Cutting and Marking Fabric

Once you have pinned all pattern pieces to the fabric, you can cut them out.

Then the lines and symbols on the pattern pieces must be transferred to the fabric.

These markings will help you assemble the garment.


Follow these guidelines when cutting out fabric pieces. See Fgr. 1.

Fgr. 1 Cutting Fabric

• Use bent-handled shears. Cut with long, even strokes without closing the blades completely. Hold the fabric flat on the cutting surface with your other hand. Cut slowly and accurately. Never use pinking shears.

• Cut directionally with the grain line.

Some patterns have a symbol printed on the cutting line or stitching line to show the direction to cut and stitch. If in doubt, cut from the widest point to the narrowest point.

• Follow the correct cutting line on a multisized pattern. Mark the cutting lines for your own size with a felt-tip pen to make them easier to follow, or trim the pattern pieces before laying them out.

• Cut carefully around notches. Use the tip of the shears for greater accuracy. Cut double and triple notches together with one long edge across the top. See Fgr. 2.

• Leave pattern pieces pinned to the fabric until you're ready to sew. You'll need to transfer construction markings to the fabric before unpinning.

• Save all fabric scraps. Use them to test marking methods, type and length of stitches, and pressing temperatures.

Fgr. 2 Markings on a pattern tell you where to cut. How should you cut two notches that are together?



Finishing seam allowances. Before stitching your project together, you may want to finish the seam allowances on the serger. If so, remember that the serger will trim off notches. Therefore, mark each notch with a line that extends from the tip of the notch to the stitching line.

Marking caution. Before using a marking pen or removable dressmaker's tracing paper on a project, always test the removal procedure on a fabric scrap.

Don't use evaporating ink if it leaves an oily residue. If the fabric water spots or is "dry-clean only," don't use water-soluble ink or removable dressmaker's tracing paper.



The lines and symbols on pattern pieces are important guides during construction. Before unpinning the pattern, transfer these marks to the fabric: darts, pleats, tucks, dots, and placement lines for buttonholes, buttons, pockets, and any trims. You may also want to mark fold lines and center front and back lines.

Seam allowances and hemlines need not be marked. Seam allowances can be measured as you stitch by using the guides marked on the sewing machine. After the garment is made, hems are measured and turned under.


Fgr. 3 Using a Fabric-Marking Pen

Markings must be visible as you sew, but they should never show on the outside of a finished garment. Different marking methods may be used for different fabrics and types of marks.

Fabric-Marking Pens Fabric-marking pens contain ink that removes with water or evaporates from fabric. Because the ink is removable, you can use these pens to mark on the right side of fabric. Follow this procedure. See Fgr. 3.

1. Stick pins straight through the pattern and both fabric layers at all marking points.

2. Start at an outside edge of the pattern piece, and carefully separate the layers of fabric just enough to place an ink dot where the pin is inserted. Mark both layers of fabric.

3. Repeat, working toward the center of the garment section until all symbols are marked.


Underhanded Uniquizing Effort Sub-Series:

Wiki Sewing


Sharp scissors cut through fabric without shredding and tearing the fabric. The sharper the scissors are, the more accurate your cutting will be.

Dressmaker sheers (1) are a must for cutting out patterns.

When cutting fabric, the long straight blade stays flat on the cutting surface.

Nippers (2) and embroidery scissors (3) are for cutting threads. Their compact size helps prevent accidental cuts in fabric.

Pinking shears (4) have a saw tooth blade. The cut edge left by pinking sheers can be used as a seam finish on fabric that's only slightly prone to fraying.

Appliqué scissors (5) have one blade that's large and flat, which lies on the lower fabric while you trim away an appliqué. It protects the lower fabric from being cut accidentally.

TIP: Keep Them Sharp: Using scissors to cut paper dulls the blades.

Even a cheap pair of scissors will stay sharp longer if you don't cut paper with them. Label paper scissors and fabric scissors to avoid using them on the wrong materials.



Tracing Wheel and Dressmaker's Tracing Paper

Marking with a tracing wheel is quick and useful for most fabrics. Use a saw toothed wheel for most fabrics and a smooth edged wheel for delicate fabrics. Tracing paper has a waxy surface on one side and is available in several colors. Pay close attention to whether marks are removable.

• Papers that make permanent marks.

Use these only on the wrong side of fabric.

Choose a color that's similar to the fabric color but still shows. Test on a fabric scrap to be sure the marks don't show on the right side.

Use caution with light-colored and lightweight fabrics. To mark your garment, place the waxy side of the paper against the wrong side of the fabric.

• Papers that make removable marks. Use these on the right or wrong side of fabric. Test on a scrap of fabric to make sure the marks disappear. To mark your garment, place the waxy side of the paper against the right or wrong side of the fabric.

To mark fabric, use two layers of paper for a double layer of fabric. For small areas, fold the paper in half. Mark all symbols by guiding the tracing wheel over each line or symbol only once.

Press down lightly on the tracing wheel. Mark dots with an X. Mark the end of a dart with a short line. For longer lines, use a ruler to keep lines straight.

Tailor's Chalk

Chalk markings can be made on most fabrics.

Mark only the wrong side of the fabric with either a flat square of tailor's chalk or a chalk pencil. Be sure the edge or point is sharp so the markings are accurate. Follow this procedure. See Fgr. 5.

1. Push a pin through both layers of fabric at each symbol. Carefully loosen the pattern and slip it over the pins. Be careful not to pull out any pins.

2. Make a chalk mark at each pin on the top layer of fabric.

3. Turn the fabric over and mark the other layer at each pin.

Chalk markings can be easily brushed off some fabrics, so handle carefully until all construction is complete.

Fgr. 4 Marking with a Tracing Wheel and Paper

Fgr. 5 Marking with Tailor's Chalk

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Friday, 2012-06-01 11:22