Great – you’ve got your pattern all cut out from the original paper!
Now you can lay your newly traced pattern down on the fabric OR use your actual tissue if you don’t want to trace. You can follow the layout in the directions or you can lay them so that they fit tightly on the fabric. I find that the layout directions tend to waste a lot of fabric and I don’t have that kind of money to waste. But if you’re nervous on your first try – definitely use them, we want you comfortable! You do however, need to follow the grain lines and these are shown to you by the arrows on the pattern. The pattern pieces need to all be going in the same direction and all in the correct direction (unless otherwise noted). Usually from top to bottom. *There are some patterns that will have you going side-to-side or diagonal, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. For the most part, you’ll be going in this standard direction.
Make sure the patterns are as flat as you can get them on the fabric. You don’t want any wrinkles, crinkles or rolls under them or you’ll cut the pattern incorrectly.
You’re now going to pin…. lot’s and lot’s of pin’s. You want to pin parallel with your cutting lines, not against them and make a good attempt at making them straight (If your pins aren’t straight with each other, this will make your cutting less accurate because of the puckers it causes). You’ll end up at some point in corners, you can choose which line you’ll go parallel with when you get there – not an issue! Make sure to pin corners, curves and straight lines. You’ll want to pin about 1-2 inches, so that when you cut and slightly lift the pattern and fabric up with the scissors, the fabric has a hard time moving and shifting. Don’t pin over the little triangles on the cutting lines since you’ll need to clip those and cutting your pins is a bad thing!
Start cutting! It doesn’t really matter which lines you cut first, at least in my experience. As you go, keep the fabric as flat as possible. Don’t turn the fabric to cut it, but move your body around the fabric. Each time you move the pieces, it changes how the fabric lies under the pattern, even with the pins in. When you get to a triangle, make a very small, but noticeable cut in it. It doesn’t have to be the triangle, just a snip will do. If there are two or three, make two or three snips.
Once you’re done cutting out each piece, you need to lay each piece to the side and move on to the next. Make sure to keep the pattern on top of the piece of fabric you just cut out or you’ll forget which piece is what, especially with pieces like fronts and backs that look very similar. If you don’t have enough pins to keep in the patterns AND to hold your fabric together later when sewing the other pieces, you can take all but one or two out – enough to keep the pattern attached.
Once the pieces are all cut out, you’ll need to go back and make the finishing marks. Tailor tacks, washable or air dry markers or chalk are all perfect for this task. Tailor tacks are free, washable or air dry markers and chalk all work very well – just make sure not to iron over them before they disappear and chalk works nicely if you remember to wash or dust off before ironing. (I still have a bit of blue chalk on one of my favorite dresses because I ironed before I dusted the chalk off.)
When using a tailor’s tack, use contrasting thread. Make a small loop in the fabric on the mark you need to show. I tend to use tacks. These can be cut out later once you’ve sewn everything together to your satisfaction.
When using markers or chalk, use the closest color to the fabric as possible that will still show up. Markers will not work on darker fabrics however, which makes chalk a nice choice for them. I have been known to use a matching color of marker on dark shades and just looked for the contrasting shade in the light. Tailor’s will often use white chalk on dark colors and I will do this if I must, but I prefer to avoid it since the chalk can travel a bit. Make sure if you’re using these that you mark the inside of your fabric!
*I will go over how to use these in more detail later on.
With all of these marks, make sure to get both sides of your fabric pieces. Get boxes, dots, and fold marks, marked.
Now that you are done cutting and marking all your patterns, you can start to pin them together according to the pattern and sewing them together.