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What you need to do before cutting into your fabric

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

How many times have you made a garment, cut straight into your good fabric, only to have it not fit properly, shrink, or

look like a sack? So many sewist skip this step because they feel that it takes too much time. However, isn't it more of a waste of your time (and money) to make something you will never wear?

This week I'm giving you my top tips on what to do BEFORE you cut into your beautiful fabric.


✂️Always pre-wash your fabric in the manner you intend to after the garment is made. This will pre-shrink the fabric, release any dye, and remove the sizing in the fabric. (I also chuck in a color catcher for safe measures)

✂️Measure before you begin. If you haven't sewn in a while, your measurements could have changed since the last time you sewed. Double check your measurements against the pattern's.

✂️ Don't just make a straight size. Figure out what size you are in the upper bust, bust, waist, and largest hip and then grade between these sizes on the multi-sized pattern pieces. That is partly why they are there in the first place. Hardly ANYONE is a straight or "standard" size. Most are a tic tac toe of sizing so grading will get you a much closer fit.

✂️Trace your pattern onto tracing paper (tracing interfacing). If you cut into your pattern it is gone forever and you will be reluctant to cut into it to make any necessary changes. Trace off the pattern so you can make alterations as needed.

✂️Check the length. My patterns are drafted for someone that is 5'8" and others are drafted for someone that is 5'6". Check that the waist hits at your waist and the length is appropriate for what you want.

✂️ MAKE A MOCK UP!!! I can not stress this enough. Even if it is from an old sheet or fabric you don't love. Don't make your first garment out of the silk you brought back from your honeymoon. Cut out a quick test garment. Baste it together quickly. Try on. Then you can mark and tweak where it isn't fitting quite right.

Once you are happy with your adjustments then (and only then) should you cut into your good fabric.


If you have any sewing related questions, please get in touch. I love to help and answer as many as I can, and as a bonus to you if it's used on a Tuesday Tip post I will also send you a FREE PDF pattern of choice too!


📸 Helen wearing a Sweet Summertime Dress in a gorgeous #jocelynproustfabric whilst working on the #freemantlefrock in a recent class.




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Hey y'all!
I'M LINDSEY RAE

Welcome to Sew To Grow!
Our mission is to help you build a perfectly fitted handmade wardrobe, so when someone asks where you got your fabulous frock you can confidently say 'I made it!'. To help you on your sewing journey, here you'll find a range of tutorials about sewing techniques, garment fitting, notions and tools, fabric and more!

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