January 25, 2012

1911 - tracing the pattern to fabric

The Year of the Dragon began a couple days ago so I'll start this post with a picture of the little iron dragon I use as a pattern weight. Happy Year of the Dragon!

I mentioned that I don't pin patterns to fabric. Pinned patterns are always bumpy near the pins and I like the fabric to lay flat. If fabric is slick or floaty I'll pin the layers together outside the pattern piece, but I use small paperweights to hold the pattern in place when tracing. We'll trace the finished corset patterns to fabric today, so break out your weights, or pins, and also a sharp pencil or chalk.

Fold the fabric is half, face to face. If you are new to sewing the face side of the fabric is the side you see when wearing a garment, it's the side with the pile on velvets and pigment on prints. Simple enough. Smooth any wrinkles or bubbles away. Place the pattern pieces on the fabric and trace them the same as was done for the mock-up, except add only 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Make sure the pieces are properly aligned with the grain of the fabric, and remember no seam allowance is added to the top and bottom edges, the back facing, or the facing edge of the front piece. Do add seam allowance to the center back this time. I shape the corners of the seam allowance to help me line up the cut pieces when sewing. I guess I could make square corners the same as on the mock-up, I don't though. Anyway, as each piece is traced double check to see that the notch marks are also transferred to the fabric. Then cut the pieces out. Keep your scissors vertical while cutting, if you hold them at an angle one layer of fabric will be slightly larger that the other. Maybe this 1/32 if an inch doesn't bother others, but, as you know, I like precision. After a piece is cut make a small clip into the allowance at the notch marks. If it is difficult to tell difference between the face and the wrong side of the fabric mark the seam allowance so you don't get confused. You may also want to write the number of the pattern piece in the same area. When a piece is cut out flip the two layers of fabric over and write the same notes on the opposite side. You can also trace the pattern on the other side so you have sewing and pinning lines.

Don't throw the fabric scraps away. They are perfect for testing thread tension, stitch length, seam technique, and grommet setting. Tomorrow I'll go over marking the bone placement on the altered patterns and Friday I'll explain seam construction. Happy tracing.


  1. on the one were the corset busk at the 5 an center back. No same allowance?
    Gruß Bettina

  2. Do add seam allowance at the center back so you can sew the facing to the center back. Don;t add seam allowance at the center front because the facing is part of the piece now. It will fold over at the busk so no need to have seam allowance there. Does that help?

  3. So no seam allowance at center front to center back.
    So I did it.
    at the back and front.
    Is that correct

  4. I realized I didn't post a picture of the pattern with the facings. I'll do that then make certain that yours looks similar.