Wriggle Dress: cutting the fabric

I spend a day thinking about Butterick 6582. The various aspects, how to approach it, what to solve. I researched the internet, laid out the tissue paper and studied the instructions. At the end of the day I traced a slightly personalized version of it and cut the fabric and the facings. Linen and brand new cotton sheet.

After the sizing fiasco of the Summer Dress (B5603 which advised me to cut a 16 which then was 4″ too wide) I decided to cut a size 12. This approximates the measurements I take from the now fitting Summer Dress. (pictures pending)

Yes, I cut a size 12 but with wider seam allowance at the top of the body. Because of the folded fabric in the upper part of this dress this pattern does not allow for a FBA (Full Bust Adjustment), the fabric has to be already there.

Here’s how my first pattern outcut differs from the oficial Butterick 6582:

As size 12 should cover a size of about 97cm I think I’m good but you never know. I’ll also trim down to the hips a bit.

As per this review I expect to have to raise the hem, the waist and the arm holes. I too am 5′ 4″ (1.61m)
At this stage I already raise the hem but have not decided on the final length yet:

The smaller shoulder part, the left side, I’m going to make without gathering or pleats. Lots of people have complained online that the pattern ends up very high on the front and that it is difficult to make the two sides sit nice or even centered.
So I’ll make one side sit nice: the right one with the folds. The left part will be honest in its difference: flat and off centre.

For this I used the left front facing as a template for the left front fashion fabric.
Here’s the now cut out left front piece atop the original pattern:
No room for pleats or folds.

For cutting the back pieces I folded the fabric double and pinned it. Pins away form the cutting line. I laid my personalized paper pattern (PPP) on top and traced it with a byro or stylo. Yes, a simple pen. The one used for shopping lists. As I don’t want pen residu on my fabric this will remind me to “cut away the line”. The importance of that I learned here from Kathleen Fasanella, the Fashion Incubator.


Have scissors, will cut

I now have good scissors, I’m ready to cut the fabric pieces from last time!

But first: mark fabric properly.

See how ragged the line had become with the blunt scissors? I’m not even going to sharpen them, I’m just going to chuck it.

So these are my thoughts about marking:

– do it.

either with the seam allowance attached as is custom with most US patterns. Carefully trace around the pattern piece. Take it away. Cut the fabric, just inside the line you drew.

Or mark the fabric while adding the seam allowance. Most European patterns do not have the seam allowance attached so you can decide for yourself how broad you want it. I like this. You could even trace where the stitching needs to be which will give a more accurate line than with the US patterns where you have to measure first to take away the seam allowance.

There are some nifty tools to add a seam allowance of your chosen width. There’s a metal thingie which looks lovely ‘engineer’ to me. And there’s a plastic thingie that gives some standard widths. They showed it to me at the fabric store this afternoon but I had already paid for my stuff and people were waiting behind me so I got flustered and ran away before buying or taking a picture. It looks like a cut up credit card.

Now I cannot find one online because the Dutch word for it is the equivalent for ‘buddy’ and the Dutch word for ‘sewing’ is also slang for ‘breeding’ (very much like ‘screwing’ is in the English language) so the search results for ‘maatje naaien’ aka ‘screwing buddy’ were not the results I expected… I’m so naive! adorable.

oh look, I found a brain cell: just search for “seam allowance tool”

this Swedish blog shows one like I saw today.  I don’t think I should steal her picture and her band width. The blog is in English and she knows all the names for that plastic tool! I’m going to buy one next time.

This blog shows the engineering metal one. Ha! She sews for relaxation and has a degree in Urban Planning! Just like me! Only I am an absolute beginner….. And I have not found the relaxing part of sewing yet. Although I expect to find it in the fine execution of things, in using good fabrics and tool and in enjoying colours and hand eye coördination. Pretty much like in knitting, crocheting, spinning, embroidering and wood carving and wood block printing and Japanese brush art and probably also in ironing and baking.

hmmm, I could be reading these blogs all day long. Better stop. I want to do some sewing today.

For marking, I used a dress makers chalk (my, isn’t that a crumbly thing!) or just a pencil. I’ll be cutting on the inside of the line so the markings will not be on the fabric you use.

I have now trimmed my pieces properly, using the chalk and a pair of good, micro serrated scissors.

And I have cut lining fabric (also known as an IKEA curtain in soft cotton found at the thrift store)


I’ll be heading over to the sewing machine now!

trouble cutting the fabric

I wanted to cut the fabric but I am having troubles.

I drafted the pattern onto sturdy paper. I’ll show you the details in a next post. First I want to talk about cutting the fabric.
Here’s a pattern piece positioned on the fabric. I matched the grain and I decided the total length from underbust to hem should be about 70 centimeters. Of course I only made the paper part for the part of the dress that matters. The line going down down down to that 70 centimeters I can cut without a guiding pattern. I have a steady hand and it doesn’t matter much.

The trouble I’m having is with the actual cutting. The scissors need some working room between the table and the fabric that makes them less accurate. Also, I suspect they are not sharp enough. I am getting ragged edges and I am unable to follow the precise line the paper dictates.
This is unacceptable.

I tried tracing the paper onto the fabric, with yellow chalk, so I wouldn’t have to handle the paper and the fabric together. That worked ok but doesn’t solve the problem of the scissors lifting up the fabric and not being able to follow the exact line.

All the cut pieces have a few millimeters varying marge around them. Given that I was very precise in drafting this pattern and plan to be very precise in its seam allowance when sewing it I am not satisfied with this.
A cutting mat and rotary cutter sound like a good idea. It’s just that I hate to spend money (on that).
First I’ll look into better tracing and wielding fabric layers together so cutting can be easier. And sharpening those scissors. For these cut pieces I could opt for tracing the stitching lines and using them as a guide. But I’d rather not draw on the fabric, the chalk doesn’t come out very well. And the irregular seam allowance will give me trouble when finishing the seams later on.

So I’m a bit stumped for now, how to proceed.

In the mean time: here are the ‘raw’ pieces:

without ‘accessoires’: