Saturday, September 7, 2013


Mine, not yours. Hah. :-)

There's a message board thread on PR at the moment which is discussing the "right" way to place a pattern and cut fabric. So I thought I'd ask ...

1. Do you cut with your fabric RS out or WS out? 

Me, RS out ... always. I want to see motif placement most of all. I do use me a lot of prints after all. It's just The Way I Do It. Always have. But I think what's most important is consistency. Since I also have the tissue next to the RS, it's easy for me to know what the RS is (or what I've chosen as the RS) after everything is cut and the tissue may have slipped.

2. How do you make your pattern markings?

Me, water soluble pen the most for interior marks, chalkoliner next. Notches and fold/center markings by snipping into the seam allowance. Sometimes I'll use a sticker if a mark isn't going to show with a pen/chalk.

3. Do you follow the cutting layout in patterns?

Me, never. I don't even look at them. Even as a newbie sewer, I didn't bother with them. But I think that's because I have really good spatial skills and can just look at something to know how/where it fits best. I was always the one who packed the luggage in the car for family trips too. :-)

4. Are you obsessed with re-folding your pattern tissue on or very close to the original fold lines?

Hahaha, I am. Call it OCD. And I don't even store patterns inside their original envelopes so it's not like they have to fit back inside. Everything goes into a bigger ziplock with a pocket on the outside where I put the envelope and instructions.

5. I thought of one more ... Do you make all the markings? 

Me, no. I don't mark notches that indicate general match-ups, like sideseams, shoulder seams, etc. ... unless it's an usually shaped pattern piece.

That's all. Heading into the sewing room now ...


  1. LOL! I missed the discussion, I'm sure it would be interesting to find out that I have been doing it wrong for 35 years.
    I agree with you in most cases.

  2. 1. Rightside out always for the same reason as you.
    2. I'm old school I'm still using paper and tracing wheel except when I use tailor tacks
    3. No. I did when I started out but I'm always changing a pattern up so sometimes I'm going my own way.
    4.Nope - not OCD at all about pattern refolding especially since I put everything into a larger folder so it doesn't matter.
    5. Nope same as you...special cases only.

    I did learn one thing from the CG Skills video though - snipping into the seam line to mark notches weakens the seams so I won't be doing that anymore AND I'm going to try to use tailor tacks for marking more.

  3. Interesting Carolyn, but I have to respectfully disagree w CG. My seam snips are small enough that the serger is going to encase them so no seam weakness is introduced by them.

  4. 1. I too, always cut right side out. In fact, I was shocked when I found out some people do it with the wrong side out.
    2. I am like Carolyn and use tracing paper and tracing wheel. Sometimes I chalk though.
    3. Rarely. I'll have a glance at them just in case they were doing something really weird with the cutting layout, otherwise I do it my own way.
    4. I do a pattern inventory before I put the pattern away. I've lost so many pattern pieces because I haven't done this. Then I put all the pieces on top of each other and fold them all together at one time.
    5. Same as you too. Special cases only. I HATE it when a pattern has circles that you have to refer to when placing something. I would much rather have notches for everything.

    I was just reading in a flickr group yesterday that people actually trace out the pattern pieces with chalk onto the fabric before cutting!!! Am I the only one who just pins the pattern pieces to the fabric anymore? You can use weights too, but actually outlining the entire pattern piece in chalk....I would never sew again!

  5. 1. I cut wrong side out. That's what I learned in home ec

    2. I use tracing wheel and paper, but I'm trying to move away from that to thread tracing and tailor's tacks.

    3. Never follow cutting layouts. I always buy more fabric than the amount called for so I have more wiggle room.

    4. ROFLMAO! NO!!!!!

    5. I make 90% of the markings. i don't mark buttonhole placement until I can try on a top and determine the placement.

  6. I do cut on the wrong side sometimes when the grain is easier to see there, which is sometimes the case. I have never followed a cutting layout or folded my pattern pieces back into the original envelope. Like you, I stuff it all into a ziploc style bag -- in fact, I probably got the idea FROM you! Finally, I only mark the markings I really need, the rest, I ignore.

  7. Hihi what a fun set of questions.
    1) Wrong side out, just habit i think.
    2) Soluble or even just pinning it.
    3) Never.
    4) Yes, but i hate that tissue paper.
    I'm used to trace my patterns onto some thicker pattern paper as i have magazine as well.
    I also do this with tissue patterns.
    Then fold them as they came and hop e not to need them again :D
    5) No, only when really necessary.

  8. I do everything the same as you, with the single exception of folding the pattern. I cut EVERY single pattern piece out (roughly around the edges), even the ones I know I won't use. Haven't figured out why I do that, but it's compulsive. Then I fold EVERY piece up so the pattern piece number is clearly showing, and they all go back in the envelope. Ugh. Why do I do that?

