Snippin’ and Stitchin’

How to cut out patterns and read them

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Porter says welcome back!

When last we left our heroes (you), we had just picked out our patterns and fabric for your steampunk costume/attire. Porter picked out his pattern; did you pick out yours?


Make sure you also have the tools you will need.  I have a large table so I have plenty of surface area. You might need to use your (clean) floor or get a large or small cutting board. Pins, measuring tape, and FABRIC SCISSORS and REGULAR SCISSORS.  Why both, you ask? Because you need to cut out the pattern and the fabric. NEVER cut paper with fabric scissors.  It dulls the blade and it’s hard to find scissor sharpening places these days.

When I was a kid (oh god here comes the old person speech) we had places like Piece Goods and other fabric stores that had sharpeners in the store, but unfortunately not anymore. Up the hill in the snow both ways with no shoes on. You know… don’t use fabric scissors to cut paper.

But I digress.

Once you have your supplies you will need to familiarize yourself with what you need to cut out and the specific way the pattern asks you to do it so you don’t run out of fabric.

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Read everything so you know how to cut out the fabric. Different lines, shapes, and markings will mean different things.

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A few of these directions you find in the pattern will show you how to cut out what you will need.  This is a great beginner pattern because it has really specific learn-to-sew directions.  As you can see, it explains the directions very specifically.

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Here is a glossary of common terms and images of pictures that show cutting directions as well as sewing directions.

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Here is directions with what patterns to cut out for each piece.  I am creating skirt D, so I need Pattern pieces 10-14.

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Here is exactly what I need to cut out for the skirt and it’s laid out and shows exactly how to pin the pattern to the fabric.  This way you can cut the pattern pieces and not run out of fabric.

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Here is the pattern cut out directions for the dress. I’ll show you some pattern instructions in the next few frames.

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Here I have pinned two of the patterns I cut out to the fabric.  As you can see, one of them is lined up on a fold and the fabric is folded. This way I will get the two out like the instructions show in the previous picture.

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These instructions on the patterns show we need to cut two so I will need to make sure I cut the right amount out.

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These notches are to be cut out on the fabric so later when you line it up to be sewn you can match up the notches.

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Here I am cutting out some tulle for the skirt. As you can see this is more of a see-through fabric and I will need to cut out several to make sure there is enough so you can get a full skirt and will be able to see the color better. As in the next photo:

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The Steampunk Batman Costume

As you may remember, I mentioned in the last post that I had to cut several pieces out from four different patterns so I could combine them the way I wanted. This is a little more complicated because I need to have a vision of what I want and plan things out a little more and experiment with cutting to modify it.

This is more advanced and I suggest having more experience before attempting something like this and to ask for advice.

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The cape.
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The gauntlets.
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The utility belt.

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The shirt.
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The pants.

As you can see, there’s a lot more involved.

Read your patterns and familiarize yourself with that you need to do and take your time cutting.  This will make a difference later on.

On our next episode:

Some Assembly Required

Be sure to stay for the video portion.

Until next time, folks, Slap Some Goggles On It!

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Even Mystery Science Theater 3000 is steampunking it out!

Go back and read the previous blog to get started.

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