Cutting out and marking up

Making a start.

So you’ve chosen your pattern and found your size(s). Now you need to check your instructions to see which pieces you’ll need, how many you need to cut and where they might go on the fabric. Then you can get into the cutting out and marking up.

Your instruction sheet will have a cutting layout giving you a good idea as to how best lay your pieces out for best use of fabric. The lay out plan will tell you how the fabric is meant to be folded. Which way up your pattern pieces should be and which direction to work with the grain. Take note of where they have marked the selvage. The selvedge is the woven edge of your fabric. The Grainline runs parallel with the selvedge. It will not be crucial if your fabric is patterned side up or back of fabric facing you. If your fabric is folded you will cut a pair of pattern pieces at one time.

Fabric design

When laying your fabric out, take note of the design of your fabric. If you’re not sure just go over the fabric part again, Check to see if it has a pattern that follows a direction. Does it have a right way up? Is it striped? Do you need to pattern match your pieces? If your just starting out, pick a fabric with a relatively small or random pattern so that you don’t have these extra opportunities to consider until you’ve had a bit more practice. That might feature on a future course as it’s a whole other session.

Prepping to cut.

You’ve laid your fabric out and your pattern is in place. Do you pin or are you a weight stitcher? I’m definitely a pinner. Watch the video if you’re not sure how to pin. Don’t do this on your best dining table without a little protection on the top. I pin at the grainline first, once levelled and then at each corner of the pattern, any curves and any long spaces between pins. This secures the pattern well enough to hold the fabric.

Cutting out

Using your fabric scissors, hold them as level with the surface as possible and make the first cut. Breath. Continue to breath throughout your sewing journey. Try not to lift the fabric as you cut. The less the fabric is moved, the more accurately you’ll be able to cut the pieces. Cut along the edge of each piece, taking smooth long cuts. This will enable you to end up with smooth edges once cut out.

What next? Marking up.

Marking your pattern and fabric before removing your paper. We do this with snips and tailors tacks. Wherever you have a notch or marking on the edge of your pattern, you need to mark it so that you can match it with it’s fellow later on. I snip into the fabric ( no further than 0.5cm) You can also snip a small triangle out but again not too deep so that you don’t weaken the seam allowance.

Tailor tacks.

An age old marking that can be a fiddle, has stood the test of time. Using a double thread in a needle we use a few stitches to mark the fabric. Tailor tacks are within the pattern piece. Darts, pocket placements and pleats are all marked with tailors tacks.