Cutting on the fold is a technique used by seamstresses and pattern makers to optimize fabric usage and streamline the cutting process. By placing the pattern piece on a folded fabric edge, it allows for symmetrical pieces, eliminates the need for additional seam allowances, and ensures efficient use of fabric.
Purpose and Benefits of Cutting on Fold
Cutting on the fold offers several advantages, including:
- Symmetry: When a pattern piece is cut on the fold, it creates a mirrored or symmetrical shape. This is particularly useful for garments with identical left and right sides, such as bodices or sleeves, as it eliminates the need to cut separate pieces and ensures a balanced look.
- Efficiency: By placing the pattern piece on a folded fabric edge, you can maximize fabric usage and minimize waste. Cutting on the fold reduces the number of fabric pieces needed and allows for efficient cutting of multiple layers simultaneously, saving time and resources.
- Seam Allowance Reduction: When cutting on the fold, the folded edge replaces the need for a seam allowance on one side of the pattern piece. This reduces bulk and simplifies the sewing process, especially for garments with center front or center back closures.
- Consistency: Cutting on the fold ensures consistent placement of pattern pieces and maintains alignment with grainlines and fabric motifs, resulting in a professionally finished garment.
Technique for Cutting on the Fold
To cut a pattern piece on the fold, follow these steps:
- Prepare the fabric: Fold the fabric selvage to selvage, aligning the selvage edges precisely. Smooth out any wrinkles or folds to ensure an even and flat fabric surface.
- Position the pattern: Place the pattern piece on the fabric, aligning the designated fold line of the pattern with the folded edge of the fabric. Make sure the pattern is secure and lies flat on the fabric surface.
- Mark necessary notches: Transfer any necessary markings or notches onto the fabric using tailor’s chalk or fabric markers. These markings will guide you during the construction process.
- Cut the fabric: Use sharp fabric scissors to carefully cut along the outer edges of the pattern piece, excluding the folded edge. Take care to maintain a smooth and precise cut, following the shape of the pattern.
Considerations and Tips
While cutting on the fold is a straightforward technique, keep the following points in mind:
- Grainline alignment: Ensure that the pattern’s grainline arrow aligns parallel to the folded edge of the fabric. This ensures the fabric’s straight grain runs along the intended direction of the garment, promoting proper drape and fit.
- Pattern symmetry: Double-check the pattern piece’s design to confirm that it is intended to be cut on the fold. This is particularly important for pieces that should be symmetrical, such as center front or back panels.
- Pattern placement: Before cutting, consider the layout of other pattern pieces on the fabric to maximize efficiency and minimize waste. Planning the placement of multiple pieces can optimize fabric usage and ensure you have enough fabric for the entire garment.
By mastering the technique of cutting on the fold, seamstresses and pattern makers can achieve efficient fabric utilization, symmetrical garment pieces, and streamlined construction processes. Incorporating this technique into your sewing practice will enhance the accuracy and professionalism of your finished clothes and garments.