Circle:  Tygerberg

Branch:  De la Haye

Portfolio: Lifestyle

Reporter:  Elizabeth Joseph

Date:  12 February 2023


Needelwork – How to read a pattern / Making an Apron

Our first meeting for 2023 was well attended by members and visitors alike.

Was good to see all members after the festive break.

Babs van Wyk explained to all how to read a pattern and then did a demonstration on how to make an apron. She shows us different types of material and explained the meaning of NAPS (the texture of the fabric and describes which way the fibres align)

How to Read a Sewing Pattern

Find Your Size

When you get a sewing pattern, the first thing you’ll want to do is determine the size you want to make.

Buy your material and other odds and ends needed.

Once you know what size you need to make, look at the measurement chart and write down the amount of material you need for the size you are making. Most patterns list different lengths of material required for 115cm (45”) and 150cm (60”) material.

If you choose material with a directional pattern or nap, buy extra material so you can match stripes and patterns.

There is also a section on the back of your pattern that lists the odds and ends you’ll need, such as buttons, zippers, thread and elastic. Write all these items down before you start to shop.

Read Your Pattern and Cut Out the Pieces

After you know what size, you are going to make, unfold the paper pattern and cut out the pieces.

Cut Out Your Material

Now that you have all your paper pattern pieces ready, it’s time to lay them out on your material and cut everything out. Just make sure you have washed your material first!

It’s best to lay out your material on a large table so you can cut out several pattern pieces at once. You can use pins to attach your paper pieces to your material.

Cut on Fold

It’s common for sewing patterns to have a ‘Cut on Fold’ marking, especially front bodice pieces and skirts. It looks like a double-sided arrow pointing to one edge of your pattern piece. When you see this, you need to fold your material in half and place that piece along your fold line with the arrows pointing to the fold.


Almost all pattern pieces have a “Grainline” marking. It is usually in the center of your piece. The arrows on this mark indicate the direction you should place your pattern pieces — typically parallel to your selvage edges.

When material is manufactured, it is usually cut on the cross grain, which is the grain running the width of the material. The grainline is very important because it determines how your garment hangs when worn. It also determines the amount of stretch.

Number of Pieces to Cut

Be aware of how many pieces you need to cut. Many pattern pieces will indicate you need to cut 2. This is common when you need to create a garment.


Notches indicate where you should match points on your pattern. They typically look like little triangles close to the edge of the cut line.

When you cut out your pattern, you should mark these notches either with a material pen or chalk. Some people may even cut these notches out of the material by cutting a small triangle above the notch so that the triangle notch in the pattern and the material notch make a diamond shape.

 Fun and Useful Fact: It is normal to have single notches for front pieces and double notches for back pieces. For example, the sleeve of a shirt may have a single notch for the piece that should be sewn to the front bodice and a double notch to the piece sewn to the back bodice.

Follow the Steps to Construct Your Garment

Next is learning how to read the instructions in your sewing pattern. Almost every pattern comes with detailed step-by-step directions (with pictures) on how to assemble your garment.

Right Side/Wrong Side of Material

Make sure you understand the difference between the right side and wrong side of material. The right side is the side that has the pattern, or the side you want to be on the outside of your finished product. The wrong side is the opposite.

Enjoy Your Masterpiece and Show It Off

Once you’ve completed all the steps in your sewing pattern, it’s time to celebrate! Your sewing project is complete.

Part of the fun of sewing is showing off the things you make. It’s so satisfying to say, “I made that!”

Back of pattern

Babs van Wyk showing different types of material






Babs van Wyk explains about Nap

PhotoBabs van Wyk showing the patterns instructions

Demo – how to lay pattern and pin it down

Lucky draw winner Marina Klomp from Kuilsrivier with Rika Steenkamp

All the ladies at the meeting






New member with most competition entries for 2022 Maria de Jongh receiving her trophy from Nellie Costerus