How to Cut Out and Mark Pattern Pieces on Fabric

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    Sewing perfect seams means knowing exactly where the dots, tabs and darts should be as you work. Since pattern paper -- the only guide for these symbols -- has to be removed, it makes sense to transfer pattern markings directly to the fabric. Learn to connect the dots, lines and slashes the professional way and you will likely see improvements in the way your work looks and feels. Before beginning, gather the supplies you need.

    Things You'll Need

    • Sewing pattern
    • Fabric
    • Straight pins
    • Fabric pencil
    • Fabric-marking pen
    • Fabric chalk
    • Ruler
    • Dressmaker's carbon
    • Tracing wheel

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    Pin your tissue paper pattern pieces to your fabric according to the instruction sheet that came with the pattern.

    Use dressmaker shears or sharp scissors to cut fabric along the designated cutting line.

    Cut all notches -- diamond-shaped symbols that appear along cutting line -- outward from the cutting line. These notches will be used to match pattern pieces later on. Treat double and triple notches as one and cut them together with a continuous edge. Leave pins intact.

    Marking Fabric with Chalk and Pen

    Transfer marks using pins and a chalk fabric pencil or marking pen. Support fabric with one hand, and insert pins through all layers of fabric along outline of pattern mark.

    Carefully turn pattern piece over and use a ruler and marking pencil or pen to trace along outline made by the pins.

    Turn pattern piece over so that tissue side is facing up.

    Unpin pattern and carefully pull the pattern piece over the heads of the marking pins.

    Once again, follow the outline made by the marking pins to trace the pattern mark onto your fabric.

    Marking With Tracing Paper and Wheel

    Use dressmaker's carbon, or tracing paper, and a tracing wheel as an alternate method of transferring pattern marks to fabric.

    Mark two layers of fabric by cutting a strip of carbon paper about 4 inches by 10 inches and folding it in half.

    Place coated sides together.

    Slide the bottom half of paper under the fabric and the top half between the fabric and pattern.

    Trace along marking lines with a tracing wheel.

    • Any sharpened pair of scissors will do, although the bent handles of dressmaker shears allow fabric to lie flat while you are cutting.
    • Cut fabric with long, even strokes for a smoother cutting line.
    • If your pattern calls for interfacing or lining, save time by pinning and cutting these items at the same time as your fabric.
    • If you use a marking pen, test on a piece of scrap fabric to ensure that any marks made with it can be laundered out.
    • Use carbon paper only if fabric is opaque, as marks will not wash out. Make sure to mark on the wrong side of fabric.