Excuse my strange pose above – I do love flowers but mostly I just didn’t know what to do with my hands!
But that is not the point, what I want to tell you is how excited I am to be kicking off the Flint Pants and Shorts Sew Along!!
I can’t wait to see the gorgeous creations you make and to be your virtual sewing buddy!
Today I’m walking you through the ins and outs of printing and cutting out your pattern.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
If you don’t have your pattern yet, pop over to this post to get your 20% discount code!
If you haven’t sewn pants before this pattern by designer Megan Nielsen is the perfect place to start. The fit is forgiving since they have a beautiful wide leg and there is no zip or fly construction to fiddle with! They close with a super cool and simply constructed hidden closeure in the pocket. But I won’t get a head of myself, I’ll share more on that later this week!
If you haven’t seen them already the below posts can help you plan what kind of Flint’s to sew:
Printing that Pattern
Before you print your pattern you need to decide which version you are going to make!
There are four to choose from depending on if you want to make a tie or button waistband and a cropped pant or short.
Next you will need to decide on your printing method. Unless you went with a hardcopy, printed pattern – in that case you can skip straight down the cutting out section below!
Copy shop or Online printer
If you purchased a PDF pattern there a few options. (PDF is always my preference because I’m impatient and want to start straight away!)
You can take your PDF files to a copy shop for printing. This is awesome as it alleviates the need for endless taping of smaller sheets together but it can be expensive depending on your local options or shipping costs if you go with an online print store.
One difference between a local printer and online firms is that you may not get the scale check that several of the sewing pattern printers offer. Sometimes the copy shop staff won’t know how to deal with the pattern file and end up fitting the patterns to the page, throwing off the scale and therefore the fit of the pattern.
If you go this route, I would be sure to include instructions NOT to fit the pattern to page but to print it at it’s actual size. And always check the measurements of the test square before paying for your pattern!
You may also want to request your pattern be printed on lighter weight paper rather than standard weight. Paper weight is measured in grams per square metre (GSM). So the higher the GSM, the thicker the paper. Tissue paper is usually between 10 – 35 GSM and standard printer paper is 70-100GSM. Most sewing pattern printers offer a weight between the two, so it has better stability than tissue paper, but is more translucent than standard paper which helps with pattern placement on your fabric.
Keep in mind that some printers will reduce the cost per pattern if you print multiple patterns at once.
If you’re interested in online printing, you may want to look into the following providers. I haven’t used them but have heard good things!
Print at Home
This is usually the method I choose. I put on a great podcast or turn on Netflix, pour a glass of wine and settle in with my tape!
On the first page of Megan’s PDF pattern, next to the list of sizes, she includes exactly which pages you need to print for which size to save you wasting paper.
Next, check the scale on your printer.
The pattern includes US Letter Paper (8 ½” x 11”) and A4 (21 x 29.7cm). Depending on what paper size you have, select the relevant printing option and make sure you’re using the correct file.
Check that your printer is set to print at 100% scale or ‘Actual Size’.
Print the first page of the pattern and check that the calibration square measures 5cm (2 inches). If it doesn’t you may need to adjust your printer settings.
The instructions say to cut around the borders and tape the pattern together but I find it faster to fold along the bottom and right sides of each sheet and tape them together using the edge markers as a guide.
If you want to avoid the folding step and streamline even further, you can use an iPad screen or some other backlit device to create some translucency. Lay your two sheets on top of the device and align the markers this way before taping!
It’s worth paying attention to pattern pieces 5 and 6 before you spend your time taping and cutting. These waistband pieces are not nested. So check that you have the right size and variation in front of you before you get started!
Cut it out!
If you are using a hardcopy, printed pattern, it is worthwhile tracing your pattern out before you get started so that you have a copy of the original pattern before you make any adjustments as you go along or to come back to later if you want to remake the pants or shorts in a different size.
On Megan’s PDF pattern, on the first page, underneath each variation, is listed which pattern pieces you need to cut out.
