I need some new clothes. When I design for myself I almost always make monochromic 4-piece go-anywhere ensembles: pants, jacket, blouse, skirt. Today I decided to make an orchid ensemble and a gray ensemble. I’m starting with the blouse. Since the gray blouse fabric doesn’t need to be matched I first laid it out over tracing paper. Then, since the orchid silk has a slightly perceptible horizontal woven stripe and also is more delicate, I spread that fabric on top of the gray fabric. The orchid fabric is being cut so the horizontal stripes will line up around the finished garment.

In the above picture you see the first two patterns in the process of being cut. On the left is the cut left front side of the blouse. The center line is the lappage line. The front is designed to fold back over itself causing the front of the blouse to self-line. On the right is the right side of the blouse, not yet  cut. The two front patterns are different. I have drafted the right front so that the blouse, when buttoned, will have 1/4 inch extension from the edge of the button. The left side’s lappage extension is  1/8 inch wider than the right side’s lappage to provide modesty under the buttonhole.

Although each pattern is exactly the same on either side of its lappage fold line, each pattern is being cut on the open. Cutting on the fold is dangerous. If the pattern’s fold is at just a slight angle to the underlying fabric’s fold the look of the entire garment can be ruined. The front pattern has a princess seam. It sews to a side front piece which I’m also planning to self-line.

Cutting slippery fabrics such as those in the picture above is much easier and far more accurate if the fabrics are cut sandwiched between tracing paper. Granted it ruins the shears, but they can be sharpened. After all the goal is to have beautiful clothing and this is one of the steps to that achievement. Tracing paper is available at art supply stores.

More later,

Laurel’s Design Room Techniques book that presents sewing procedures used in high-end designing departments is available for sale from Amazon.com.
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