Taking the time necessary to produce a jacket that will wear well and look good saves both time and money.


Cutting on grain is essential

Accurate drafting, cutting, and sewing produces beautiful garments that wear well and last, saving both money and sewing time.

Cutting on grain is essential, if the finished garment is to look good and wear well. What matters is that both the straight grain AND the cross grain of the fabric is on grain WHERE YOU CUT, at ALL edges of the pattern.

Cut off grain, the garment may shift out of shape over time.

Check the fabric’s straight AND cross grain before spreading the patterns

Check the grain of the fabric.
Check both the straight AND the cross grain before laying the patterns on the fabric.

Examine the fabric as you cut each piece.

This fabric, used to cut the jacket, is linen. Because the yarns are easily visible, the grain is easy to check. Cut off grain, the jacket may not look quite right to an observer of the finished garment.

Different fabrics require different methods of examination.

Plaids’ stripes are easy to check. Be cautious when considering buying printed plaids, as they can be printed off grain.

Chiffon and wool can be checked by pulling a cross-grain thread.

some fabrics can be pressed back on grain


Some fabrics tear on the cross grain.

Tightly woven cottons that are off grain can be steamed back on grain.

For best results, cut one ply at a time

Before shopping or cutting, determine the yardage needed.  Laying the patterns on the fold  gives a slightly larger yardage than spreading the patterns on the open.
jacket pattern taped to tracing paper so as to prepare it for being cut on the open
All patterns need to be cut on the open.

All patterns need to be cut on the open. Tape tracing paper to patterns designated to be cut on the fold and correct as shown.

Before shopping or cutting, determine the yardage needed.  Lay the patterns on the fold  as this gives a slightly larger yardage than spreading the patterns on the open.

To avoid any possibility of shading, lay all patterns the same direction.

patterns laid for cutting
Cut one ply at a time.


Check both the straight AND the cross grain as you cut each piece. Here the fabric’s straight grain is checked with the pattern’s straight-grain arrow.




Turn the patterns over and cut the other side of the jacket’s shell.





Cut right-to-left, left-to-right if left-handed.


Cutting right-to-left, left-to-right if left-handed, keeps the eyes the same distance from the work. This is tricky to learn, but the benefits are immediate. Turn the work as you cut. Few pins are needed. If the pattern moves out of position when moving the work, realign the pattern, then continue cutting.


For more information about cutting, visit any of these blog posts: 9: Cutting a Blouse  59: Shira Cuts  84: Sewing for Entrepreneurs – Cutting to Match  87: Custom Couture – Cutting to Match 128: High-end Cutting Tips


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© Laurel Hoffmann, 2021

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