Enlarging a design by hand
Designed by Carol Zentgraf, directions are on p.
Designed by Carol Zentgraf, directions are on p.68 of the Spring Issue.

The Spring Issue offered two patterns that called for pattern enlargement, the Bean Bag Chair and “Rusty’s Playhouse”, and while the full-size patterns are available under our Web Extras page for printing, sometimes you just need to do it a different way. You can take your magazine to a copy center or do it by hand, which by the way, is a totally reasonable thing to do. In fact, enlarging a pattern is not terribly difficult to do by hand, and is something everyone used to know how to do because there was no other way.

Designed by Elaine Schmidt, the directions are on pp. 69-72 of the Spring Issue.
Designed by Elaine Schmidt, the directions are on pp. 69-72 of the Spring Issue.

Here’s how it works. The original pattern will have the design printed on a grid. In this case, notations say “1 square = 1 inch”.

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I like to label the grid with letters on one side and numbers on another. Also, note the enlargement information at the bottom of the pattern.

 

To enlarge this pattern to the correct size, you will first need to make the grid. To keep it all in one piece, I like to use freezer paper or some other big piece of paper. Use a grid ruler and fine tip marker of a lighter color to mark a grid that is composed of 1″ x 1″ squares. Make sure you count out how many that you will need both horizontally and vertically! For the bean bag project, that’s

I like to use lighter colors like this pink because it is less distracting.
I like to use lighter colors like this pink because it is less distracting. I also like to use the edge of the freezer paper as my starting point, because it is perfectly straight.

 

You can make the grid as big as you like, though, as long as each square is the same size. Want a bean bag chair that is twice the size of this one? Make each square 2″ x 2″ and go to town.

After I get all the horizontals drawn in, then I start on the verticals, making sure my first line is perfectly square.

After I get all the horizontals drawn in, then I start on the verticals, making sure my first line is perfectly square.

After your grid is complete, sketch in the pattern with a pencil.  I like to eyeball where the pattern lines cross the grid and mark the approximate spot with a dot. Find those spots where they are almost halfway between where the lines cross and work back from there.

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Connect the lines in a smooth curve.  If you have a french curve as for garment sewing sometimes that can help.

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Mark all details on the top of the pattern as they were originally (grainline, fold line, etc.). Once you start sketching things, in, you can also adjust the line as you feel necessary.

If you don’t feel like drawing the whole grid out, maybe consider printing out accurate 1″ grids instead and taping them together.  Just don’t iron over the tape! Happy sewing!

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