Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Notes from the cutting table...

I don't know about you but when I'm sewing my mind is racing...just racing! Sometimes with creative thoughts and some times with just stuff...

Anyway, here are a few thoughts that tripped through my mind while I was making my latest dress...

1. Picking a print for a pattern...
Here's a tip...lay one major piece of the pattern down onto the fabric and look at it. Is it appealing? Does it look like you imagined it would? Not sure...let it sit for a few hours and walk away. When you come back, if you are still unsure...move on it's not meant to be. However, if you lay the pattern piece down and you get really excited about the idea...it's a keeper!

2. Cutting Large...
I would rather cut a pattern with a little extra ease than exact or close to the measurements. To me, it is easier to remove excess fabric than to add more in if you've cut it too short...y'know what I mean.

3. Matching prints...
This has become my newest obsession! Since there are now so many prints and patterns in both wovens and knits available to the home sewist, I think it's really important that prints are matched correctly in our garments. It may take a little more time. It may take changing the cutting layout but in the end it will be soooo worth the effort. I am now trying to remember to treat these prints with the same care and effort that I treat plaids.

4. Buying too much fabric...
Since I tend to purchase fabric when I'm not always sure about what the end result will be...sometimes I tend to buy too much! Or, I may have an idea for it when I first buy it but don't use it for *mumble, mumble* years later and change my mind about the final garment. Thus 3 out of 4 times I end up with fabric left over...now what am I suppose to do with all those scraps? A question that is constantly being asked by sewists!

5. I love the sound of the swish that my scissors make when they are cutting out fabric. I don't understand how people use rotary cutters for this...or am I just old fashioned?

6. Finally...I HATE to cut out! Period...end of story!!!! *LOL*


39 comments:

  1. oh boy do i agree about cutting out!!!
    its enough to take the excitement out of sewing a garment sometimes for me. i think its down to me being a perfectionist though. and its so hard to be perfect when cutting out. especially when its a slippery fabric.

    ok ok end of my rant. sorry

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  2. Haha, no I dont' think you are old fashioned at all - I too love the sound of the scissors chomping their way through my fabric! Funny, for me the cutting out is the best bit (after choosing fabric and pattern of course :-)), such excitement and anticipation! By far the worst part for me is tracing patterns or cutting the tissue prior to laying out and cutting! As to the scraps that are leftover - I can't be any help at all, I have the same problem :-)

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  3. Cutting out is the most tedious part to me. I'm slow in this area, perhaps because I need for it to be cut perfect or I'm not happy.

    I've resorted recently to pre-cutting. This way I can get the tedious task done ahead of time and just focus on the good stuff. Do you pre-cut projects or do you cut them out as you go?

    I only rotary cut for quilts, i haven't tried it for garments but I hear it works great. May need to try it out someday.

    Hugs,
    Lory

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  4. Carolyn, You hit the nail on the head, I HATE the cutting out too, especially interfacing.

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  5. Great post! I HATE to cut but I also hate scissors! I do like the sound but my rotary cutter makes cutting so much better lol.

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  6. Just the same for mu I hate cutting out, slipperry fabric in particular. I don't like marking either but I am quite obsessive about it (Tanya you are not alone)
    and it takes me hours but I can't do without it.

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  7. My left-over fabric always finds another home. I take it to my sewing groups and put it on the "grab table". Someone always wants it.

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  8. Okay, I might be the unusual one...but I don't mind cutting out now. Maybe it's because I have more time to sew or I've been taking breaks from sewing to do some knitting. I used to dread it. Now, I love to hear my shears cut into my fabrics. Here's a first for me, I've actually been cutting out a lot of projects that I'm now behind in sewing them up. For once, I have a sewing queue.

    I have a lot of scraps that I keep. For some reason, it's hard to let go. :)

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  9. I don't mind the actual CUTTING. But I hate messing with the fabric to get it on grain and lined up. It seems to take forever and I'm never sure I have it right. And I hate to mark, for the same reasons. The actually cutting is ok. And I'm a recent convert to the rotary world. I'm much more accurate and faster. And I don't even have a large mat (that is annoying).

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  10. I am a scissor girl as well. I use the rotary cutter for strip cutting but I like the control I have with good cutting scissors in the tight spots. I just don't fool with the cutter with garments - I have too many whoops and slips moments when rolling that thing. Since I read about the lady who got a terrible cut when it jumped the ruler and plowed through the top of her hand, I am a lot more cautious when using one even when I cut strips than I used to be. I now have a couple of those super gigantic ones that I think would cut your hand off. I think I better just stay with the scissors. mssewcrazy

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  11. If people realized that the cutting section is the most important and starting point for a perfect on-grain result they may not resent it so much. So many quilters are now buying pre-cut fabric rolls and even die-cutting with their own cutting machines. Are we all in such a hurry to sit down and stitch. How many times have problems shown up later and you wished you could have gone back and cut or marked a little more accurately? How many times have you had to lay the paper back over your fabric sections to find that special dot or snip you didn't mark well enough or not at all in the cutting and layout?
    If a project can go wrong, it goes wrong from the beginning in the cutting and lack of precision in the grainlines and marking.

