Hello, sew-alongers! (Sewers-along?) Well, I’m getting a slower start this week than I anticipated. I did, however, cut out my fashion fabric yesterday. Man, this coat uses a lot of it! Here are a few tips for cutting this beast.
1. First of all, don’t forget to pre-treat your fabric. If you’re using a wool, you’ll want to pre-shrink it in some way. My preferred method is to simply press it with plenty of steam. (You can also ask your dry cleaner to do this.) You can also use this dryer method from the fabulous Pam of Fashion Sewing Supply. One caveat: if it’s shared machine, like at a laundry mat, be very careful. Residue from dryer sheets can build up in the machine, leaving big greasy spots on your fabric. (Ask me how I know.) If you use drier sheets at home, clean your dryer thoroughly before using this method.
If your fashion fabric is cotton (some folks in warmer climes are using cotton twill), you can either steam press it or wash and dry it in a machine to pretreat.
2. Give yourself plenty of time to cut out your fabric; about two hours should do it. You can cut your lining now and get it over with, or wait until later in the process since we don’t need it right away.
3. Circle the cutting layout you’re using so you don’t get confused as you refer to the pattern sheets. It’s very easy to mix all those diagrams up!
4. Unless you’re using 45” wide fabric, you’ll have to cut this coat out in a single layer. (Until you get to the end, then you can lay the skirt back and skirt facing out on a fold.) Lay your fabric out, right side up. My cutting table isn’t nearly long or even wide enough for my fabric, so I worked by pinning and then cutting one or two pieces at a time, and then shifting the fabric.
6. When cutting a piece or two at a time, don’t forget to conserve fabric as much as possible. It’s easy to forget this since you can’t see the entire layout. When cutting around your pattern pieces, don’t cut past corners. You may need to lay another piece right next to where you just cut.
7. I ignored the pockets, and put big scraps in a pile to cut those out later. Don’t forget that you need to cut the pocket out four times. Remember, also, that you don’t have to cut your pockets out of your fashion fabric. You may prefer to use your lining fabric for the pockets to cut down on bulk. Another option is to use the fashion fabric for the pocket layer closest to the body, and lining fabric for the other side of the pocket.
P.S. Stop by the Flickr group; it's hopping over there!