A notch is a short cut made to the edge of the seam allowance, which allows matching the pattern pieces together. Cut out all the pattern’s notches carefully to the marked points, before detaching the pattern pieces. For a piece that is cut on the fold, the center front and center back notches are marked; cut a normal notch to the seam allowance up to the point where the fabric is folded, i.e. the piece’s center point.
Mark the other pattern markings carefully on the fabric before removing the pattern pieces. Such markings are e.g. the tips of darts, pocket placements, buttons and buttonholes. They are marked on the pattern with either matching points, matching lines, cut lines or button/buttonhole marks (see chart). All such symbols/markings are traced on the fabric by placing a pin needle at the mark, by knotting a short piece of thread at it or by marking with chalk.
In the instructions, right and left refer to the right and left side of the garment (when the garment is on, right side out).
The pieces are matched according to the notches. The corners should be aligned so that the stitching lines of the pieces are aligned, not the edges of the cutting lines (see image). Sew the pieces together right sides together and so that the edges are even, unless otherwise indicated.
All the pattern pieces have 1 cm / ⅜” seam allowances, unless otherwise stated. Sew the pieces together at the stitching line.
You can finish the raw edges of your pieces with an overlocker or with a sewing machine’s zigzag stitch. If the seam is pressed open, finish the edges separately. If the seam will not be pressed open, you can sew the seam first and then finish the edges together. If the fabric frays easily (e.g. lining), finish all seams. In other cases, you can leave all the ‘hidden’ seams unfinished (for example, the collar and collar stand pieces, belts, tabs, straps, front edges of lined jackets, etc.).
Always pin the pieces together before sewing. When pinning, consider the sewing direction of the seam so that removal of the pins is easy when sewing. A basting stitch is used when the seam is difficult to be pinned or the pieces are difficult to be kept in place with pins while sewing. When basting, the pieces are sewn together by hand with long stitches, and the basting thread is removed after sewing the actual seam.
Make a couple of back stitches at the beginning and end of each seam to prevent unraveling: first sew a couple of stitches forward, then back, then continue forward again. For topstitching, you can finish the seam by pulling both thread ends to the wrong side and knotting them a few times.
Pressing is crucially important and each seam should be pressed after sewing. Seams are often pressed open, seam allowances folded to each side of the seam. In some cases the seam allowances are pressed to one side, for example when they will be top- or understitched.
Seam allowances are clipped to reduce tension or bulk in curved seams or narrow areas e.g. at corners. Curved seams: Clip or notch the seam allowances, but be careful not to cut too close to the seam.
Corners: cut the seam allowances diagonally narrower at the tip of the corner.
If the garment has easing, an easing thread is sewn to the part to be eased. Easing means when one of the pieces to be sewn together is longer than the other (for example a sleeve cap), and the longer piece must be inserted so that the pieces will match up. An easing thread can also be used to shape gathers. When making an easing, the fabric must not be pleated or wrinkled. Sew the easing thread to the seam allowances approximately 5 mm / ¼” from the edge, using a long stitch length, and shape the easing/gathers evenly by tightening the bobbin thread. If there is very little easing, an easing thread is not needed.
Understitching is used to attach the seam allowances to the lining or facing, and it will not be visible on the right side of the garment. When understitching, the seam allowances are pressed to the lining/facing side and stitched a few millimetres away from the seam line, through the seam allowances and facing/lining only.
Topstitching is similar to understitching, but it is visible on the right side of the garment. All topstitching should be stitched from the right side of the fabric, if possible.
Cutting the fabric
- Check the cutting layout to find out how many pieces of each pattern piece need to be cut and how.
- Fold the fabric right sides together. If the piece is cut from a single layer of fabric, place the fabric right side up.
- Place the pattern pieces on the fabric in the direction of the grain; Lay the pieces on the fabric carefully and check with a measuring tape that the grainline arrow marked on the pattern is parallel to the selvedge or the fold of the fabric. If one of the pattern’s edges is dashed and the piece does not have a separate grainline marked on it, you should place the pattern on the fold. The dashed line indicates the grain direction.
- You can lay the pattern pieces on the fabric as suggested in the cutting layout. Note that the layout presented is for the size EUR40 (US8, UK12) and 150 cm / 60” wide fabric. Arrange the pieces as close to each other as possible to avoid waste. Use pins or weights to attach the pattern pieces to the fabric.
- If your fabric is patterned or napped and you have to match the pattern/print or cut the pieces in a certain direction, place the pieces on the fabric as needed instead of following the cutting layout.
- Note that the width of the interfacing in the cutting layout is 90 cm / 30”. If your fabric is light, interface the pieces and seam allowances completely. If your fabric is medium-weight or heavy, cut seam allowances of only a few millimetres for the interfacing pieces.
- Mark all the pattern markings on the fabric before removing the patterns.