Clothes making involves lots of cutting and sewing of fabrics. Many dressmakers, however, end up having lots of unnecessary excess fabric they can’t do anything with and no piece of useful extra fabric. You can solve this by applying certain tips and trick to help you minimise fabric waste while also maximising your fabric.
This week, we reviewed a video by Ada Uju of Stitchadress on how to manage fabrics while you are cutting. In this video, she shares ways every dressmaker can minimise waste while cutting fabrics by calculating right. The video aims to help fashion designers to know how to calculate how much fabric to use for each style and how to cut it out. It aims to show how they can manage fabric better every time.
This video review will cover;
- useful points fashion designers can learn from,
- the relevance of the information provided to fashion designers.
Useful Points for Fashion Designers
1. Approximation of Measurements
When you want to sew outfits, a lot of calculation goes into it because cutting and sewing fabrics is a game of numbers. Now, when it comes to cutting a piece of fabric for an outfit, you need allowances for the seams, dart, and so on. Here, many people make mistakes.
For example, if you want to sew a skirt for a person with hips measurement 40″, the first thing to is bring out your calculator. On it, type 40″, then, ask yourself how many inches of allowance you want to leave for sewing. Most people leave a 1″ allowance, but, as a beginner, it is more advisable to use 1.5″ because you could run into a mistake and that extra half inch will save you. To this measurement, you can then add 1″ extra.
So, now, you have;
Hips: 40". Seam Allowance = 1.5" + 1.5" (for both sides) = 3". 40" + 3" = 43". 43" + 1" = 44"
With this, when you want to cut your fabric out, you know that you are cutting out 44″ width of fabric instead of 40″. This measurement does not affect the measurement for your skirt length. Your sewing allowance, dart allowance, and seam allowance for sewing are still there. So, when you are done making your darts and sewing, you would have managed to your fabric well.
So, instead of cutting out a large piece of fabric and being left with a massive chunk of wasted fabric, you get just what you need. Get your numbers right and and the correct allowances around.
2. Your Folding Technique
Another important thing to note when you are cutting a piece of fabric is your sewing technique. For example, if you have 1 yard of fabric with width 36″ and length 60″ and you want to cut a skirt, you already know what the measurements of both sides are. If you fold along the 1 yard width for a person with hip measurement 40″, you cannot get your desired hip measurement. If, however, you turn it the other way round, and cut it in the direction of the length, you will be able to get enough allowance for your hips.
Essentially, turn your fabric in the direction where you can get your 40″ measurement with ease after folding it into 4. The 36″ side of the fabric s not up to 40″ so folding along that side will result in fabric wastage. Your folding technique can greatly help you with cutting your fabric without having unnecessary pieces everywhere.
3. Place Your Pieces the Right Way
For example, if you want to cut out a fabric piece for an A-line skirt, you fold your fabric and cut out your desired piece. When this is cut out, there is a big space in the fabric with leftover pieces at the top and bottom of the space. The next thing to do is to spread out your fabric with that big gap, you will see that the part of the fabric that had the broader side of the A-line has less material while the part that had the narrower side of the A-line has more material.
One way to cut this remaining fabric is to take your main piece and lay on the fabric in the opposite direction from how you cut it. This way, the bottom of your A-line is laying where the the top was before and vice-versa to reduce waste. For this technique, you have to cut the back side of the skirt in 2 pieces. See images above.
Another technique is to fold the fabric like you want to cut your A-line. Since the main fabric has more fabric where the top side of the A-line was cut out from and the other side has less fabric, just fold it like you want to cut another A-line in the same direction. Then, turn your working piece the other way around on it. This way, you can utilise the fabric you didn’t utilise when you were cutting the front part after folding.
These methods help you minimise fabric waste. See images above.
4. Pieces Placement
For example, if you want to cut the front part of a dress, a flare and the back side of the dress, when you are done with cutting the flare, you will have pieces everywhere. Instead of going to the main fabric to try to cut out the bodice of that dress, you can look for small pieces that came out of the flare to see if any can fit a part of your pattern.
This way, you can maximise your fabric. All the extra pieces that would usually have gone to waste will now be useful for you.
5. Use of Pattern
Making use of patterns save you a lot of fabric. When you use free hand cutting, you waste more fabric unike when you use patterns because they are straight to the point and you can maneuver them.
When you use pattern, it helps maximise or manage your fabric and there is little to no waste involved. Other ways may seem less stressful but when you use patterns you get the most out of every part of the fabric.
6. Double Check Your Measurements
This is a simple step that can cost you a lot of fabric. When you are done marking all your measurements, double checking them will save you a lot of headache and waste. Also, you have to check to ensure you have added the appropriate allowances to all sides.
With this step, you know that you don’t have to worry that something is not right or suddenly realise you didn’t get something right after cutting the fabric. Measure twice and cut once. Double checking makes sure that you don’t cut a working piece that won’t work for you and end up wasting clients’ fabrics.
As you progress with dressmaking, you learn more tips and tricks that will help you manage fabric. The more you cut, the more confident you become and the more knowledge and skill you gain.
The Usefulness of the Information to Fashion Designers
This video is very useful for dressmakers that want to minimise the rate of fabric waste when designing something new for a client. It teaches not just how to minimise waste but also how to maximise the fabric being used. By applying these steps into your fashion business, you are sure to never have unnecessary waste fabric lying around.