Notation legend


Seams (the lines on which you sew) are indicated by a solid line. The color of the line indicates the fabric type of the pattern piece:

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Seamlines for different fabric types

Seam allowance

Seam allowance is indicated by a dashed line, that has the same width and color as the seam they belong to:

/><!-- no extras -->fabric sa lining sa canvas sa interfacing sa various sa
Seam allowance for different fabric types

Note that the corners of the seam allowance are trimmed, and not extended:

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A trimmer seam allowance corner

Other lines

Some patterns may have other lines on them, there are 4 additional styles:

  • Note
  • Mark
  • Contrast
  • Help

They might be used by patterns designers to add additional info, depending on the context.

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Other line styles

Grainline and cut-on-fold indicator

Grainlines — a line that indicates the fabric grainSee Fabric grain in the Sewing documentation — look like this:

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A grainline indicator

Cut-on-fold indicators look similar, but point towards the line on which the fabric should be folded:

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A cut-on-fold indicator


There are two types of notches. The default notch is a blue dot in a blue circle.

An alternative style shows a red cross in a red circle. This style is used to indicate the back of a garment. For example, on a sleevecap you may see a blue and a red notch. This way you know which side of the sleevecap is the front (the one with the blue notch).

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The default notch style (shown left) and alternative style for notches on the back

Why we chose these notches

In electromagnetism, a ⊙ symbol is used to indicate a flow of current coming towards you (to the front), whereas ⊗ is used for a current moving away from you (to the back).

You can also think of an arrow. When an arrow flies towards you, you see its tip (⊙). When an arrow flies away from you, you see its fletches (⊗).

Buttons, buttonholes, and snaps

Buttons and buttonholes may come in different sizes, but always have the same shaped that represents how they look like in real life:

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A button is shown on the left, and a buttonhole on the right

Snaps have a stud and socket part, and also look like the real thing:

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A snap stud is shown on the left, and a snap socket on the right


When you opt for a paperless pattern, your pattern will come with dimensions:

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An example of a dimension on a pattern
Pay close attention to dimension on (non paperless) patterns

Some patterns use dimension to indicate the full size of a pattern piece. This typically happens when a part is a mere rectangle and printing, as a way to save paper.

So when a pattern includes a dimension, make sure to pay attention to it.

Scale box

The scale box allows you to verify that your pattern was printed to the correct scale:

/><!-- no extras -->freesewing legend v2.10.0-rc.1 Freesewing is made by Joost De Cock and contributors with the financial support of our patrons The inside of this box should measure 10cm x 5cm The outside of this box should measure 4" x 2"
The scale box
To verify the printed size, you can first only print the page that has the scale box on it.


Each pattern piece has a title that tells you the number and name of the piece, as well as the pattern name:

/><!-- no extras -->1 Part name legend v2.10.0-rc.1
Example of a title
When you generate a pattern on, the title will also include the name of the person the pattern was made for.

Some (or all) pattern pieces may also include the FreeSewing logo. The logo has no special meaning, it’s just branding.

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The FreeSewing logo

Lines widths and strokes

Designers can, if they so choose, override the default line widths or set a specific stroke. They might do that to add additional info, like where to fold a pattern, or the outline of where a pocket would go.

For reference, here are the different available line widths:

/><!-- no extras -->stroke-xs stroke-sm default stroke-lg stroke-xl stroke-xxl
The different line widths

And these are the different stroke styles:

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The different line strokes

Freesewing is made by a community of contributors
with the financial support of our Patrons