Alexwalsh's Blog

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Cutting out Cloth

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Cloth happens now. After all cloth is what I’m interested in, not paper.

Once I had cut out all the pieces of the pattern it was time to transfer the shape to cloth. I laid out 3 metres of calico on a flat surface (the floor) and folded it in half along the selvedge ( the sealed edges on the top and bottom of a roll of fabric). Why did I fold it? I’ll explain later. The pattern pieces went on next.


I hate waste, so when placing the shapes on the fabric I joggled them about to find the most efficient jigsaw I could. The rules of this game are that you have to find the best combination to waste as little fabric as possible, but you aren’t allowed to rotate your pieces. The top has to stay at the top. The reason for this is that the fabric has a grain. It is stronger along its length than its width. A fabric might also have a pattern or stripes, they all need to go the same way or it looks weird. There is a technique of cutting on the bias or cross grain, this makes your clothes cling to you and makes for interesting designs. I’m not quite ready to try this yet though.

To make sure that the paper didn’t move about, I stuck pins through it and the fabric. I then drew around the pieces with a pencil. Once this was done it was time to take of the paper and start cutting. The reason for folding the fabric becomes clear now. Sometimes you I will need to cut out the same shape several times, the quickest way to do this is by cutting two layers at once. The biggest pieces in the picture, the legs had to be cut out twice each. I wrote instructions on the shapes so that I knew; what it was, which bits needed to be cut twice and which way their grain ran. It’s easy to forget.


So now I have all these fabric shapes. The complicated bit comes next when I have to tie them together

One of the things I noticed about the fold side of the fabric was that it did not lie flat. I think next time I will iron a crease. This will make the parts that are cut on the fold more accurate.

I’m pretty sure I got all the pins out and back in the box, but there are bound to be some rogue ones that escaped.


Written by alexwalsh

November 10, 2009 at 3:58 pm

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