Tip of the Week – How to preserve commercial tissue paper sewing patterns

This weeks fabulous sewing tip comes straight from my brilliant Gramma!

After digging through a box of inherited craft supplies one day, I came across a particularly well loved pattern. As I began to remove the pieces from the envelope to make sure they were all accounted for I made a rather surprising discovery. . . The tissue paper pieces were all stiff! And not stiff in an “eww gross! Where has this been?” kinda way, but sturdy, flexible, and not falling apart mangled the way many of my other 30+ year old commercial tissue paper patterns are.

Of course after bringing it to my Gramma’s attention she had no memory anymore of who, where, or when the pattern had come from. But she did recall having used fusible interfacing to stiffen special patterns that she planned to work with repeatedly or pass on to friends. I was astounded! Why have I never heard (or thought ) about doing this? What a perfect way to preserve those lovely vintage patterns that we all scour the yard sales and thrift stores for! I really hope I’m not secretly just the last person to figure this out…


Sugar Tart Crafts sewing tip of the week

Use fusible interfacing to stabilize delicate tissue paper patterns.
How to preserve tissue paper sewing patterns.

Remove creases from the pattern piece with a warm iron.
Cut a piece of interfacing the size of your pattern.


Use a warm iron and press cloth to lightly fuse the interfacing to the pattern piece.


Trim away any excess interfacing.
Increase the heat and fuse the layers together firmly with the paper side up.
Repeat the process with any remaining pattern pieces.
Please keep in mind that it is still possible to stretch these out of shape or accidently poke holes through them
if you aren’t careful. But they are definitely much more sturdy than your average piece of tissue paper.
 Is that not the most brilliant thing you’ve seem all week?
Bonus points for all the amazingly crafty Grandmas!


P.S. – Don’t forget to check out the Sewing Tips page,

or join the Tip of the Week pin board for even more fun sewing tips!

26 thoughts on “Tip of the Week – How to preserve commercial tissue paper sewing patterns

  1. That IS the most brilliant thing I've seen all week! I find I'm scared to use my commercial patterns for fear of not being able to use them again. Which is daft because then I never use them!

    1. Wait, you mean we're actually supposed to use, the stuff in our stash? All this time I thought we were just supposed to hoard it and drool on it sometimes. 😛

  2. Great tip! I have some vintage kids' patterns that deserve this special treatment. (It reminds me, somehow, of the fancying up process the characters go through in the Wizard of Oz.)

  3. I never in a million years would have thought of that. What an awesome idea! I don't use patterns often, but I swear I ALWAYS end up tearing the pieces and trying to Frankenstein them back together with tape and staples. It isn't pretty.

    1. O my gosh, Corbin just got a hold of one of my patterns the other day and Frankenstein-ing is the perfect description of what I was doing in my attempt to salvage the leftovers!

  4. Oh, jeez! I have blown through so many patterns I can't begin to count. And all I needed to do was to was this to same them. Thanks for the greatest tip ever.

  5. OK. This idea is genius! I have so many patterns that are almost unusable and this is the perfect fix! Thanks for linking up!

    -Missy @ So You Think You're Crafty

  6. I'm so happy you've all found this idea so useful! I thought for sure someone was going to say "Well duh. Everyone knows that!" and I'd just be a big loser. 😉

  7. Great tip!
    I have one for you. If you want a pattern piece but don't want to cut into your pattern piece (so you can use the other sizes), use florist's wrap! It's clear, is slightly static so it 'hugs' your pattern piece so that you can trace it with a Sharpy. I've been doing this when I borrow my friends patterns. I don't have to cut the smaller size out, and she can reuse the pattern herself. She has started doing this as well. It's great for all those kids patterns, that you want to keep the larger size for when they grow.

    1. Thanks Ruthie. That sounds brilliant! I do tend to trace my patterns rather than cutting them out, but tracing on something clear would make the process sooo much easier!

  8. This is my favorite way to preserve my patterns! I just stumbled upon your blog and I can see that I love it already! I have a non-sewing question for you: How did you get the cute little arrows with the writing inside on your photos? I love that and I'd love to learn how! Anyhow, fabulous blog! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Trish! Those particular arrows I added using PicMonkey, but I've also done similar versions with Photoshop. In PicMonkey you just add the arrow you like from their selection, enlarge it, fade it a little, and slap some text on top. Just make sure you note the color and sizes from the first pic so you can repeat it on all the rest. Thanks so much for visiting!

  9. Thank you! I've been avoiding learning photoshop for a good long time, and will likely continue my efforts. I've been happy with Picasa for years and years, but I love these overlays I've been seeing! Thanks for sharing with me! 🙂

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