Today is the 4th post in the Skirt Sew Along, and it's time to cut out the pieces. Tomorrow we'll begin sewing!
If you haven't already done so, and you are using washable fabric, go ahead and wash and dry your fabric.
In my opinion, fabric should always be washed before being used. Most of it is full of chemicals from the manufacturing process, and it's also kind of dirty from being handled at the fabric store. If it's washable, I wash it.
Fabric with nap changes will look different when viewed from different directions.
If your fabric has nap, cut all the pieces oriented in the same direction, or your finished garment will look like it's made from a couple slightly different fabrics.
Some fabrics always have nap (corduroy, velvet, velour).
Other fabrics don't technically have "nap", but do have a subtle shading difference that creates the same effect. This can be subtle and can be tricky spot [this article has some tips]. If it's not obvious, or you aren't 100% sure, just consider it to have nap and cut your pieces oriented the same direction.
Many of you might be making your skirt in corduroy--that's perfect! It's fantastic fabric for clothing. This article has some great tips for sewing with corduroy.
If you have corduroy, or another fabric with nap, you need to decide whether you want the nap going up or down.
There are two considerations:
1. Which shade do you like better? With the nap running up the fabric looks darker and more saturated with color. With the nap running down it looks lighter and the color is softer.
2. Do you care if your butt looks shiny? As the nap gets flattened from sitting on it, it can give your backside a sheen. To minimize the shine effect, the nap needs to run downward (lighter shade).
In general, bottoms should have the nap running downward (lighter shade), and tops are best with the nap running upward (darker shade).
Laying the Pieces Out
Stay On Grain
In apparel sewing you really want to be "on grain" by cutting your pieces with them accurately lined up with the straight grain.
Store bought knit shirts are a great example of what happens when clothing is not cut on grain. It's pretty common for the side seams of an inexpensive knit shirt to eventually begin to twist and become more of a diagonal seam across your lower front.
With skirts, cutting the pieces off grain can make the skirt want to corkscrew around your body. If you've ever had a skirt where your found yourself repeatedly having to twist it to the back, off grain fabric was probably the cause.
To keep things on grain, you want to spend a few extra seconds measuring to make sure the pieces are aligned with the straight grain.
Where the fabric is folded, measure the fold to check it is the same width the entire length (top & bottom arrows in photo) of the fold.
Also measure to make sure the grain line arrows are aligned with the straight grain. Check both the bottom and top of the arrows (middle arrows in photo).
BTW, pieces that are half pieces do not have grain line arrows--the folded edge is the straight grain indicator.
All pieces, except the waist facing, need to be cut as mirror images since our bodies are symmetrical.
The last picture in this post shows each side is a mirror image of the other.
Since the A & B pieces are cut on fold, you don't need to do anything other than place them along the folded edge.
The C, D, E & F pieces can either be cut on a folded section of fabric, which will automatically give you the mirror images, or trace the piece once with the printed side up, then turn the piece over with the print side down and trace around it a second time.
Tracing the piece outlines is more accurate than pinning. Pinning will also be a challenge with the printer paper. What I do is tack the pieces down with pins to the Dritz Superboard, and then trace around them. Pattern weights can also be used to hold the pieces in place.
Cutting layouts are below. They aren't to scale and aren't ideal, but the best I can do. These particular types of graphics are something I struggle to create!
Anyway, the folded sections are shown in grey. Pieces in the white section need one piece traced with the print side up, and the second piece traced with the print side down. These are labeled to flip the pieces.
When patterns give you cutting layouts they may not be the most efficient way to cut your fabric, since you may have a slightly different width, or maybe you see a better arrangement possibility.
You can play around with moving the pieces and see how it works best with your fabric width. If you don't have nap, remember you can turn some pieces the other way to fit them together as closely as possible.
As far as the notches, the pattern pieces include them, but we aren't going to use them. On simple things like a skirt, I don't use the notches, and in this particular project we need to focus on matching up the yoke/body seams. For projects with sleeves, or a lot of individual pieces, I would use the notches provided, but for this you don't need to mark them.
- (1) A - cut on fold
- (1) B - cut on fold
- (2) C - mirror images
- (2) E - mirror images
- (2) F - mirror images
- (2) D - mirror images
- (1) Waist Facing - 2.5" high (5cm) x waist measurement + 3" (8cm) or WoF. We'll trim this piece at the end, so I cut this piece the width of the fabric (WoF) rather than measuring.
Main Fabric Diagrams:
Quilting Cotton Diagram:
These are your front pieces:
Skirt Sew Along Schedule:
1/2/15 - taking measurements
1/3/15 - fabric shopping
1/9/15 - preparing the pattern pieces & making fit adjustments
1/10/15 - cut pieces
1/11/15 - seam finishes, sew skirt front & back
1/16/15 - install invisible zipper, sew front to back, fit adjustments
1/17/15 - finish waist
1/18/15 - hem
1/23/15 - bonus post - making a fully lined skirt