When you delve into the world of sewing, you’re bound to encounter a multitude of symbols, numbers, and cryptic markings on sewing patterns. These little hieroglyphics may seem baffling at first, but they hold the key to creating beautifully crafted garments. 

Two numbers that often leave beginners puzzled are ’45’ and ’60.’ What does ’45’ and ’60’ mean on a sewing pattern?

In this article, we will demystify the enigmatic ’45’ and ’60’ that you’ll often encounter on sewing patterns. These numbers play a crucial role in helping you achieve the perfect fit and style for your sewing projects. 

Whether you’re a seasoned seamstress or just starting, understanding these symbols will empower you to bring your creative sewing visions to life with precision and confidence.

So, let’s unravel the mystery and discover the significance of ’45’ and ’60’ in the world of sewing patterns.

What Does '45' and '60' Mean on a Sewing Pattern

What Does ’45’ and ’60’ Mean on a Sewing Pattern?

Before we dive into deciphering ’45’ and ’60,’ it’s essential to establish a solid foundation in understanding sewing patterns. 

Sewing patterns are the blueprints for creating garments, offering guidance on everything from fabric choices to construction techniques. They consist of various elements, including lines, symbols, and, of course, numbers.

The Importance of Grainlines

The grainline is a fundamental concept in sewing, as it determines the direction in which the fabric stretches and drapes. Understanding and respecting the grainline ensures that your garment will hang correctly and fit well. 

When you lay your pattern pieces on the fabric, you’ll notice a straight line with arrows labeled ‘grainline.’ This line indicates the direction in which the fabric should align with the pattern.

Deciphering ’45’ and ’60’

Deciphering '45' and '60'

Now, let’s turn our attention to the heart of this guide: the numbers ’45’ and ’60.’ When you examine your sewing pattern, you might find these numbers positioned near or along the grainline. But what do they mean?

The Significance of 45

The number ’45’ on a sewing pattern typically represents the angle at which you should place the pattern piece on your fabric concerning the grainline. 

It indicates a 45-degree angle to the grainline, or in other words, it instructs you to place the pattern piece on the bias. The bias of the fabric is the diagonal direction, which has more stretch and allows for unique drape and design possibilities.

Using ’45’ to Your Advantage

Understanding the significance of ’45’ opens up exciting opportunities for creativity in your sewing projects. Placing a pattern piece on the bias can result in a garment that drapes beautifully and has a unique, dynamic look. 

Bias-cut garments are known for their elegant flow and comfort, making them ideal for items like dresses, skirts, and blouses.

The Meaning of ’60’

Similarly, ’60’ on a sewing pattern instructs you to place the pattern piece at a 60-degree angle to the grainline.

This angle, also known as the “true bias,” is steeper than the 45-degree angle, and it creates even more stretch and drape in the fabric. 

True bias cuts are particularly useful for creating garments that require intricate curves and shaping.

Leveraging ’60’ for Creative Sewing

Leveraging '60' for Creative Sewing

The ’60’ angle is a valuable tool for constructing garments with unique designs and details. When you use the true bias, you can achieve intricate curves and drapes that are difficult to achieve with a straight grainline. 

It’s perfect for making bias tape, and ruffles, and adding interesting design elements to your projects.

Practical Tips and Considerations

Now that you understand the meaning of ’45’ and ’60,’ it’s essential to consider some practical tips and things to keep in mind when working with these angles on your sewing patterns:

Accuracy is Key

Precision in aligning your pattern piece is crucial. When working with these angles, even a slight deviation can affect the overall look and fit of your garment. 

Use a ruler or a specialized quilting ruler to ensure that the pattern is placed accurately. Double-check your measurements before cutting to avoid any mistakes.

Cutting Techniques

Fabric cut on the bias or true bias has more stretch and flexibility compared to the straight grain. This can make it a bit trickier to cut cleanly. 

To achieve clean, precise cuts, invest in sharp scissors or a rotary cutter. Ensure your cutting surface is smooth and flat to avoid uneven edges.

Test Swatches

Creating test swatches is a valuable practice, especially when you’re working with unfamiliar fabrics or experimenting with new designs. This allows you to observe how the fabric behaves with ’45’ or ’60’ angles. 

You can test for stretch, drape, and how the pattern looks on the bias before committing to your main project.

Pattern Alterations

Changing the angle of a pattern piece can significantly alter the way your garment fits and drapes. If you’re not getting the desired result, be prepared to make alterations.

This may involve adjusting the seam allowances, adding darts, or modifying the pattern itself. Fit is crucial in sewing, and understanding how these angles affect it is essential.

Stabilizing the Bias

The bias of the fabric tends to stretch more than the straight grain. To prevent excessive stretching and distortion during sewing, consider stabilizing the bias. You can achieve this by using stay tape or starch. 

Stay tape is a narrow, stable tape that can be sewn into the seam allowances to reinforce the fabric. Starching the fabric slightly can also help maintain its shape during sewing, making it easier to work with.

How Do You Read a Sewing Pattern Size?

How Do You Read a Sewing Pattern Size

Understanding how to read and select the right size can be a bit challenging, especially for beginners. 

In this section, we will walk you through the process of deciphering sewing pattern sizes, ensuring your sewing projects result in a well-fitted and stylish garment.

Understanding Sewing Pattern Sizes

Sewing patterns are available in various sizes, just like ready-made clothing. Unlike ready-made clothing, where you can try on different sizes to find the right fit, sewing patterns require you to choose the size based on your measurements. 

Therefore, understanding how pattern sizes work is crucial.

Measuring Yourself Accurately

Before you can select the appropriate sewing pattern size, you need to take accurate body measurements. Key measurements typically include bust, waist, hip, and sometimes other specific measurements like inseam length. 

Using a flexible measuring tape, ensure that you measure without pulling too tight or leaving excess slack. Keep your measurements as accurate as possible to select the right size.

Reading the Size Chart

Every sewing pattern includes a size chart, typically found on the pattern envelope or in the instruction booklet. This chart provides a range of measurements corresponding to each size included in the pattern. 

Compare your body measurements to the size chart to identify the size range that best matches your proportions. Remember that pattern sizes may not align with ready-to-wear sizes, so don’t rely on your usual clothing size.

Selecting the Correct Size

Once you’ve located your size range on the size chart, it’s time to select the right size for your project. If your measurements fall between two sizes, it’s generally recommended to choose the larger size. You can always make adjustments later to achieve a perfect fit.

Evaluating Ease

Ease refers to the additional space built into a garment to allow for comfortable movement. The amount of ease varies based on the type of garment and design. It’s important to consider ease when selecting your size. 

For a close-fitting garment, you may choose a size that closely matches your body measurements. For a loose or relaxed fit, you might opt for a size with more ease.

Pattern Alterations

In some cases, you may need to make pattern alterations to achieve the best fit. This could involve grading between sizes, lengthening or shortening pattern pieces, or making adjustments for your unique body shape. 

Pattern alterations may seem intimidating at first, but with practice and patience, you can customize patterns to suit your preferences and body type.

Testing the Fit

Before cutting into your fabric, consider making a mock-up or muslin of the garment.

This allows you to assess the fit and make any necessary alterations without compromising your final fabric. Testing the fit is a valuable step that can save you time and frustration in the long run.

Fitting Issues and Solutions

Understanding common fitting issues, such as gaping, tightness, or excess fabric, is essential for troubleshooting and making necessary adjustments. This chapter provides insights into common problems and solutions for achieving a well-fitting garment.

Sizing Discrepancies

Keep in mind that different pattern companies may have variations in their sizing. It’s essential to measure yourself and select the size based on each pattern’s individual size chart. Don’t assume that you wear the same size in every pattern.


What Does ’45’ Mean on a Sewing Pattern?

The ’45’ on a sewing pattern typically refers to the width of the fabric in inches. It’s a common notation used to specify the width of the fabric you should use for your project.

What Does ’60’ Mean on a Sewing Pattern?

The ’60’ on a sewing pattern also relates to the fabric width, indicating that you should use fabric that is 60 inches wide for your project. 

Why Is Fabric Width Important in Sewing Patterns?

Fabric width is crucial because it determines how much material you need and how the pattern pieces should be laid out on the fabric. It ensures that your project turns out correctly in terms of size and proportions.

Can I Use a Different Fabric Width Than What’s Indicated on the Pattern?

You can use a different fabric width, but it may affect the amount of fabric you need and how you lay out your pattern pieces. Adjustments may be necessary to accommodate a different fabric width.

How Do I Choose the Right Fabric Width for My Sewing Project?

To choose the right fabric width, follow the pattern’s recommendation. If the pattern specifies ’45’, use 45-inch-wide fabric, and if it says ’60’, use 60-inch-wide fabric. If the pattern doesn’t specify, you can consult with a knowledgeable salesperson at a fabric store for guidance.


The numbers ’45’ and ’60’ on sewing patterns are not just random figures but essential guides that can elevate your sewing skills. 

By deciphering their meaning and significance, you gain the ability to make informed decisions about fabric placement, grain lines, and seam allowances.

This knowledge enables you to create garments that fit perfectly, drape elegantly, and showcase your unique style.

As you continue your sewing journey, remember that understanding these small yet vital details will set you apart as a more accomplished and confident seamstress. 

Embrace the opportunity to experiment and grow in your craft, knowing that ’45’ and ’60’ are not mere digits but tools that empower you to turn fabric into art. 

So, go ahead and take your sewing skills to the next level, armed with the newfound wisdom of these mysterious numbers, and let your creativity flourish in every stitch.

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