For me it depends on where the pattern is from.
If it’s a pattern out of a sewing book I’m definitely a tracer. Sometimes I have to because the pattern pieces overlap or the pattern sheets are double-sided; but even if they are just nested pattern pieces I prefer to trace.
If I only have a paper copy of a pattern I trace. I like having the flexibility of having all the sizes in tact. It also means that I can make changes to the pattern knowing that if I make a hug mistake I can go back and trace the original again.
If it’s a PDF pattern that I’ve printed and pasted together I will usually cut it out. BUT if it was a pain to print and stick together or it has a huge number of pages I may trace or I’ll cut the outline of all the sizes and fold the bits of the sizes I don’t need out of the way.
I usually trace over grease proof paper from the supermarket. It’s transparent, it’s cheap, it’s simple to find more and it’s a management size. Sometimes I’ll use butchers’ paper and a pattern tracing wheel.
Using an old rotary cutter when cutting out sewing patterns makes cutting out patterns pieces much quicker.
When I’m not in the mood to sew, but feel like doing something sewing related I’ll sometimes cut out the pattern pieces of the paper patterns I have. That way when I’m ready to use the pattern that’s one step I can skip.
So tell me, are you a tracer or cutter?
What’s your favourite tracing/cutting technique?
Here are some great resources for tracing or cutting sewing patterns
A Stitching Odyssey – Tracing vs. cutting – another dimension to the debate?
A Fashionable Stitch – How to Trace Sewing Patterns
Tilly and the Buttons – Tips for Tracing Sewing Patterns
So Sew Easy – Tracing Burda Patterns the Easy Way
Sewaholic – Tracing an Unprinted Vintage Pattern
Tilly and the Buttons – How to Cut Fabric Without Cutting Your Pattern (Much)
fitzfabulous on BurdaStyle – Trace a pattern easily without cutting it
Stitch Craft – Fuse & Trace Your Patterns!
Katrina Kay Creations – How to Copy Your Favorite Sewing Pattern to Create More Styles
Diane Yaghoobian – PatternReview > Tips & Techniques > Tracing patterns