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  12. I'm in the minority – I don't mind cutting out. Maybe, it's because I use a rotary cutter and it goes by quickly. The left over fabric is becoming an issue. I usually but at least 3 yards for separates and 5 yards for dresses. I end up with scraps too small to use, but too big to throw away.

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  13. I don't love cutting out, but I dislike it less since I started using a rotary cutter. I am always amused by beginners who complain about how much time it takes to cut out. It is what it is, and careful laying out and cutting goes a long way to getting a successful garment.
    Yeah, what do we do with those leftover not big enough pieces? I tend to keep knits for bindings that I never make. Maybe some day I'll find a use for them.

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  14. I, too hate cutting out and sometimes that is all that's holding me back from starting something. But, I also like the sound of the scissors cutting through tha fabric. I thought that was just me! I will take more time to match prints. I have of course always matched plaids, checks, etc...

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  15. Cutting out has become much less of a PIA since I started using a rotary cutter. I have a ton of pattern weights and a good table with bed lifts under the legs. Also, I don't keep the leftover scraps unless it's at least 1 yard. I keep a few bits for samples and practice stitches and then the rest is in the trash even before I start sewing. I've only regretted it half a dozen times, but that's not a lot when you consider how many garments I've sewn in my lifetime.

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  16. As to your scraps question, I save mine, and donate them to the local community college every 3-4 months. They offer free sewing classes (you bring your own machine) and they are always so appreciative to get scraps - particularly since, like you, I usually have enough to make another item, lol.

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  17. On #4, I thought you were going to give us a brilliant idea! LOL For knits, I can usually squeeze a top out of the leftover, but less than 1 yard pieces of woven--I have no idea.

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  18. I'm a total spazz with a rotary blade but I love my Kai scissors. And I always cut with too much ease and regret the time it takes to make a pattern fit later. I need to cut smaller sizes from the get-go.

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  19. I like to cut, it signals that I've stopped procrastinating and ruminating about a project, and have finally committed to it.

    I especially like to cut into silk. I love the sound it makes- I think Nancy Erickson called it 'scroop', in her newsletter about silk from years ago.

    As far as rotary cutters, I have one, but never used it. The more I sew, the more apparent it becomes that accurate cutting AND marking is absolutely essential.

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  20. A few things I teach my students during cutting class. You have more control with scissors when cutting out clothing. Rotary blades tend to move the fabric on you unless you're careful. If you make a mistake cutting it will cost you money. There's never mistakes in sewing because you can pull the stitches out and do it over again. Always cut things out bigger. You can take out fabric but it's hard to add it. Cut big - sew smaller. And I find very few people who like the cutting process. I tell my students to cut out a few projects while they have everything out. This way when they have time to sew the project is all ready. And always buy extra fabric for your cutting mistakes. It's fun to have a fabric stash and the smaller pieces can be used for a contrast or accent for another project. I keep all scraps if they aren't too small. My minds always going with sewing projects - how I can make them better. It's bad when I dream about my students projects :)

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  21. I hate to cut out too. It's so boring. I buy to much fabric also, I'm always afraid I'll not have enough when I decide to use it. I rarely know what I'm going to do with the fabric I buy at the time I buy it. Which is why I have an insane amount of fabric.

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  22. Those are some wicked wonderful scissors you've got. Those are the professional large WISS?
    I'm weird, but I love the planning, altering, layout and cutting stage of the garment. I must, it's why I've got countless garments cut that need sewing. :)

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  23. Janina the MomBeastApril 28, 2009 10:53 AM

    RE: cutting slippery fabrics. I have a pair of specialty scissors from Singer called Kut-Nit. The bottom blade has tiny teeth on it, the top blade is a regular one. The tiny teeth are grippy, helping knits or slippery wovens to move about less while cutting. Love them!
    (And I love the sound that scissors make cutting through fabric. Peaceful.)

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  24. Last summer, when my oldest daughter was preparing to start law school, she announced that she should have some slim business skirts and a couple of blazers or jackets to go with them. Well, she's skinny, so we didn't find much in the way of skirts, although I did manage to find a couple of jackets for her. So, off to the fabric store to buy half a dozen chunks of fabric. I laid out the skirts, one at a time, and told her to pin and cut, and she protested that she'd rather run the seams, as long as I'd do the zippers. Well, she cut out, otherwise those skirts (and vests, as it evolved, inspired by Cidell), otherwise the fabric would just sit there.

