Today, we’re going to cut our fabric! I’ll be cutting View A in a teal polyester print, and View B in a cream silk satin. For today’s demo, I’m cutting the teal polyester print in the draped sleeve version.
I’m thinking I will just show you how to cut once, instead of showing you the cutting of View B, as they’re the same except for the sleeve pieces. Is everyone OK with this? Please let me know if you really want to see the cutting of View B as well.
Need to catch up on the previous Sew-Along posts? Here are the links for your reference:
- Pendrell Sew-Along: Supply List, Schedule & Sew-Along Badge
- Pendrell Sew-Along #2: Prewashing your Fabric
- Pendrell Sew-Along #3: Measuring and Choosing Your Size
- Pendrell Sew-Along #4: Shortening the Blouse Length
- Pendrell Sew-Along #5: Altering The Hip and Waist
- Pendrell Sew-Along #6: Princess-Seam FBA (Full Bust Adjustment)
Here’s the fabric we’re working with today. It’s oh-so-slippery and smooth, so cutting will be challenging!
First, fold your fabric in half, right sides on the inside, selvages together. (Did you know: selvage is US English, and selvedge is British English? Both are correct!)
Lay out your folded fabric on a flat, hard surface. Some of you might use the floor, or your dining table, or maybe you’re really lucky and have a large, high cutting surface.
At home I use the dining table, but at Spool of Thread they have big, high cutting tables. Definitely worth dropping in to do some cutting on the tables there, which is what I did!
Grab the instruction sheet from your pattern, and find the right layout. First, find the view you’re making (A, B, or C) and then choose either 45″ (115 cm) or 60″ (150 cm) wide fabric. If you like, circle the layout you’re using with a pencil, so it’s easier to find the right one at a glance.
If you can’t remember how wide your fabric is, measure it up again! You can measure it while it’s laid out flat. Just measure from fold to selvage, and double it! Mine is just over 29″ wide, which makes it 58″ in total. So I’ll follow the layout for 59″/60″ wide fabric.
The fabric layout will also tell you which pattern pieces you need. For View A, I need all pieces except for the ruffles.
NOTE: I’m demonstrating with the actual tissue pieces. If you’ve made alterations, or traced off the pieces, follow along using your new pattern pieces.
Unfold the tissue, and cut loosely around the pattern pieces. When you’re done, you will have one piece of tissue for each pattern piece with extra tissue space left around the actual pattern lines.
If necessary, iron the pattern pieces with a cool dry iron to remove any wrinkles.
Now, lay out the tissue pieces according to the cutting layout. Your fabric may be ever-so-slightly wider or narrower than the standard 45″ or 60″ widths, so you may have to shuffle a bit to get them to fit. Also, if you’ve made alterations to the tissue pieces, you may need more or less fabric than the regular requirements.
Start pinning any of the pieces that go along the fold. In this case, the front and back pieces are both cut on the fold. Line up the fold line of the pattern pieces along the folded edge of the fabric, and pin along the fold first.
Smooth out the pattern piece with your hand, going from the fold towards the other edge of the piece. Pin along the remaining edges of the pattern piece.
If you’re worried about the pins leaving pin-marks in your fabric, then pin close to the edges, within 5/8″ (1.5cm) of the tissue edge. This way, your pin-marks will be in the seam allowances only and won’t ruin your delicate fabric!
After the pattern pieces on the fold are done, let’s pin the rest of the pattern pieces in place. The grainline is used to line up the pattern pieces. Place the grainline parallel to the fold or to the selvage, so that it’s on the straight grain. In order to make sure our grainlines are straight, use a tape measure to measure from each end of the grainline to the fold or selvage.
Start at one end of the grainline arrow, and measure to the fold, as shown:
Measure the other end of the grainline, and adjust the piece so it’s the same distance from the edge.
For example, my first end of the grainline was 9 1/4″ from the fold, so I want to make sure my other end is 9 1/4″ from the fold as well. Just pivot the piece until it’s in line with the grainline.
Repeat with all of the pattern pieces. I recommend pinning everything before you start to cut, just in case you need to move the pieces around as you go. Even if you’re working on a small surface, just slide your fabric down the table, and keep pinning. Slide it back to the beginning when it’s time to cut.
We’re all pinned and ready to cut!
Before you grab the scissors, do one last comparison to the fabric layout on the instruction sheet. Does yours look like the diagram, more or less? Do you have all of the pieces pinned on – do a quick count to be sure. It sounds obvious, but it will get you in the habit of checking, for when you move on to more complicated projects!
Cut along the dotted or dashed line for your size. The lines are marked with size numbers at different spots along the pattern piece.
Cutting is done! Save the extra scraps of fabric for testing. I always save all of my fabric scraps until the project is done, just in case! Toss them in a grocery bag or other handy place, so they don’t get thrown out accidentally.
Mark all of the markings on your pattern pieces before you remove the tissue. I like to clip inwards for my notches, and use chalk or pin-markings for the other markings.
If you’re making View A, the most important markings are the pleats on the sleeve. Make sure these are marked clearly on your fabric!
I also like to leave my tissue pieces attached as long as I can, so I know which piece is which. Remove all pins except for one, or re-pin right through the middle to secure the tissue.
Let’s stop here for today. Tomorrow we finally start to sew!
Intermediate and expert sewists, thanks for your patience as we go at beginner speed. Beginners – how’s the pace so far? Any questions on cutting or marking your fabric? I know there are a few questions from the last post still unanswered. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of those today!
Next post: the first couple of sewing steps!