Rubbing replication and reconstruction is an easy way to replicate your favorite garments.

I frequently get asked to make replicas of garments. When I tell the client I will need to dissect their garment I usually get a crazy look followed by, “You can’t cut this XYZ.” Over the years I have found new ways around the dismantling of originals and lately I have been experimenting with garment rubbing.

Garment rubbing is when you lay tracing paper over a garment and rub chalk all around the parts get an impression.

You will need the original garment, tracing paper, scissors and chalk to get started. I like to use flat tailors chalk because it’s easy for rubbing just on the seams. My tracing paper is somewhat translucent so I can see through it to make sure nothing is slipping. You can get an entire roll for about $10 online.

You only need to rub half of the garment for a pattern. I like to lay the garment as flat as possible with no creases and rub my chalk on each seam.


Getting curved pieces to lay flat can be tricky. You will need to do these pieces (like sleeves) separate and try your best to get them to lay flat.

Once you have a good rubbing you can cut all your pieces, add seam allowance and label them. It is important to label them not just as what they are but also if they represent the top or bottom and also how much seam allowance.Having all this information in one place on the pattern makes reconstruction go easier. Side seams for my serger will be 1/4″ while hemlines are hemlines will be 1″ longer.

It is important to use a similar fabric for your replica. The shirts seemed to be the same size when finished. I believe due to the fact the new fabric was thinner it was larger when on the body. This was an easy fix by taking it up in the sides. If you are lucky enough to try it on multiple times before finishing this makes it even easier!

TIP. A knit needs to be a knit with the same amount of stretch. Always test your stitches before getting started.

After putting it all back together place it up against the original and remember that nothing is ever perfect.













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Last week I organized my home sewing office and had a really fun craft night with my good friends.

Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh
Dream it, Sew it!