    And with skinny daughters, we can use a single yard to make them skirts or tank tops from about 1/2 yard...yeah! Less fabric waste! Sadly, I rarely have that much left over. I wish I did.

    I agree with you that the sound of scissors cutting fabric is really great. My dearly beloved bought me some Fiskars spring loaded scissors about 10 years back, and I love them beyond all word and reason - I've been known to threaten death and mayhem to anyone so much as picking them up!

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  25. Cutting out is also my least favorite part of sewing. I do think that the rotary cutter gives me better results, but I like the sound of scissors cutting through fabric, too - I think it reminds me of watching (and listening) to my mother cutting on the dining room table. She always called them shears, by the way.

    I thought I was the only one who changes my mind about a fabric's project! If the leftovers are cotton, I make shopping bags or aprons. Otherwise, I give my leftovers to S.C.R.A.P in San Francisco - they take anything that is a 12" square or larger.

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  26. Oh boy! Do I hear you about cutting out.I take a day once in a while to cut out several things and I don't plan on sewing on that day.
    Your dress is adorable!! Love it and it really suits you.

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  27. I suck at cutting in general and have tried to bribe my 8 year old into doing it for me; he's a sewing whiz. That didn't work so I guess I will have to keep suffering. I think it's better for me to cut out the pattern one day then cut the fabric another then stitch another.

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  28. I don't mind cutting out either fabric or interfacing. I learned long ago for me that the only thing I hate is when I try to cut and sew a garment in the same day. My modus operandi is to cut, mark and fuse one day...sew the next.

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  29. Re: having fabric left over. That's how/why quilting was invented! (Yeah, as if you need another hobby :-) )

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  30. My question is more with what I do with a great pattern after making it once or twice and very certain I won't be using it again, toss it in the recycle bin, or what?. I do love to cut out this migt be because I am still new to sewing and get excited with everything sewing related....lol. Yeah I love using scissors too but I combine it with rotary cutter on some corners and round edges..... Have a lovely day

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  31. What an interesting post and equally interesting comments. I always try and squeeze an extra garment out of left overs so that the fabric gets sewn while my machine is set up for it. I quite like the cutting out bit. I actually set aside whole evenings/afternoons to trace a batch of patterns off while I'm in the mood, then I'll have an evening of cutting out while I'm in the mood. That way I've usually got at least three garments ready to sew when the mood strikes me. My pet hate, though, is cutting out interfacing. Stupid, I know. As for scissors, I paid a small fortune for a pair of cushion soft Mundial scissors and they are worth every penny!

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  32. I also dislike the cutting out process, actually the messing with the fabric, marking, refolding pattern stage. I definitely love the actual sewing process, though. I always have at least 1 yd. left from most major projects and that bothers me. But I have a fear of not having enough fabric for projects, especially when the proposed pattern has not been selected. I admire people who 1. select pattern, 2. purchase fabric, then 3. sew the garment. That has never happened to me! LOL.

    Karendee

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  33. I USED to hate cutting out, before I discovered the rotary cutter. Then, I cut out on the floor (ow my knees). Now I have a big mat on a table at the right height. It makes a world of difference.

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  34. I actually enjoy the cutting process. I use a rotary cutter almost exclusively. I find my cutting is far more accurate and certainly much quicker. I have been cutting all my garments this way for about ten years and can't imagine doing otherwise.

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  35. Cutting out is the reason I didn't
    start sewing until my late twenties. My Mother had 4 girls, purchased fabric by the bolt, we all had our own pattern boxes. If you wanted clothes you picked your fabric, cut it out and set it on her sewing table. I still hating cutting out but now I know it's necessary to get to the good part.

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  36. Well, I know there's a lot of argument for and against using rotary cutters - but BECAUSE I hate cutting, I almost ALWAYS use a rotary cutter. I can cut more accurately with a rotary cutter, especially on slippery fabrics. It takes me almost twice as long to pin and cut a garment with scissors than it does to put some weights on the fabric and cut it with the rotary cutter. You do have to make sure you have sharp blades though. I actually don't mind the cutting while I'm doing it, its just the idea of it that I think I don't like.

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  37. I love cutting out. It's the marking that I find tedious. I happen to love my scissors, too. I only use the rotary cutter for square, rectangles and strips, like the dimensions given in BWOF.

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  38. Oooh, I agree with Summerset - the MARKING kills me! The cutting out I do try and be precise with (unless it's something super quick I'm mkaing, then I might use the rotary cutter.)

    The actual sewing often feels a bit anticlimactic after cutting and marking!

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  39. Well, when I'm sewing my mind is racing too! And I do love the sound of scissors cutting through fabric...

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