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Copycat Clothes: How to Make a Pattern From A Piece of Clothing

Does your wardrobe include that one dress or pair of jeans which are so perfect you wish you could clone them? You can! Recreate your favorite garments by learning how to make a pattern from an existing piece of clothing!

This skill lets you recreate an adorable vintage blouse found in a thrift store or your perfectly fitting jeans that are near threadbare. I can sum up my motivation to learn these techniques in one word: pants. In the time it takes to fit a new pants pattern, you could make an exact copy of a well-fitting pair of pants and be ready to sew. You can also make the same style work in a different season just by changing the fabric or color.

Original dress and copied version

Bluprint member Tracykieran recreated her knit dress in a tartan version

Learn how to make sewing patterns from existing garments!

pattern drafting class

Join this online class and master valuable patternmaking techniques to recreate beloved garments for a lifetime of wear. Enroll Now »

6 tips for turning you favorite garments into a pattern!

There are a few different methods for making your pattern. A simple knit top can be copied by tracing directly on wax paper. The “pin-through” technique works well for duplicating garments with multiple elements, such as a jacket or blouse. With jeans, I find that tracing the various pieces on silk organza works well. For whatever method you choose, here are a few tips to help you to make a pattern from a piece of clothing, and you don’t have to take it apart to do it!

1. Start with a t-shirt.

Knit t-shirts can be copied by placing them flat on a work surface and tracing the seam lines. Knits are a bit forgiving in fit so they are great for becoming familiar with copying. You can use wax paper and a serrated tracing wheel to trace the edges of your t-shirt, then add seam allowances after you have the outline.


Tracing a t-shirt using wax paper

2. Choose a fabric similar in type to the original garment.

The original maker of the garment matched fabric weight and type with the design, so for the best result you should also. Stretch denim results in a different fit than regular denim, so if your original garment has stretch, then the copy should as well.  Both the original blue and the copy in black are stretch denims, which let me maintain the close fitting style.

Two denim jackets

Photo via SunnyGal Studio

3. Add lots of markings.

As you are making your pattern pieces, add the same type of markings you find on commercial patterns. For example, note the places where seams intersect, the end points for the collar as well as the buttonhole and pocket placements. Label all your pieces, and make sure you add the grain lines.

jacket pattern pieces

4. Use a flexible ruler to duplicate curves.

After you trace the various pieces on a pair of pants, use the flexible ruler to recreate the curve of the seams exactly. Lay the ruler on your pattern to verify your tracing and make adjustments.

Flexible ruler measuring pants

5. Divide your garment into two halves.

You don’t need to trace an entire jacket or blouse, so run a thread line along the center back, creating pattern pieces you can use on the fold. It is a good idea to compare your finished pattern pieces to both sides of the garment to double check the dimensions, then make adjustments if any piece is slightly off.

Tracing a blouse collar

6. Adjust for fit after tracing.

First make all your pattern pieces, and then sew a muslin to test the accuracy of your pattern. If the garment you started with was not quite the right size, copy it, after which you can do the fitting adjustments on your muslin. Once you have the muslin fitting nicely, you can go back and make the adjustments for size on your pattern pieces.

Red-orange denim shorts

Bluprint member thenchuff adjusted these red-orange shorts

Let’s face it, a great fitting pair of jeans is the ultimate in shopping satisfaction, only to be surpassed if you sew them yourself! With these pattern making tips, you can recreate your favorite pair time and time again!

Denim jeans

Handmade designer jeans via Bluprint member veronicacklock

Learn how to make sewing patterns from existing garments!

pattern drafting class

Join this online class and master valuable patternmaking techniques to recreate beloved garments for a lifetime of wear. Enroll Now »

Have you every made a pattern from an existing garment? Did it look and fit like the original?



je voudrais les patron comment je pourrais les avoir ou man proqurer je vous remercie a l avance dans l espoire d avoir 1 reponse


Il n’y a pas de patron …le but est d’apprendre un modèle que vous avez déjà dans votre armoire

alamin babu

shirt,T-shirt,polo shirt And j-pant :pattern From a Piece of costting

create custom t shirt

Woah this site is amazing i adore looking through your content regularly. Continue to be the terrific function! You are aware of, many individuals are hunting around due to this details, you can encourage them to drastically.


Would you comment more on tracing a pant pattern. Because the back piece is wider than the front it is impossible to lay the back flat and trace it. I have not been successful at figuring out how to do this.


@Ginger… I’m not the author but here is some advice…
Fold the pants in half on the rear side Like You Would to fold them. Trace the one leg from waist to butt seam then down to foot
on your pattern paper. Make 2 of these pieces in your new fabric. Now turn the pants over and fold in half (one leg) on the front (crotch) side. Trace the curve of the waist on this one. If you double the fabric you cut once to get 2 pieces. Do this for the front legs then the back. Don’t forget to add seam allowance.


Thanks for the tips… much appreciated…

Natasha Yolandi

Amazing that’s wow luv it… 😉 🙂
And its great idea ever…


I have made loads of clothes this way but recently wonted to do a dress with darts and have tried folding the paper where the dart is going to be and still not convinced. Also I am dyslexic so reading instructions does not work for me need lots of pictures with each step. Please please help thankyou.

Laura Adams

Ditto, Alethea. I am stumped. Everything I can find says to take away the fullness from another area, but there is no other fullness to take away. I am copying a form-fitting dress, with a French dart (starts at the waistline and goes to the bust), and I can’t find how or where to slit the pattern to pivot and add fullness. My daughter thinks I can do anything in the realm of sewing…not so!


What if you have a garment that you have completely worn through like a pair of pants? Can you take the garment apart and create a pattern from it? using the pieces as a stencil for a new garment? I figure that I would have to use the same material, or something very close to the original.


interesting explanation for make pattern from clothing. Thanks for sharing..

Dee in Californai

To comment on Althea and Laura’s comments – when your original garment was sewn, if the dart was from the waist up toward the bust line, the dart TOOK IN the fullness – so, you’d have to estimate from the dart in the garment. you would cut the piece for the upper front of the garment a bit wider on the side at the waistline (estimating how much by the width of the dart in the garment – perhaps 1/2 an inch (for example) and then tapering to nothing by the time you get to the end of the dart.


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