An ode to Polytrace


Regular readers of my blog (or readers of my comments on other blogs) will know that my tracing situation has been a bit unusual. While everyone else uses lovely swedish tracing paper, or that gridded paper that looks all professional; I have been muddling along with plastic book cover rolls. I had read about this techniques ages ago on burdastyle; and while it was certainly better than using the glued-together bits of paper that result from a print-at-home pattern, and certainly better than cutting up and essentially destroying  delicate tissue patterns; plastic patterns came with their own set of challenges.

For one thing it was super-slippery, both when pinning and when cutting. It was hard to get an accurate line, especially on softer or more slippery fabrics. It also lost it’s shape a bit after being folded- the creases never quite smoothed out properly.

At some point it occurred to me to actually try the bold and unthought-of step of actually asking someone at Cape Sewing Centre if they knew where I could get proper Swedish tracing paper or the like (buying it overseas and shipping it in would have been far too costly. After a bit of conversation and very vague descriptions on my part, it turned out that in fact they did not have fancy tracing papers, but that they did have something called Polytrace that most people used instead.

Polytrace is sort of a heavy non-fusible interfacing- not that I think one would actually use if for that purpose- that is ironable, (gently) washable, and fairly hardy. It lies really nicely when you’re tracing the pattern, and is much easier to pin than the plastic. I traced all my pattern lines with a sharpie, and was happy to see that the marker didn’t smear or run. Also, it’s a really nice surface to write/ draw on- much easier to slowly, carefully trace lines. Cutting it is also a breeze.

And an unexpected bonus is that when folding it up to store it with the original pattern (I store all my pattern pieces and patterns neatly in ziploc bags), I could iron the pieces so they took up less space- I can just iron the fold lines back out the next time I use them.

One small possible  disadvantage could be tearing- it does tear a bit, although I’ve only tested this through purposeful tearing, and don’t know how well this would apply to normal use and abuse. That being said, I’m really happy with the polytrace and the best part is it’s super-cheap! It actually works out cheaper than the plastic! So that’s pretty cheap.

I love it when a plan comes together cheaply.


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