Nov 222012

Part 9 – Cutting Pattern & Fabric

Before you lay out your fabric for cutting, you want to make sure you have a nice flat surface to work on. You don’t want to use anything soft, like a bed, because it’s not very stable. You might end up with some strange looking pattern pieces, and you don’t want to ruin them or have to start over with new fabric.

The pattern cutting board is a great piece of equipment. This can be laid on a bed or a table. It opens flat to be placed on the cutting surface, to enlarge and protect it, and folds up easily for storage. It is made of lightweight cardboard and fabric can be pinned to prevent slipping. There is also a one-inch grid to help on-grain placement of the fabric. This comes in 36″ x 60″, which is perfect for 45″ or 60″ wide fabric.

When you’re cutting fabric, I recommend a nice pair of bent-handled shears. These are best for cutting fabric because the blades rest flat against the cutting surface, and you don’t have to lift the fabric when cutting around the pattern. The 7- or 8-inch lengths are the most common. Left-handed models are also available.

The rotary cutter and rotary cutting mat aren’t an absolute necessity, but they come in handy for quick straight or curved cutting, and will go through several layers of paper or fabric, especially nice for cutting quilt squares.

Laying Out The Fabric

First, refer to the pattern instructions and find the pieces required to make your project. Find the layout for your fabric width. For example, the layout for 45″ wide fabric will be different than the layout for 60″ wide fabric. You will see the layouts on the pattern instructions.

The pattern pieces will be numbered. Cut out the appropriate pattern pieces (not the fabric, just the pattern pieces you will be using). These are templates and can be used over and over again. These pieces are what you are going to place on top of the fabric that is being cut.

You want to lay out your fabric on the cutting surface. With right sides together, fold the fabric according to the pattern instructions. The fabric will usually be folded longwise along the 60″ side, but sometimes you will have to adjust the fabric to fit the pattern pieces. Make sure you follow instructions and place the appropriate pieces along the fold. Pieces that are on the fold will be opened up after they’re cut so that it is all one piece instead of two halves. The following video will show what these will look like when placed on the fabric.

The next step will be to pin the pattern pieces to the fabric. If you are using a pattern cutting board, you can also place a few pins through the fabric to the board so the fabric doesn’t slip.

After you’ve cut out all the pieces, you will then refer back to the pattern instructions. Find the page that shows the garment you’ve chosen to make.

These videos weres created by Niler Taylor and placed on YouTube with embedding enabled. Visit her Playlist on

You might find the following posts to be very helpful:

Bestselling Sewing Books.

Sewing Accessories & Supplies.

Scissors & Cutting Tools.

More tips on “Using a Sewing Machine”

Happy Sewing! Continue reading »