Thursday, March 8, 2012

Step by Step Sewing Part 2 - Pattern and Fabric Cutting

Okay so I am finally getting to the rest of this little sewing project tutorial thing. Check out the first part here. My apologies for it taking forever, life has been busy lately! Also cutting the patterns and fabric is easily the lamest part of all this, and I always drag my feet when it comes to getting around to it.

We looked a little bit at the pattern sheets last time, but here's what they look like unfolded:

There are usually two of these giant tissue paper style pattern sheets with a bunch of patterns on each. Also, if you're lucky, your pattern comes with a free cat.

Each pattern piece is made to be cut into different sizes, you just follow the line with your size number on it. There are tons of pattern pieces on these sheets and unless you are making every piece that the pattern includes (in this case, a shirt, dress, and skirt), you wont need them all. Each piece is numbered and each number goes to a different part (shirt, dress, skirt).

For the dress, I only needed pattern pieces 1-8 (there are 18 pieces total). I cut all the other patterns out as well, although I don't cut them to a certain size yet (in case my judgement on my size proves wrong). I set the pieces I wont need aside, fold them up, and put them back in the envelope so they're ready to roll whenever I decide to use them.

Above are the pieces I will need in order by number, top to bottom, left to right; 1-bodice front, 2-bodice back, 3-front interfacing, 4-back interfacing, 5-skirt front, 6-skirt back, 7-pocket, and 8-buttonhole guide. The last piece is not actually anything you cut out of fabric, just a placement guide for your button holes. As far as patterns go, this is a pretty small amount of pieces for a dress.

Next up, cutting the fabric! I washed both my fabric and lining so I wouldn't have to worry about my dress shrinking post-construction.

You have a cutting layout guide in your instructions that tells you how to lay out the patterns on the fabric. Some pieces are cut on folded fabric (so you get two pieces), some on the fold (so it opens up as one big mirrored piece), and some on single thicknesses. This is a "guide", I often find a more efficient way to cut my fabric, leaving me with a bit of extra. However, sometimes, you have to do it their way or it wont all fit.

These are my last two pieces, the front and back of the skirt, and as you can see I have quite a bit of extra left. This is almost always the case, but extra fabric is not a bad thing. I save everything for projects later on and in case you have a little sewing mishap and need to re-cut a pattern piece.

I also cut out fabric for the lining of the bodice and pockets:

And for the interfacing:

I thought I might explain what interfacing is. Interfacing is a kind of gauzy material that stiffens/backs your fabric in places you might need more weight. In this case I believe it is around the neckline and where the button holes will be. There are all kinds of interfacing, both fusible and not, in various thicknesses. This is lightweight fusible interfacing, usually if you're sewing clothing this is what you'll use. It's "fusible" meaning that you just press it (iron it) on to your fabric. Super easy and it works wonders.

And we're done! I pin everything together for each piece (pattern, fabric, lining) to try to stay organized. There are all kinds of guides on these patterns that you can either mark with a pencil onto your fabric or mark with pins. For example, dart or pleating lines. I pencil in the circles that mark the dart lines, but I use pins to mark my pleat guides. It's all up to you really, whatever works well for you. Just remember if you're working on fabric that's lighter in color, you probably want to make very light marks. Darker fabric is different, I either use a felt tipped marker or a white pencil.

So that's it for cutting patterns and fabric! Woohoo, we survived the lamest part. Next up is the fun part, we sew this bad boy together. I'm still debating on how to document that. Obviously I can't do every step, or your eyes would fall and you'd die of boredom. We'll see. I have a busy weekend ahead of me (yay for friends visiting!), so we will continue this project next week.

Also, totally unrelated but I must vent: how can I be breaking out and finding grey hairs at the same time? That's just unfair.

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