Monday, January 15, 2007

Sewing Quirks

Once upon a time, many years ago a fair-to-middling seamtress (yes, that would be me), laid a pattern piece erroneously on the fabric and cut the pattern out along the line marked 'place on fold'. Devastated by the ruination of a garment before the first stitch was sewn (I can't remember whether I tried a narrow seam, recut the piece or simply ditched the whole thing...heck, I can't even remember what the garment was. It was a VERY long time ago!), the seamstress decided to leave a paper margin along the 'place on fold line' to remind her 'Don't cut here, Doofus!'

As I was tracing patterns yesterday evening (yeah, still...instead of cleaning the sewing room...) I realized that I *still* do this:

It's so normal for me that I don't even notice it, but when I've traced patterns for, say, Bible costumes and have others helping cut,it has caused some confusion. So I have to explain why the margin is there. It really isn't a problem...the tissue is transparent enough that the fold of the fabric can easily be seen well enough to line the pattern up...but it has gotten me some rather odd looks from fellow sewing enthusiasts.

So I started wondering...does anyone else have any 'weird sewing habits' like that, or is it just me? ;)


  1. I do the same thing. I have never thought of it as weird. My mother may have taught me to do that, or I may just have begun it naturally, as I just cut the pieces out roughly before placing them on the fabric, and then cut along the lines carefully. Since I wouldn't cut the fold, that piece retains a margin.

    I think it is a completely sensible practice :)

  2. Don't even get me started on weird sewing practices . . . .

    What's interesting is that on some of the vintage patterns it actually says "Fold Line. Do Not Cut on This Line" at several intervals along where the fold line is.

    Your method is completely sensible, but would drive me nuts. I have to have every piece I'm using cut out of the tissue completely before cutting out the fabric. Even though you can see through the tissue, it bothers me if there is tissue outside the lines. Plus I like to economize fabric by laying out the pieces my way (keeping grains lines proper!), and I can place pieces right next to each other that way.

  3. There was one lady who sewed with us for a while who was unnerved by the fold line margins, too...she meticulously folded them all down before she placed the pattern on the fabric. The pattern extending off the edge of the fabric was visually disturbing to her.

    It helps me particularly on pieces like facings, where one is on the fold and the other isn't...helps to tell the difference at a glance ;)

  4. i leave the extra tissue on the foldlines too, and i cut the extra so it's jagged.

  5. Years ago, when I first starting sewing up a storm I learned to fold the pattern exactly along the factory folds so it would all fit back into the envelop. I had limited space for sewing back then. Now, I have filing cabinets, and use plastic bags for each pattern, and I still feel guilty for not folding on those old fold lines...sigh
    But as to fold lines: I do just like you.

  6. I don't leave extra paper, but I do write fold in BIG red letters, with arrows on either side of it. The reason I don't leave extra paper is because I lay out my pattern so that the fold line is on the straight edge of my STP. That's probaby my quirk, I try to be conservative with my tracing paper.LOL

  7. LOL! If I were using STP,I'd probably be as conservative as I could, too! But this is the cheap stuff-- doctors office exam table paper -- so I'm not so careful. ;)

    Plus, I just picked up a large package of tissue wrapping paper...I think it was 120 sheets for 80 cents...from a Christmas clearance sale.

  8. Oh I have to make that mark too, and yes, I fold on the original pattern fold lines, taking great pains with this.

  9. ok - weird sewing quirk that Mary Beth reminded me of - I *have* to fold any pieces I don't cut out exactly back on the factory folds and put them back in the bag. I've actually got quite good at it, too. I discovered that I was obessesive/compulsive about this when I loaned a pattern to my sister in-law and got it back with the bag ripped and all the pieces shoved in the bag in a large wad.