So, now that you know how to measure yourself and pick a pattern, it's time to learn what is my leastest favorite part of sewing -- the dreaded cutting process.
OK, it's really not that bad, but I just hate it. Girl Scout Promise: I promise to try not to let my distaste for cutting color my description of the process. And that's a promise you can count on. Did I ever tell you I was in the Girl Scout calendar in 1985? I was! I'll show you that in part two. I know, I know, a real cliffhanger!
Now, while this guide is specific to the pattern I'm making (View D of Simplicity 2739), you can adapt it for any garment from Simplicity, McCalls, Vogue,or Butterick. Probably any other pattern company too, but don't quote me on that. I've never really ventured away from the Big Four.
OK, so one thing I forgot to mention about patterns was the sizes they sell. I told you how to measure your size, but not how to get the correct pattern for your size. This pattern envelope is for a Size BB M, L, XL; I will be cutting the M. Generally patterns have size numbers, just like off the rack clothing, but because these are loose fitting jammies they go by XS, S, M, L, XL. The smaller pattern comes in XS, X, M, so technically I could have purchased either one.
Below you will see the contents of every pattern envelope -- the tissue which has the pattern pieces on it, and the sewing instructions:
The instructions include a line drawing of each finished garment in the pattern, cutting layouts for each garment, a line drawing and list of each piece, and sewing instructions for each garment.
I will be sewing View D. This is the cutting layout for that garment:
The layout section gives us so much fab-o information. Firstly, it tells us what pattern pieces we need for this garment. I need pieces 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 14, and 15. 4, 6, and 11 are out of elastic, but these pattern pieces tell us how long we need to cut the elastic depending on the garment size.
Secondly, if you look to the left of the cutting guide, you will see some information that's utter gibberish unless you sew: 44" 45" WITH NAP ALL SIZES or 58" 60" WITH NAP ALL SIZES.
Let's break it down.
- Garment fabric is generally sold in two general widths: between 44-45" or between 58-60". The cutting layout for 4A is for 45" fabric, and 4B is for 60" fabric. You can see that the layouts differ depending on the width of the fabric.
- A fabric with nap has a print (like plaid) or grain (like corduroy). If the cutting guideline shows "with nap" then you will still be able to lay out the pattern pieces as shown and not worry about your fabric showing up all wonky. The cutting guideline will specify if the layout should differ with a napped fabric. Horrah!
- All Sizes means that the cutting layout will work for M to XL. Sometimes the layout will differ for different sizes.
Now, my next step is cutting out all of the pieces for the garment from the tissue paper. Because the tissue is generally really big (think full sized blanket) I like to quickly cut out the pieces so I can refold the big tissue full of pieces I don't need. Then I go into actually cutting around the size lines. Below is a picture of all of my pieces cut out, but not cut around the size lines:
You can dive right in and cut around the size lines and skip my added step, this is just my preference since I almost always cut when I'm sitting on the couch.
Usually the size lines are quite well marked and easy to follow. Some pattern companies use different line types (dot-dot-dash, dash-dash-dash, etc.) to differentiate the pattern sizes, but Simplicity tends to use a solid line for each size. Below is an example of a hem I need to cut:
Also good to note is that sometimes a single pattern piece will be used for multiple views of a garment. The pictures below are of pattern piece 2. This piece can be used for garments A, B, C, and D, which are all varying lengths. View D, being the shortest, is the highest set of lines to cut (see the orange dotted lines on the picture on the left).