Are you one of those who could spend hours and hours to make your own beautifully hand crafted clothing? Then you will really enjoy some of these tips on how to quickly and neatly cut fabric from premade sewing patterns which are usually sold at fabric stores.
If you have been doing lots of home sewing projects, you definitely know how confusing it can be sometimes to work around those paper sewing pattern templates. This is because most of them will come with dozens of grading lines – just like a whole web spider, all the way from size 6 and up to monster size 18!
So how to get around this challenge and how to make the cutting process easy to accomplish without making yourself go crazy or accidentally ruining your expensive and beautiful fabric?
Let me tell you this, it’s not actually that hard as some people imagine. But you have to know one thing though – not all sewing templates with similar graded sizes will have similar final measurements. Sure it would have been a lot simpler if people have a standard size chart for all women’s clothing in this world, but unfortunately, we are still very far from that idealization. So you have to be cautious before attempting to cut down the paper to your usual size of clothing.
The first step is to get important measurements of your body. The three crucial measurements are: around your bust, your waist and your hip. If you are sewing something like a pair of pants or jeans, you might as well measure your waist to knee, waist to floor and in-leg (from crotch to floor) sizes.
After that go back to your paper pattern and check the size you usually wear. Make sure you exclude the seam allowance as indicated on the package (most often they will be 1/2 inches or a full inch.)
If the nature of your sewing pattern is designed for a tight fit, allow extra one inch around the bust, half an inch around the waist and another inch around your hip. If the fit is moderate – double the allowance. And lastly, when the fit is loose you can increase it by 4 times (from tight fit).
Now pin the pattern pieces together and try them on yourself – if everything looks good, you are safe to cut the patterns down to your graded size.
Now comes the fabric cutting part. When I worked as part of a design team at a fashion company, I used to cut 5-8 garments per day. And believe me, even though many novice sewers prefer to use scissors, my honest recommendation if you want neat and fast cuts, is to get yourself a rotary cutter (this is just a circular blade attached to a handle – you run it through the fabric laid on top of a cutting mat – a piece of plastic that protects your sewing table from scratch and damage). It might be a bit tricky at the beginning, but as you practice and learn how to handle it, you will soon realize how comfortable, fast and easy it is to cut fabric with rotary blades.
Make sure before you cut though, that you place heavy weight on top of your pattern, so it doesn’t move when you cut the fabric.
And by the way, no chalking is necessary when you cut with a rotary tool – simply follow the graded line of the sewing pattern piece and you shall be completely fine. This will save you anywhere from 15 to half an hour of chalking on fabric – which is unnecessary and leaves stains on the fabric.