I'm participating in the Kids Clothing Week Challenge Spring 2011 sew along organized by Elsie Marley (see details here). Each day this week I'll post my progress at spending a week sewing clothing for my three girls. I am a little ambitious as I have picked out a three-piece wardrobe for each, but I don't aim to finish nine pieces of clothing in one week. I hope to have the skirts finished for all three of them by Friday.
The three-piece outfit is all the same but in different fabrics/colors. I'm using patterns from the book Sewing Clothes Kids Love. The patterns in this book all have size ranges from 18 months to 11/12 (US sizes, the book actually favors European sizes). This is a terrific range for my family. Also, the clothing is in the Farbenmix style (some pieces are Farbenmix patterns), whereas the clothing is bright, colorful and eclectic but very customizable. They really allow the maker to be the designer.
I'm making the Brooklyn Tank Top, the Brooklyn Shrug and the Insa Skirt for each girl. I'm hoping to show you the skirts by Saturday (or maybe Monday...) The Insa Skirt is a two-tiered skirt and I'm using voile for both layers to give it a float-y, soft, summertime feel. The fabric is voile from Tina Givens' Haven's Edge collection. The girls picked it out themselves (they all liked this collection the best).
I thought today would be a good time to show you how I cut fabric for clothing when using patterns. I prefer to trace all patterns to Swedish Tracing Paper thereby preserving all sizes of the original. The patterns in this book are in the European tradition and do not include seam allowances. I prefer to add the seam allowances on the fabric and not during this step. I use masking tape to secure the pattern and the tracing paper to the table and an ordinary pencil to transfer all lines and markings being careful to mark the size as well.
After cutting out the pattern from the tracing paper, I lay on it my pre-washed, pressed and (fairly) trued-up fabric, following any instructions for laying it out. I use weights (the pink bean bags) and/or kitchen knives to keep the pattern from moving. (I hate pins, I feel that the fabric shifts when using them). Also, the tracing paper creates a sort of friction with the fabric and does not move very much. At this point I add the seam allowance using a clear ruler and tailors chalk. I like a half inch seam allowance.
After tracing the pattern plus seam allowance on the fabric I remove the pattern. I like to use a rotary cutter to cut the fabric (with a mat underneath, of course). I've never been that good at cutting with scissors and the rotary cutter is so much more accurate for me. After cutting the pattern out, I use masking tape to label the piece.
How do you use sewing patterns? Do you trace? Use pins, yay or nay? Scissors or rotary? I'd love to know what works for you.