Friday, July 16, 2010

On the straight and narrow

Yesterday I decided to cut out several of the final garments for the style show.  With the garment I'm going to talk about here I was definitely transported back in time to when my mom first taught me to lay out patterns and to use fabric to its best advantage.  Although then we called it "material" and not "fabric."  In those days we often bought remnants that might be a quarter yard short from what the pattern envelope told us we would need ... so we always, always, always laid out the pattern to make sure there would be fabric for everything before a single piece was cut.

When this fabric was pulled from Kat's stash,  it looked like there was puh-lenty of yardage.  Then when I got it out yesterday,  I discovered a couple things -- first, it wasn't as wide as I had thought.  I sure am used to everything being 60" wide these days.  Remember 45"?  36"?  This was about 40" wide -- so no possibility of staggering pieces in the layout.

We all know that there is a right side and a wrong side to fabric. Or, there can be "one" side and the "other" side.  In this case we coordinated colors with a print for the skirt and this fabric now has a "outside/fashion" side and an "inside."  The orange has an interesting weave and the brown feels like it may be a wool jersey (or blend).  That meant to keep the herringbone weave on the outside going straight I needed to pin along the stripe ... wow did we lose yardage at both ends when the fabric was trued up with the line and the selvages.  NEVER trust a crossgrain edge that has been cut.

I always learn a lesson from every project, even if I don't learn it in time to apply it to that project.  In hindsight, what I would do next time is that after I pin the straight line along the fold, I would slip some tissue paper in between the layers to keep the two sides from clinging.  However, my fold was now straight and my selvages were lined up (and the stripe did follow straight along the selvage -- I did think to check that) so I think the garment will be ok.

It was a little like a jigsaw puzzle deciding which order to place the pieces.  If I had started at either end with the back, I wouldn't have had enough fabric.  By starting with the front on one end, I was able to take advantage of more yardage at the fold and didn't worry about where it ran short at the selvage.

Then I cut the the back from the middle -- without any extra breathing room between the back and the front.  You can see that the hem is right at the top of the shoulder line.

And finally came the sleeve -- thanks to the shape of a sleeve, I was able to just get the cap.  Although I took the picture from the other end of the table, I did lay out the garment "with nap" even though I don't think that will be an issue with this fabric.  Meaning, the pattern pieces were all put on the fabric in the same direction, top to bottom.

Since that layout worked, I cut the pieces.  If it hadn't worked, I might have tried starting with the back at one end and flipping over the front pattern piece to take advantage of some waste area.  Nothing says the pieces have to be cut so you can read the printing -- when you are cutting two, you have the same end result.  I would rather flip pieces than to change direction of the layout.

This cardiwrap already had no hem allowance since I will be doing another shell stitch application for finishing the edges.  So my other options would have been only to shorten the cardiwrap or to find other fabric.  Thanks to patience and determination I didn't have to do either. 
Of course, I could have tried cutting the pieces out of a single layer and aligning the straight of grain line with the stripe. But this way I didn't risk ending up with two left sleeves  .... 

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