Sewing in German

Guten tag! 

. . . and, sadly, that's basically the extent of my knowledge of the German language.  But I've been seeing a ton of super fun international sewing patterns posted lately (specifically, a lot of German patterns), and I couldn't resist joining in on the craze.  When I looked at the strike-offs I sewed up for the month of February, I realized that they were all from international designers (three German, and one Australian)! 

I know some people are intimidated by sewing a pattern from a different language, but if you have basic knowledge when it comes to sewing apparel, most of the steps will be pretty self-explanatory.  And if it's a good tutorial, there should be decent pictures of the steps included in the instructions.  If all else fails, I've been loving being a part of the facebook group International Knit Sew-A-Longs; it's a great resource for help sewing international patterns.  I had a ton of fun sewing these up-- it was more of an adventure than my normal sewing!  

I'll show off what I've been making and give you some tips along the way! 


This is the Lady Tasja from MiaLuna.  I used fabric from Aurora Designs-- they have a fandom round going on right now (I got the Harry Potter print, but they also have Game of Thrones, Dr Who, Star Wars, and Super Natrual), and they also have a boat load of different colors of quilted knit available for retail (quilted knit is PERFECT for these sweatshirts!). 

I don't know why the German patterns seem especially popular, but those German designers seem to really know how to make an awesome hoodie (and in the middle of a cold, northern Wisconsin winter, all I want to wear is hoodies). I LOVE this one.  


I've been surprised by the sizing on some of these patterns.  First of all, how this pattern is called Lady Tasja? That's just for sizes 32-46. There's also "Big Lady Tasja", for sizes 46-58.  Sometimes the larger sizes are called "Curvy" (like my next pattern I used, the two patterns are called "Freya Ladies" and "Freya Ladies Curvy").   So make sure you have the right pattern for your size when purchasing.  I don't really like how they split the sizes up like that . . . it would be hard if you were a size that's right on the border between the two-- which do you choose?

For reference, I usually wear a size 8 in ready to wear, and I've been sewing up the size 40 in these German patterns.  I feel like the sizing guidance is lacking in some popular patterns I've used-- one only gave you the full bust measurement to choose size (no waist or hips), and another one didn't give a size chart at all, it had you compare a shirt you liked to the printed pattern to choose your size! 


I used both a kragen (collar) and a kapuze (hood), for this hoodie.  I've used google translate a lot while sewing these, but I've heard that Linguee can be even better.  For just a list of general sewing terms, here's a good cheat sheet from Stash for Good

English is a Germanic language, so I think you'll find that you catch on to some basic words easily.  For example, "hinten" means "back".  Think of the English word "hind" also meaning back. If you say the word out loud, that can help too; like the words "unten" (bottom), or "unterer" (lower). Say them! They sound an awful lot like "under". 


Next up is the Freya Ladies from FinnLey!  Excuse the extreme amazing-ness of this fabric.  The prints and panels are from Vintage Lace and I cannot wait to wear this this summer.  I'm totally going to win the 4th of July party!

Any way, the pattern . . . haha!

One of my favorite things about this pattern is that it actually included layers in Adobe! Unfortunately, most of the international patterns don't have layers at this point.  


Makerist is a good place to find these patterns all in one place.  Click here, and I'll help you get straight to the sewing patterns. You can pay on PayPal just like normal and have all your patterns in one place.  


When sewing these patterns up, you'll want to search to find if there is a seam allowance included. A lot of times, there is not.  The word for seam allowance is  "nahtzugabe" and it's sometimes abbreviated "NZ". 


SIDE NOTE: This is my outdoor cat Coco . . . my husband, Mike, said I could only have a cat if it was an outdoor cat. So, Coco sleeps in the garage in some comfy, cozy bedding, and spends all day inside snuggled up on my bed, ha!  She wouldn't stop meowing at me during these pictures, so I knew she wanted to be included. 

Grant also got a hoodie this month-- Stranger Things style, from Sugar Ink Fabric.  Mike and I have a hard time finding a show that we both enjoy enough to actually watch together, but Stranger Things fit the bill for us! If you haven't seen it, there's a character that really like Ego Waffles . . . thus this waffle print, haha. 


This is the Henry(ette) from Lolletroll.  I love the color blocking on the sleeve.  This pattern DOES include seam allowance, except along the curved color blocked parts, where you have to add it yourself-- tricksters.  

Something that I haven't talked about yet is printing! Most of these patterns are actually designed for A4 paper.  Personally, I just went ahead and bought A4 paper on Amazon (it fluctuates a lot in pricing, but I paid about $10 for a ream).  But, I know other people just use US legal size paper and trim it down to A4 size.  US Letter is the "normal" size of paper that we use here in the US, and I know other people who just print these patterns on letter size and make it work (sometimes it make a difference, sometimes not).  Really, I like having the A4 around because then I know I'm not going to have any issues.  


So, I made one more strike off this month, and it is technically an international pattern . . . but since it's Australian and in English, I don't think you'll have any problems! This is the Miss Ruby Tuesday, from 1 Puddle Lane, in some more 4th of July inspired prints from Vintage Lace (price of the pattern is AUD, so it's cheaper than it looks!).   This pattern has SO many options and add-ons and the fit is spot on. I LOVE it,


If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out! I'm no expert, but I'm happy to help!  Once you jump in it's really not hard to follow along, I promise :)   -Molly

Here are links one more time: --a great place to start looking for patterns

Aurora Designs-- Harry Potter and other fandoms, plus quilted knit solids
Vintage Lace-- 4th of July prints
Sugar Ink-- Stranger Things and Black Panther this round