Making patterns with Glad Press n’ Seal

I received a few questions on Facebook for how to make a pattern with Glad Press n’ Seal, so here is a short and quick explanation.

I really hate buying patterns, and then finding after construction that it just doesn’t fit me or flatter me.  It is a waste of time and money and just very, very annoying and maddening.  The best way to work around this angst is to make a pattern from something you know already fits and flatters your body.

This is a quick and dirty way of making a pattern from a top/skirt/leggings that you already own.  If something has darts it will require a bit of pattern tweaking and pattern working, and that is not quick and dirty.


Glad Press N’ Seal
A Sharpie/marker/pen
Garment that fits
Parchment paper, craft paper, pattern ease to transfer your pattern onto

This is Glad Press n’ Seal, which if you are in U.S.A is pretty much in any grocery store.

glad press n seal

It is a sticky, clingy film and works great for this type of project.

Here is the basic process:

– Turn your garment inside out, so you can see all the seam lines.  Lay as flat as possible.

– Tear off a piece of clingwrap and lay onto the garment.  Make sure everything is as flat as possible, and work out any wrinkles in the garment or the clingwrap.  You will do each pattern piece one at a time.   Cover the area plus some extra.  You need to go from seam line to seam line.  If the piece is too small, just pull off more and smooth it over the top.  It will stick together.

– Trace along the seam line with a pen or marker.  A pen tends to smear a bit, since the plastic doesn’t take to writing utensils too well.  Sharpies work best.  Don’t expect super clean and straight lines here.  You can clean it up later.

– Now tear off a piece of paper to tranfer your pattern onto.  Clingwrap doesn’t stick well to shiny parchment paper, so just put some fabric weights on it to keep it in place if you need.  I generally use the rolls of paper at office stores that teachers use for posters.

– Lay your clingwrap on the transfer paper and cut out the pattern with a seam allowance.   Clean up any wavy lines and if the original garment is too short/too long/a little tight/a little loose…make those adjustments now.

– Do this for each fabric piece on the garment.

– Use new pattern pieces to construct your garment.  I try to do a muslin first (i.e. use cheaper fabric), in case there are some tracing issues that need to be cleaned up.


A few caveats:

– The pieces will very likely not fit exactly together.  It is best to do a muslin first if it is expensive fabric, and/or if the pattern doesn’t have much wiggle room.  You can adjust the pieces from these first ones to get a perfect fit.

– Knowledge of garment construction is needed, as you obviously only have a pattern and not instructions on how to make it once you have all the pieces.  If you already have a pattern similar to your garment with instructions, that will help, though.  Also..tons of tutorials online.  Google is your friend!

I have made jeans before, so I didn’t really need pattern instructions for the ones above.  I did, however, find a different tutorial than one I have used in the past for the fly instructions.  I figured I would try it different this time.  Worked pretty well!

– Sleeves are a bit of a pain, but if you have a sleeve pattern already you can use that as a type of base for the one off of your garment.

– Use fabric similar to the fabric of the garment, as that is what it was made to use.  If you don’t, you may need to make some adjustments.

– Look at how the garment is constructed, and use interfacing, buttons, zippers where they were on the original garment.  They are generally there for a reason.  Look at the type of stitching, as well.

Hope that helps in making your own patterns from RTW clothes!

2 thoughts on “Making patterns with Glad Press n’ Seal”

    1. Well, I saw it on a blog or forum once years ago, and thought it was a great idea. So not my idea, but still a great idea! 🙂

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