- Don't cut corners
- Check measurements lots
- Pin patterns generously to the fabric before cutting through both
- Pin patterns to the fabric perpendicular to the border, points towards the
border: you can lift the fabric with the pin point to push it through
- If you're cutting velvet, fold it back-to-back, so it doesn't 'creep'. Or
cut it single-thickness.
- My mother told me never to cut paper with scissors used for anything else.
Apparently, this is just a clever way to discourage children using the nearest
scissors to hand for cutting paper, cardboard, wire, curtains, bricks, or
live electricity cables. It's perfectly fine to pin patterns to cloth and cut
through both the cloth and the tissue paper. I've also cut through the brown
wrapping paper I've been using when creating my own patterns, and the world's
not ended as a result. Probably still worth avoiding trying to cut through
- Most of my patterns call for cutting cloth folded in half. I'd find this
much easier if I had a wider table: I'm currently using a wallpaper pasting
table which is usefully long, but rather less than 30" wide. I'll probably end
up buying another wallpaper table and bolting the two together, then finding a
way to cover the joins.
- To fold the cloth in half, I pick up the first yard roughly where I think
the fold should be, and hold it up, adjusting until the machined edges hang
freely together. I pin where I'm holding and half way between, then repeat
that until I've pinned the whole length. Obviously, the shop-cut edges are
almost never square.
- I tend to pin pattern pieces starting at the fold and working towards the
machined edges. This is mainly because my table's too narrow, but I think it
also helps keep it laying flat, and makes it easier to smooth out any wrinkles
that appear as a result of pinning.
- Dawn always cuts so that the upper blade of the scissors is away from the
pattern piece and she can see exactly where the pattern line is in relation to
what the scissors are doing. I tend to forget this.
- I've marked my scissors' tip to make it easier for me to make the pattern
- Dawn showed me how much easier it is to sew two edges together, rather
than trying to control three - so if I need to sew three edges, I sew two of
them together first.
- I still dislike the idea of simply cutting through serged seams, probably
based on what happened to the leggings I bought from the Canary Islands. I
tend, therefore, not to use the scissors on the serger, and I knot the loose
chains at the ends of seams before sewing over them. Dawn's pointed out that
knotting the chains is pointless because the lock threads should have the
enough slack to match the stretch of the garment, if the machine's tension is
set correctly, and hence won't move relative to the fabric, but I still feel
better. :) Not using the serger's scissors also means that I'm
incorporating the seam allowance into the garment, making it a bit larger and
potentially making pieces not fit with each other properly. Once I've unpicked
a few more serged seams, I'll probably become comfortable with Dawn's
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