  9. Funny the variety of responses! I cut on wrong side, usually, but if a pattern needs matching then right side. Don't know why. Chalk, sometimes I even use sidewalk chalk on the wrong side, although sometimes tailor's tacks. Never look at the layout, I can usually get a pattern on a smaller piece of fabric with better grainline handling than they ever did! I measure the grainlines from the selvedge edge, though, so they stay straight. Only mark a few special spots, darts and pleats. That's it. Measure most of the rest. I DO fold the pattern back up into the envelope, but I just iron it with a dry iron and fold it however I want. :) K

  10. What a fun post. The questions and the answers are making me laugh.
    1. most of the time right side, but sometimes wrong side if it is something that is slippery and would be easier to keep together. If it is really important to see the fabric print I might create a full size pattern.
    2. taylor tacks, chalk, pins, just depends on the fabric and how accurate I need the marks
    3. however the pattern fits best. I am short so so I usually make quite a few alterations before I even get started.
    4. YES! I am beyond OCD on this one. I want the pattern to look like it was never touched when I put it away. All of my maps are perfect too.
    5. Usually only the most important marks, or if it is something I have never done before and need the extra reference points.
    Thanks for the fun post.

  11. Debbie,

    You mentioned " a bigger ziplock with a pocket on the outside where I put the envelope and instructions." I have those bags that I bought from Nancy's Notions or Clotilde about a hundred years ago! Mine are getting a little raggedy but I can't find a place to buy them anymore. Do you have a source?

  12. Similar answers to what you do.
    If I have trouble telling front side from back side, I will place two parallel pins on back side for identification.
    I use my chalk pin and a seam snip for all other 'necessary' markings.

    On the big four pattern companies, I pin pattern to fabric and cut out my size. I rarely make the same item twice. I don't make enough garments to sew the same thing over and over --in different sizes. If it's Ottobre - definitely swedish tracing paper.

    I learned the length method of estimating yardage. A pattern for a blouse/shirt requires one length for front & back (collar to hem) plus one sleeve length (Shoulder to hem). Everything else you can squeeze in somewhere. For pants/shorts for my current weight is two lengths (waist to hem). If I was skinnier, it would be 1 1/2 lengths as you can place one leg adjacent to the hip/thigh of the other - depends on how wide your butt and/or fabric is.

    So - I've never paid attention to yardage charts on the back of the envelope. However, I do like to look at pattern layouts to make sure I have all the pieces before I start cutting into the fabric.

    When I can identify OCD tendencies, I try to not go there as OCD can escalate. I love the factory folds look so I give free reign to that particular OCD.

  13. I'll play! Only I put my answers in a blog post too... ;-)

  14. 1. I'm a WS out person, I guess from habit.
    2. All of the above including tracing paper/wheel, and thread tracing.
    3. Pretty close, but not always exactly.
    4. No obsession here. I do refold and sometimes the pattern does not fit back into the envelope so that's when I reach for a ziplock like you.
    5. Yep.

  15. I do everything the same as you with one addition. I sometimes use tracing paper and a wheel for markings, usually odd shaped darts.

  16. My answer to most, is "It depends." Good questions though. There are good reasons to do things a different way, sometimes. For example, when expedient, I will cut with RS together, when main pattern pieces will be sewn that way, they are already in position when they are cut. Time saver. Just try and stop me from clipping where the notches go. :-) If it's an issue (for a special seam finish or something), I'll mark them with chalk or something. I *never* cut around the outside of notches. I pin directly on fabric and cut. If I need to add SA, I'll add it to the tissue...something about old dogs and new tricks. Fun list of questions.

  17. I'm trying to find the discussion, with no luck. Do you mind pointing us in the right direction on PR? Thanks!

  18. 1) I think I usually cut with RS out although I'm lazy. Unless I have to watch placement, it goes whichever way it happens to go.
    2) I snip all notches and use tailor's chalk if needed. I will make tailor tacks if I HAVE to.
    3) Never even look at the silly thing.
    4) Nope! Even if I used patterns that used tissue, I would not care about the folds. I trace almost all my patterns so I get to make the first folds!
    5) I do the same thing as you!

    I know I never comment, but it's good to see/hear from you more often!! I really enjoy your posts.

  19. 1 RS out, same reasons as you.
    2 Try to be good about marking anything at all...tends to be chalk pen
    3 Never.
    4 Just fold all the bits anyhow and stuff them back in the envelope...
    5 See 2.

    So pleased to see you back Debbie: missed you.

  20. Good questions, even for someone who hasn't turned on a machine in 6 months (save the dress for my daughter's best friend's wedding):
    1. Depends on what I"m cutting. Usually I cut wrong side out.
    2. Tracing paper and smooth wheel. I tape over my darts before first use, so they don't get shredded by the wheel.
    3. No. Never.
    4. Yes. OCD makes me follow those lines, no matter what.
    5. I cut my notches outward, and I only mark darts.

    Good questions.

  21. RS out always.... like you, I like to see what I'm doing!
    Sometimes I make makings/ sometimes I don't... darts I put dots on...
    I lay out the best way to utilize the fabric/not waste it. I too can make things fit when everyone else is saying no way...!
    I fold it so it will fit.
    There are so many times I just look and cut... saves time for me.


Thank you for each and every comment. I appreciate them all, but I have to be honest and let you know that I'm usually bad about answering questions. I hope you understand that there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything I want to do.

To help keep spam comments under control, any comments to blog posts that are more than 30 days old are moderated and will not show up immediately.