For tips on pattern placement beyond the cutting layouts found in the instructions, refer to this post on fabric selection and just how much you need.
However if, when it comes time to cut out your pattern, you realise you are a little short on fabric. Before buying more fabric or choosing a different piece of fabric to sew up, measure your inseam compared to the finished garment measurements found in the sewing instructions. See if you need or want to crop the pants further, thus allowing you to fit them into less fabric!
I am always playing Tetris with my pattern pieces in order to reduce as much fabric waste as possible and potentially even squeeze another project out what remains!
This involves taking a bit of time to look critically at the pattern placement, seeing if laying your fabric flat or folding both selvages towards the center of fabric instead of in half would make a difference. Then as you cut your pattern pieces, keeping the best use of your fabric at front of mind and adjusting as you go!
Below are some ways I made the most of my 2m for these pants, instead of the required 2.3-2.6m!
I foled the selvage only in a far as required to fit the back pattern piece. I then realised that after I cut the back pieces out I could open up the fabric, lay it flat and I could fit the pocket pattern piece in the space where the crotch curve sits.
I then re-folded the selvage in only so far as required to fit the front pattern piece. (A lttle less than for the back piece!)
As my print is directional I had to piece the waistband from the bigger horizontal pieces that were available. I made sure to incorporate seam allowances to the pieces. I aligned one of the seams on the side seam notch and be aware of where the center front notch would sit on on the print.
I’m pretty happy with the pattern matching on Robaudo the Donkey wearing the yellow coat!
Once it was sewn:
I fit the second pocket piece into one of the bigger offcuts.
And squeezed the Left Waistband pattern piece into another scrap!
In the end only this little pile of scraps was left! And then I crossed my fingers I wouldn’t make a mistake that would require me to recut a pattern piece!
Make sure you’re cutting accurately. A few ml on one line, can mean it ends up on both sides of the garment if cut on the fold. If the cutting is off here and there, it can add up and affect the final fit of your garment!
Mark it up
Once your pieces are cut out, add all the markings and notches via your preferred method. I use a combination of tailor’s tacks, chalk, pen and cutting the notches depending on what is closest at hand!
I do like to use tailors tacks as you can mark both pattern pieces at once. Otherwise I also love using a standard FriXion pen which are erasable with water or heat (so don’t iron over the markings unless you want them to disappear!)
Tailor’s tacks take a fraction longer but they come in handy if you want to mark the same spot on two pattern pieces at once and have it show on both sides of your fabric. It also doesn’t rub off or fade, so if accuracy is what you are after tailor’s tacks may be the way to go.
Lay your pattern piece over the fabric and make sure it is properly aligned. Hand sew a loop through the three layers at the point you want to mark.
Push your threaded needle through the pattern paper and the two layers of fabric, bring it back up again and repeat to form the loop.
Leave long tails of thread on both ends.
You can then gently tear away the pattern piece.
Pull the two layers of fabric apart so you can snip the threads in between. Both layers will now be marked with thread in the correct spot!
Chalk, pen and cutting the notches is pretty self explanatory. My only note of caution is to keep the snips at the notches short, around 5mm so as not to go beyone the seam allowance!
And that’s it for day 1!! Congratulations!
The next step will be to sew the release tucks and darts! I’ll be going live on Instagram shortly so please join me. You can and ask any questions you have there, by sending me a message or by leaving a comment below.
Happy printing and cutting!
Don’t forget the extra special bonus! Not only will you have a brand new pair of pants at the end of this week – I’m also hosting a giveaway!!
To enter all you have to do is:
1. Follow me @indybindyco
2. Follow Megan @megannielsenpatterns
3. Comment on any of my Instagram posts this week letting us know you’re taking part in the sew along
4. Tag both of us in the caption of a post of your Flint pants (completed or in process!) The more posts you tag us in the more entries you get!
5. Be sure to include the hashtags #sewitwithindybindy and #mnflint so we can keep track of all the entries and see your gorgeous makes!!
Let’s start making those pants!!
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