An Absolute Beginner’s Guide: Cutting Your Pattern

I hope everyone is having a marvellous Monday today. Last week got away on me but we are back on track now! Today on An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Sewing we are discussing how to cut out a pattern. We’ve previously talked about choosing a pattern and choosing fabric so now we’re ready for the next step. In today’s session I’ll be using Colette Patterns’ Jasmine blouse pattern as the example. I’ve made this pattern once before here.


First things first – prewash your fabric – if its made from natural fibres (wool, cotton, linen for example) it will definitely shrink a bit and it’s such a bummer to only be able to wear something once. It may pay to finish edges the edges before you throw it in the wash so they don’t fray too bad.

Next up you’ll need to find a surface somewhere in your house that is big enough for your whole piece of fabric to lie flat – I cut all mine on the floor on my knees. Pick a surface that you can commit to because you’ll be cutting your pieces all in one go.


Planning Your Layout

Now we’re ready! Unless your garment is asymmetric you’ll be folding your fabric in half (the pattern instructions will tell you which way). Now pin the edges together. This will help your cutting to be more accurate by preventing the fabric from slipping. Lay out all your pieces before you start cutting – this includes pieces you’ll need to cut twice for a lining. Make sure they all fit on the fabric and that all the pieces are going the right way they should go. This direction is called the grainline and will be indicated by an arrow.

Anchor your tissue pieces to the fabric in some way. You could do this with pins or with weights – I use glasses. If you don’t the pieces will slip and slide everywhere meaning that they won’t be terribly accurate. If you’re making something fitted this is particularly important.


Snip Snip nip

Now you’re ready to start cutting! Slowly and carefully cut out each pattern piece. Next transfer all the markings on the patterns. These include the notches (as above) and the small and large circles. I use tailor’s tacks to mark the circles but you can use chalk as this can be quicker. It’s really important to transfer all the markings to your fabric as they help to tell you how to sew your garment. For example they may demonstrate where to start gathers, where your zipper should start and how to match seams.


Don’t forget to enter our competition – simply share a photo of your cat using the hashtag #catsforcolette and be in the draw to win their next pattern! More details here! Entries now open!