trace around the edges of patterns. Overall, it’s sturdier, plentiful, and cheaper.

scotch tape

Scotch Tape

This is essential for not only taping pieces of paper together but also for manipulating a pattern. For example, taping a dart closed or taping extra paper onto a pattern to redraw its shape.

tracing wheel

Tracing Wheel

A tracing wheel is good for transferring the original pattern. Especially if the original pattern includes different sizes. You don’t wanna cut off the other sizes so this is where the tracing wheel comes in! It punctures the paper and you can go back and add in the lines. Easy peasy. A pattern you can cut up and mark.

pencils for pattern making


There are two types of pencils I use to draw patterns. A fat “My First” pencil to make thick, dark lines. This is a pencil typically used by kids learning to write so it’s quite large and comical. The other is a mechanical pencil for creating delicate lines and truing.

dress form for pattern making

Dress Form

Dress forms are great for fitting a test garment. It helps me get a general idea of fit and I can correct gaping or gathering. I typically mark straight on the garment and then transfer these to the pattern. Luckily, my body shape is similar to the dress form!

scissors for pattern making


This one is fairly obvious. THESE ARE NOT FOR FABRIC. Let me repeat. Do not also use these to cut fabric. The larger pair is for cutting out PAPER pattern pieces. The smaller needle-nose scissors are for altering patterns when I need to be more precise.

muslin fabric for pattern making

Test Fabric

It’s essential to test your patterns, however, you’re not gonna be using the world’s finest satin to do it! This is where the test fabric comes in. I like to use muslin. You can find cheap fabrics at second-hand stores. Sometimes I’ve been known to cut up used drapes, sheets, and tablecloths.


How to draft a curved belt pattern

How to draft a curved belt pattern

Learn how to draft a pattern for a curved belt with your very own measurements! This tutorial is great for making a belt pattern that sits freely across the hips and lower waist (below the belly button). It’s also great for creating a better fitting gun holster belt.

Behind the blog!


Erin has been a graphic designer by day and a seamstress by night for over a decade. At Mega Coven Art she combines her skills to give you useful sewing tips, costuming tutorials, and pattern drafting advice. And sometimes fancy tidbits from the Supernatural universe.


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