How To Knock Off a Garment Using Painter’s Tape

I am back from vacation and back on track.  The hot weather had me thinking that I could use a couple more pairs of shorts, so I decided to knock off my favorite pair.  It’s no secret that garment knock off is a common practice in the fashion industry.  Usually, garments from higher price points are copied by more affordable brands for it’s design and silhouette.  I’ve done so many while working full time as a patternmaker; I can practically do them with my eyes closed. 😀

This quick method I am sharing with you today is something I learned back in school for Intermediate Construction class.  It’s so fast and easy, that I can’t believe I didn’t remember to use it at my last job.  Here is what you’ll need:

– One roll of ~ 1” wide blue painter’s tape
– One roll of ~2” wide blue painter’s tape
– Measuring tape
– Scissors
– Clear ruler (for patternmaking)
– Pencil
– Marker paper (or any other paper you feel comfortable using for patterns)

I love these Bermuda shorts because they fit me exceptionally well.  I like that they are mid rise, with a bit of stretch, so that they sit comfortably around my waist.  If you decide to copy a garment with some stretch, make sure the fabric you buy will have the same amount of stretch.


For curves, clip the tape carefully for better coverage.

Lay your garment down flat.  Maneuver it so that the pattern piece you are currently working on is flat on the table.  In this photo, I am working on the front piece. (Note: I am not copying the cuffs on the shorts.)  Follow the seams of the garment to outline with the 1″ wide roll of tape.Fill in the shape that you just outlined with the 2″ wide roll of tape.  Make sure to cover all grounds so that it can be peeled off in one piece.


Because the back piece is bigger, you’ll need to curve the tape around to reach the inseam.  Carefully unfold it, and you’ll have a nice whole piece.



Tape the pieces on your marker paper and trace the outside with a pencil.
We use painter’s tape because it is less tacky, and can be peeled off easily, but I’d still recommend sticking it loosely on the paper for an easier time peeling later.


I did the same process with the back yoke and the waist band.  Note the curve of the waist band.


Peel  off the tape CAREFULLY, and measure the seams of your garment to compare with your pencil outline.  This step is very important, especially around the crotch area.  In this photo, you can see the adjustments I made based on the actual garment measurements.  Walk the seams that will be sewn together.


Now you can add your pocket details, fly extension, and seam allowance.  I decided to get rid of the flap on the back pockets, and just make a patch pocket.  I draft the pocket on the back piece, and mark drill holes for placement.  For front pockets, mark the shape and placement on your front piece.


Here are all of my pieces lined up:


From top left:
Fly extension (mine are 1 3/4″ wide)
Fly facing
Front pocket lining
Front pocket
Back yoke
Back pocket
Waist band (note: one side is 1 3/4″ longer to match the fly extension)

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  1. Ayron Bloss says

    Such a great idea! Totally makes knocking off super easy! Thanks for sharing!

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