Thursday, January 19, 2012

1911 Sew Along: Enlarging the Pattern

My patterns, enlarged and altered
I've gotten the previously frustrating process of enlarging patterns down pat. I used to do the radial projection method of pattern enlargement. It made me want to pull my hair out. Basically you measure the distance between two points on the mini pattern, multiply that measurement by 8 (if the pattern scale is 1/8" = 1" that is) and line your yardstick up so it passes through both points, measure out that distance, and mark a point, then go all around the pattern in this manner until you can connect the points. Basically, it takes forever, just to do one piece, and minute errors in measuring translate to huge errors when multiplied.  An error of 1/32nd of an inch for example ends up putting your point off by 1/4" when multiplied by 8. Those can really add up and leave you with a distorted piece.
So here's the method that I use, though not the only one. I find this is pretty fast and painless. I enlarge in Photoshop or Gimp (I actually prefer Gimp for this even though I have both). There's a couple of tricks I've developed that help with this. Here's my process:
I scan the image into my computer and open it up with the pattern editing software. If I am dealing with many pieces, I isolate one pattern piece by cropping the rest out. Then I set the canvas size to 8 1/2" by 11" which is the size of my paper I am going to print on. Then I enlarge the image 800% (when the scale is 1/8" = 1"). The pattern piece is then larger than the canvas.  I move the pattern around saving each 8 1/5" by 11" piece to my computer. Now when I have a large piece that has a basic shape or has a long straight line, it can get confusing when taping everything together to determine where exactly they match up. So I, with my pencil tool, draw little squiggly lines on the seam between two pieces. That way, it is possible to match the squiggly lines up when taping. The more squiggly line you draw the more accurately you can line everything up. Finally print everything out, match up the squiggly lines, tape everything together, and alter the pattern as needed.

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