Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Lightbulb Goes ON

Every once in a while. something does click in this ol' brain of mine. It finally clicked on a better way to cut out patterns when I read Kathleen Fasanella's post on rotary cutting yesterday.

One of my grumbles about cutting is pattern erosion...the little nicks and slices that seem to happen no matter how hard one tries not to do that. It's especially bad on the costuming patterns, because we're moving in such a hurry.

Obviously, the answer is to chalk-trace the pattern onto the fabric and then take it away before cutting.

Duh.

I don't even think it will take much longer to trace it than it does to anchor it down...particularly after I've had a bit of practice....

Now, where'd I put that chalk?

7 comments:

  1. Good idea, particularly with costumes. They get used by so many people that perfect fit usually isn't required anyway.

    For personal TNT's, I don't know. It seems like extra work. With rectangular pieces, a lot of times I just note the measurement and cut to size. This is easy with straps, belts, etc, because those pieces are often small and easily lost.

    Most of my TNTs end up on Do Sew which holds up to cutter erosion a lot better than tissue. I think Gigi (Behind the Seams) actually uses oaktag, which is another great way to preserve TNTs.

    Thanks for sharing...

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  2. I've been doing this for a few years and it does make cutting so much easier. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen an upholsterer do it on a TV show. He used a cardboard pattern and had a pattern piece traced in a few seconds and cut it out really quickly too, because the pattern wasn't "in the way".

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  3. I'm thinking using a "pounce" would make it even faster. The pattern becomes a stencil, and you pounce the chalk around the edges. Lift the pattern and cut where there isn't chalk.

    For me, I just do it the "enthusiast" way ... rotary cut with the pattern still in place ... and will continue. ;-) But I do agree with Kathleen for those who are cutting hundreds/thousands from a single pattern.

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  4. For me, I just do it the "enthusiast" way ...rotary cut with the pattern still in place ... and will continue. ;-) But I do agree with Kathleen for those who are cutting hundreds/thousands from a single pattern.

    First, does the term "enthusiast" offend you? Why put it in quotes? I'm trying to avoid "home sewer" which has negative connotations among people I know. Anyway, I do envy the shortcuts enthusiasts use that we can't. However, "those who are cutting hundreds/thousands from a single pattern" are having the pattern digitized and plotted; it wouldn't ever enter a sane person's mind to rotary cut around a pattern hundreds or thousands of times. Iow, using a rotary cutter to cut out remains the dominion of shortcuts that only hobby sewers can use. Anyone sewing for profit who uses this practice is likely to have other problems and will end up out of business sooner or later -unless they change these and other as yet unmentioned practices. I doubt the company I mentioned in the example would have evolved from sewing out of a spare bedroom into a firm with seven figure sales if they'd continue to use rotary cutters.

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  5. Kathleen, I'm assuming the right alternative for DEs is to use a jig-saw type thing to cut many multiplied multiples? I took it that the original issue you were posting about wasn't so much whether to chalk around the pattern (which is the light bulb that went off in my head) so much as it is about the practicality of rotary cutters for DEs, period. But that's out of my league. I can't imagine trying to sew at a level at which rotary cutting is inefficient (LOL).

    Oh, I don't necessarily think Debbie meant anything by the quote marks...just a nod to the fact that we home sewing enthusiasts have a really, really difficult time finding a reasonable moniker for ourselves. ;)

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  6. Kathleen, I'm assuming the right alternative for DEs is to use a jig-saw type thing to cut many multiplied multiples? I took it that the original issue you were posting about wasn't so much whether to chalk around the pattern (which is the light bulb that went off in my head) so much as it is about the practicality of rotary cutters for DEs, period.

    Yes, when you're cutting oodles, you do the jig-saw (called a "marker") thing. However, DEs sometimes need to cut one or two (prototypes, sample etc) or are making things to order and in those cases, shouldn't use a rotary cutter *along the pattern edge*. They can use a rotary cutter, they just need to trace out the pattern first.

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  7. Ah! So *that's* what a marker is! Makes sense!

    Always room for learnin'...thanks!

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