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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Saturday, November 1, 2008

The principles of the actual pivoting and sliding

Once all your notes-to-self are written on your fabric the next step is to lay this crazily annotated pattern on your fabric (or paper if you are sensible) and start cutting and adjusting as you go. To work the process of Cut-Pivot or slide-Cut has to be done in a strict order, with hemlines for example cut first to establish grainlines for the whole piece, and cutting proceeding up to very distinct pivot points that are always the key point before where the pattern must be pivoted to make a width change. This prescribed order is different for garment type, I will just do pants now but if this works might explore it further another time for bodices. Typical sewer, mind always on the project after the one at hand.

That order as best as I can explain it:

1. Pin your pattern to the fabric or paper. Correction because there is a lot of moving the pattern around the best thing to do is use weights which is what they actually do in the book I am using. In my case the weights are a can of smoked oysters (my husband makes a wicked smoked oyster sandwich, a favourite from his Nova Scotia Acadian childhood), sardines (have had that can for about 15 years, been that long since I had sardines, and do remember them being on the menu where I grew up in rural Manitoba) and a couple of cans of tuna. Looks very scientific and professional doesn't it?
2. OK pin the hem to the fabric and weight the rest. Step one, to maintain grainline is to cut out the hem line, if you need to lengthen or shorten  then slide your pattern up or down.
3. Measure and mark all the additions or subtractions (but really when you are working from a pattern that is already 2 sizes smaller I doubt that is going to be an issue) on the fabric. This means for example measuring out the requisite 5/8" at the hip and waistline  and putting a pin in the fabric as a mark in the fabric. When you are done this you will have pins parallel to the stitching line at hip, waist, thigh or wherever else you will need to make additions.
4. OK then it gets weird. After cutting the hem, the next step is to pivot the pattern out to make additions, with the pivoting occurring at the level one below the place that needs the addition.
5. In detail, I need to add to my thigh, so pivoting from the hem I put only one pin in the pattern at the hem and side seam seam allowance intersection and use this as the pivot point to rotate my whole pattern piece until the pattern at the side seam touches the pin I have placed 1/2" out at the thigh line. I then cut along the pattern all the way up to the crotch/thighline along the side seam. This adds to the outer thigh.
6. I then return the pattern to my starting point with the pattern even with the cut hem line.
7. I remove the pin at the outer hem/side seam allowance intersection and transfer it to the inseam/hem allowance intersection. Using this as a new pivot point I rotate my pattern piece to touch the marking pin that is 1/2" out from the thigh line at the inseam. I cut to this point.
8. Next I move the pin to the crotch line, side seam first, then inseam, one step and one cut at a time, pivot out to my 5/8" mark at the hip and cut to the hip line.
9. I then move the pivot pins to the side seam hip line and pivot and cut out to my 5/8" waistline mark, then do the same on the inseam line.
10. Finally I slide the pattern up a bit to make the small additions to the length at the top of the waist.

Done, cut and ready to sew, no paper alterations at all. Interesting.

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