After my last post there were requests to show how I copy RTW when I have the item.
First, these are the materials I use: GLAD Press n' Seal, scissors, tracing wheel, ruler, curve, pattern weights, pencil, sharp tip marker or any other marker.
Other helpful materials: pretty much anything that is generally useful for drafting, e.g. hipcurve, metal curve, etc.
I start by laying the item flat and placing GLAD on top with the stickier side towards the garment. Then, I use a marker to mark the seamlines, garment outlines, etc.:
Next, I lift the GLAD sheet and place it on tha pattern paper with the sticky side down , and with a tracing wheel go over all the marks:
Then, I completely remove the GLAD sheet and as you can see the marks are indented in the paper:
Last, I go with a marker.pencil over the tracing wheel indentations:
Of course, it is a whole lot more complicated when you have darts in the pattern, gathering, sleeves, etc. Even if there are no such complications, you still should not rely solely on what you've traced. You have to measure to ascertain the side seams on the back and front are the same, that curves are appropriate, that everything is symetrical. Of course, you need to make a muslin as well. Thread has had some good articles on the topic. In future when I copy something with a more difficult element, I'll try to document the process for those interested.
BTW, the tracing you see above is a tracing a did for one of the items from my SS'09 sewing plan: the Loose Woven Tank. Initially, I was planning on using This Burda 7661 View B. When I thought about it, though, it became clear that the only instance I needed a pattern for was for the armhole. Therefore, I decided to skip buying a pattern and instead traced off the armhole of a tank I have. I had to lower it and tweak it but that could have very well been the case with the Burda pattern anyway. It took me two muslins but I ended up with something I was truly happy with. This is a collage of the pictures of the muslin I took. Excuse the poor quality but it was close to midnight and the lighting in my sewing room was not optimal.