When I first started sewing, the thing I disliked most was the time and effort it took to cut out a pattern, fold the edges to the correct size, pin the pattern to the fabric and cut the fabric with scissors. It really hindered me from sewing.
After scouring the internet for helpful hints (Melanie from A Sewing Journal was a big help!) and discovering wonderful ways to use some old tools, I have gotten so much quicker at the process. It has now become one for the easiest parts of the sewing process for me. I will usually cut pieces for several garments all at once in assembly line style, all with little effort and a lot less headaches. You want less headaches too?
First off, is an investment. Tracing paper is fairly cheap and comes in convenient rolls for easy storage. The paper I buy is fairly light which helps with tracing, but it does tend to curl up on the edges. One way to combat the curling is pressing with a medium set iron.
A rotary cutter and self healing mat is essential in this method. I can’t tell you how much easier it is than scissors. Once you go rotary, you won’t go back. These items are bit more expensive, but you can always catch them on sale at your local craft store.
Begin by placing your pattern flat on a table. Here, I am tracing a pattern from a printed and taped PDF, but you can use this same method for a store-bought tissue pattern.
Trace all the pieces, including all the pattern markings, including dots, triangles, darts and gathering points.
Also include the name of the pattern, size and grain line arrows. I always include the seam allowance on the pattern too so I don’t have to search the pattern once I start sewing.
Once all your pieces are traced and cut, you are ready to start cutting fabric. Place the pattern piece on the fabric, following the grain line as indicated on the traced pattern. Instead of pinning the pattern to the fabric, I always use weights. I found these huge washers at the hardware store and are perfect for larger pieces. For smaller or narrower pieces, you can use knives from your kitchen drawer. I have also used small ramekins and toy cars in desperation. Really, anything with weight will work.
Once the pattern is sufficiently weighted down, take your rotary cutter and beginning at any edge, start cutting, keeping your cut in line with the pattern piece. This may take a few tries getting the handle of, but I promise you, once you get it, you will love cutting fabric!
Cut all your pieces and sew your garment together with ease!
These pieces turned into a pair of undies for my 9 year old boy…hence the skulls
I asked him to model it but he said “No way!”
This post was originally for the Sew Sweetness Back to Sewing School Series and I am reposting here 🙂
Until next time…