Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to cut different sizes from one sewing pattern

I've been going "back to my roots", sewing clothes (making some PJ's) here before it gets too warm to wear them (blush).  I've sewn far more clothing items in my life than quilts, and one thing that is difficult with sewing garments, is that you can't try them on before you sew them.  It's actually a great way to learn what looks good on you and what doesn't.  You can hold the fabric up to you in the fabric store and see if the color looks good on you, but sometimes even that will throw you for a surprise as the patterns play out in the finished garment.

A sure way to solve this is to use the same pattern over and over again when you find one that you like :-).  This is true for my boys too.  But as they grow, I need to use a bigger size.  Plus, with 2 boys, I often make 2 different sizes of the same pattern for each kid (like the PJ's).  I thought I'd share with you the method I learned through trial and lots of error to get the most out of a pattern.  You COULD cut the smaller size, and tape it back together, or buy multiple patterns, or trace the different sizes onto a new sheet of tracing paper, but these are all tedious at best.

I found the best way is to cut "under" the pattern line you want.  If possible, I fold it along the size line and cut right next to it (making sure I pin right next to the line).  You can even fold along curved lines if you cut and unpin strategically.
A few more shortcuts I use are clipping at the notches, and using pins to mark the "markings" (again, you can do this "under" the pattern).
My kids love polar fleece, and I've sewn with a lot of it, and other stretchy fabric, using my serger, so one more tip I'll add, because I made this mistake while cutting these out, is to be sure you pay extra attention to the direction of fabric that you place the pattern on.  It usually stretches in one direction well, the other not so well, so if you try to use a scrap to save fabric, and cut against the grain when you should be cutting with the grain, you'll be in trouble!!  Luckily I had plenty of fabric ;-).

I'm joining up with Quiltstory's Fabric Tuesday for a change!  Come check out what others are working on!

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