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July 10, 2017 3 min read

In a previous post, we showed you what to do before you cut your fabric. Considering you already got through that process, it is now about the right time to lay out the pattern pieces. We already established that you don’t want your result to look homemade, so you need to learn how to place your fabric correctly, to avoid this from happening. Hoping that you cut your pieces straight, we are ready to show you five tips that will help you lay out pattern pieces to get a successful sewing result.

  1. Pressing

Pressing is important, so you should press your tissue pattern pieces prior to laying them on your fabric. Pattern pieces usually have creases in them, as a result of being folded in an envelope. Safely press the creases out by using the low setting on your iron. This way, you’ll avoid damaging your pattern pieces.

If you use digital patterns, you can use a paper hole puncher to punch four or five holes in the patterns. Then you can store them on a hanger to prevent creases.

  1. Follow the Layout Guide

Your pattern comes with a layout guide. You should really follow it. Pattern companies generally create the best layout options according to the yardage amount they suggest on the pattern’s back. Doing this, they try to make sure you get the best results and you efficiently use your fabric.

Besides following the layout guide, you also need to choose the right layout for your fabric. Depending on the various fabric types and widths, companies try to foresee the most common options needed.

The layout depends on the fabric width and whether or not all the pieces need to lay the same way. As an example, velvet fabric needs a different style of layout than cotton fabric. In the guide, the layouts are categorized by garment and by separate components of the garment.

  1. Grainlines

One of the most important things on your pattern piece is the grainline. It tells you what direction you should place your pattern piece on the fabric. The grain line is always parallel to the selvage. In case your pattern piece should be crosswise, lengthwise or on the bias, then it is the grain line that tells you this.

You should pay a great attention when you cut your garment, because if your pieces aren’t straight, then you can’t fix them once they are cut. You can’t do any alterations after you cut the pieces. Although it takes some extra time to ensure your pattern pieces are on your fabric straight prior to cutting, it is worth doing this.

Here we show you what to do to ensure that your pattern piece is straight:

  • Pattern pieces not cut on the fold.

In this case, your pattern piece is straight when the grainline is parallel to the fabric’s selvage. You need to measure the distance from the piece’s grainline to the fabric’s selvage. For this, you’ll use a tape measure or a ruler. Regardless of which end of the grainline you choose first, pin its end and measure its distance from the selvage of your fabric.

  • Salvage is wavy.

In this case, you need to find the straightest part that you can. You can line up your selvage with the straight edge of your cutting board or table and measure to its edge. Measure the distance at the grainline’s unpinned end. If this measurement is different, you need to move your pattern piece until the distance from the selvage is the same at both ends of your grainline.

  • Your pattern piece is straight.

Now that you are sure your pattern piece is straight, you can go on and pin the rest of the piece in its place. When the pieces that are closest to the selvage are straight and you finished pinning them in place, you can use their grainlines to measure to for neighboring pieces.

  1. Cutting

To ensure that your pattern piece stays in place while you cut it, hold one hand on your pattern piece while cutting your fabric. It is even more essential to hold your pattern piece in place with your hand while you cut if you use pattern weights instead of pins. This is to avoid your pattern piece from shifting while you cut. You should pay attention because if you lift the pattern piece a little or you don’t hold it in place while cutting it may cause slight movement and this affects the sewing or fit of the piece.