Typically with sewing patterns for dressmaking, we cut many pieces “on the fold”, meaning we have one half of a symmetrical garment piece as our paper pattern and we place it against a folded edge to create the full garment piece. This is also how lay plans are normally written, as it make calculating fabric nice and quick and because it’s time efficient (cut only half and get a whole garment piece? Yes please!). Visually it’s also appealing to lay pattern pieces out this way in a lay plan, and it helps when you are relatively new to sewing. Lay plans are normally provided for two widths of fabric. Ours are for 115 and 150 cm wide, based on common widths of fabric, and we have written our lay plans based on our biggest size, so all customers can guaranteed get the right amount of fabric.
To Fold or Not To Fold?
Here is a lay plan for our Selkie London blouse, for a fabric width of 150 cm. You can see that some pieces are placed on the fold and that this way, you will need 1.4 metres of fabric. Let’s take a look at an alternative lay plan:
Here you can see that all pattern pieces that are normally cut on the fold, have been cut twice. The way to do this is to place your pattern piece and trace/cut around all edges except the edge that is normally ‘on the fold’; then you flip your pattern piece over and continue tracing. So you are mirroring your pattern piece along the edge that says ‘cut on the fold’. You can see that with the same width of fabric, we save 10 centimetres of fabric. In this instance, we didn’t save a lot of fabric, but let’s look at another example:
Here is our London dress, cut on the fold, on fabric with a 150 cm width. To do this, we would need 2.5 metres. Let’s see how it looks without placing it on the fold:
By not folding our fabric when cutting out, we would save 0.5 metres of material! Yes, it takes a little more time to trace and cut out, but it’s definitely worth it.
Convenience vs. Efficiency
Placing pattern pieces on the fold is convenient and time saving, but it’s not always the most cost efficient way, or the most material efficient way. Since we are all about keeping clothing and textiles out of landfill, we would encourage you to try cutting your projects out this way and see what you think! If you cut on the fold and you end up with fabric scraps, you can of course keep them for another project, or why not send them to one of our Scrap Partners In Crime?
We hope you have gained some insight today and keep on learning and experimenting!