Oliver + S

Newbie with basic questions

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    phyllis_stein @phyllis_stein


    I am learning to sew using the oliver + s syllabus. This is just my second project (after the lazy days skirt) and I have some basic questions about getting started.

    1. Do you wash and iron the fabric first?

    2. The dress pattern is laid out along the fold. Should I fold it wrong side out?

    3. Piece 3 needs to be cut twice as long as the pattern piece. Is there any special trick to doing this or can I just slide the piece down after I’ve traced it.

    4. Do you always lay your cutouts on the wrong side? Do you just trace around them with a disappearing ink pen?

    5. When selecting thread for a fabric with more than one colour, how do you chose what colour of thread to use?

    Thanks in advance!

    janimal @janimal

    Phyllis, welcome to the forums! You really found the right pattern designer to learn to sew. There are some crazy talented sewists here who are also very nice and supportive so please dive on in! Here are my answers – I got a bit wordy, sorry.

    1. It’s a good rule of thumb to treat the fabric just as you would the finished garment. So that means launder it just as you will the clothing later. That way you get any shrinkage out of the fabric before you sew. This is especially important when combining 2 different fabrics as they may shrink at different rates and that could get really wonky if not done before sewing. I don’t iron my fabric until I am ready to use it. I fold it out of the dryer and will press right before cutting. My fabric goes straight to the laundry room from the store!

    2. Generally yes, fold wrong side out, that way any markings you transfer from the pattern will be on the wrong side when you sew. For this dress it doesn’t really matter but that’s a good habit. Also, for the smaller sizes of this dress, to save fabric, you could fold the fabric selvedges into the middle, so you have two folds on each side and lay the main pattern pieces down side by side. (I hope that made sense)

    3. When I make this dress, I don’t use the pattern piece. It’s just a rectangle. I just get the measurement of the size I need, then I use a ruler. It’s just much easier to use the straight edge of the ruler rather than the paper pattern piece. It’s 2′ wide by whatever length you need. Make sure you follow the directions to cut that on the bias.

    4. There are lots of ways to cut! Generally yes, lay your pattern pieces on the wrong side. You can trace with a fabric pen, chalk, use a wheel (I learned in 6th grade home ec and have never used one since). For simple pieces, I like to use a rotary cutter on a self healing mat. You could also weigh down the pattern pieces (I use butter knives or tuna cans sometimes!) and just cut around the pattern as it lays on the fabric. I use fabric pens or pencils quite a bit – but have had to try a few different ones. I have one that disappears SO fast I can’t finish cutting a pattern! Another hasn’t washed out completely. For this particular pattern, none of your marks will show so really you could use anything you wanted.

    5. I don’t know of any particulare rule here. I try to choose whatever color is dominant, I suppose.

    Best wishes – please share your creations with us on the FlickR pool!

    phyllis_stein @phyllis_stein

    Thanks Janimal for your warm welcome and quick and thorough reply!!!

    Now I can get started.

    Ooooh… I’m so excited….

    phyllis_stein @phyllis_stein

    Oh and janimal, you should have mentioned the oh so helpful tutorial on your blog. I will be following it closely.

    janimal @janimal

    Oh! I forgot I posted that – seems so long ago! I just love the Popover pattern and will make more this Summer. I set myself a personal goal of working my way through ALL the O&S patterns – I’m gonna be busy!

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