Sunday, 27 January 2013

Tracing. Cutting. Altering. Three Sewing Words I Dread

I haven't got any finished objects to show for 2013 as yet, but lots of sewing progress has been happening behind the scenes!


As always I've got a list as long as my arm of projects I want to get started on as soon as possible, I've even got fabric, patterns and even notions ready and waiting for some. It's hard to stop this list from growing and growing when I'm constantly so inspired reading all your blogs, you need to stop making fantastic versions of patterns I don't own yet people!

I love dreaming up all these plans and hunting around for the right fabrics and trimmings but things tend to grind to a bit of a halt when it comes to actually getting started. I know exactly why this is; I find cutting a pattern SO boring and fiddly and am scared of making alterations to a pattern either to fit or to achieve my dreamed up version as I've never really done that before. Just the thought of all this fiddling is enough to completely zap my motivation. Anyway I decided enough was enough, I need to stop just creating an ever bigger pile of fabric and take the bull by the horns. I took advantage of the unexpected snow day on Monday and just got stuck in!


I started a little pattern cutting production line and am really chuffed to say that I've got a nice little pile of fabric pattern pieces ready to assemble for 3 projects and another two pdf patterns assembled and ready to cut. I'm even more chuffed to say that I actually really enjoyed it! I think it was mainly to do with a change in mindset from wanting to get the cutting out of the way so I could get on the machine (which I really enjoy) to knowing all I was doing was cutting and I could take my time over it because it didn't matter how much I got done.


I tried to really take care with each and every step and piece. I usually do my cutting on the floor as we don't have a very big table and I thought it was important to get all your pattern pieces laid out at once on the fabric. I still think this is important if you are concerned about getting all the pieces out of the fabric but I knew I was fine for the projects I was cutting and something made me try cutting on the table, one or two pieces at a time. I found it SO much easier! No bending over and crawling round on my knees and I was just at a better angle for cutting, for using scissors or a rotary cutter (another little discovery which has removed SOME of my 'sewing with silk' dread!).


I cut pieces for my Charlotte Skirt for the By Hand London sew-a-long from a fairly lightweight teal denim. Then I really branched out from my usual safe 'follow the pattern exactly' ways and traced out the pieces for the Grainline Scout Tee, making some alterations. After my first version of this pattern, which I love and wear all the time, I wanted to increase the length slightly and give a bit more room around the arm holes. I lengthened the pattern just an inch where indicated on the pattern piece. I've got two new versions of this in mind. For the first I'm using a gorgeous hammered silk remnant I found when shopping for work on Berwick Street and for this drapey version I added a 2" dip to the hem of the back piece. For the second version I'm using black lace and underling the bodice pieces with black cotton, leaving the sleeves sheer. For this version I kept the hem level (I'm hoping to make a feature of the shapes in the lace at the hem and cuffs) but extended the sleeve pieces to three quarter length. I'm really excited about having three really different tops made from the same pattern, and I'm really proud of my adapted pattern pieces; I feel like a proper seamstress!


Things are going to be a little bit frantic and life-consuming work wise for a little while but I'm hoping that now I've got the painstaking bit out of the way I'll be more inclined to pick up some sewing and start assembling a garment when I've got a little bit of free time! Hopefully I'll have at least one finished item to show you at some point over the next week. My sewing resolution for Karen of Did You Make That's Sewlutions Jar was to make at least 12 items of clothing for myself this year so I need to get cracking and get one done for January!

How about you? Do you dislike the cutting or prefer any particular part of the sewing process to another? What do you to to combat that?

7 comments:

  1. Good luck with the busy work stuff. I'm intrigued to see your version of Scout. I'd like to try it this year and a dipped hem was an alteration I was thinking of.

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    1. Thank you! I'm slightly apprehensive about sewing the hammer silk, it's slips around everywhere!

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  2. I don't mind cutting, it's fitting that I find really time consuming because I have to make so many alterations. I threw my name in the jar for Sewlutions too! Mine is to make trousers, I'm working on the alterations now. Good luck with your Sewlution, that's a lot of items! :)

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    1. I'm hoping I can do it, I think 1 item a month sounds reasonable. I'd like to sew a lot more but I know I just don't get it done in reality! Good luck with the trousers, I'm not brave enough for that yet!

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  3. I totally agree with you on cutting out patterns, it's my least favourite part of making garments, although I've managed to work out a system to make it easier for me. When I buy a pattern (generally at work on Saturdays/Sundays) I cut out the pattern tissue that evening. This means when I go back to it the hard work has already been done and I can get to cutting out my fabric and sewing it up. I also find working in stages helps; cut tissue one night, cut fabric another and finally construct on the final night, it makes it more manageable for me. As for fitting, I normally adjust once sewn up as usually it's an underarm adjustment.

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    1. Glad to hear I'm not alone! Good tip on preparing the pattern as soon as you get it, I've really enjoyed being able to pick up my cut pattern pieces and get sewing as and when I've got a spare bit of time.
      I guess it's the same thing as pre washing your fabric as soon as you get home with it, there's nothing worse than getting all ready to get started on a project, to get your fabric out and realise it needs washing!

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  4. I sew mainly from pattern magazines so pretty much everything involves tracing. I use carbon paper and an adjustable double wheeled tracing wheel (the bumpy one from Clover) so the seam and hem allowances get automagically traced on. The modifications I make are usually for waist and overall length so I just fold the traced pattern at waistline and cut it at the hem. I have a mannequin so I pin the paper onto that or place one of my slopers over the pattern if I'm feeling lazy XD

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