Aligning and pinning sewing patterns in preparation for cutting them, can feel a bit perplexing for sewing beginners. At first glance, cutting your sewing patterns entails a lot of things to consider from how to fold you fabric to correctly aligning the patterns on grain and pinning them for optimal accuracy and comfort during the cutting process. Nevertheless, following these simple consecutive steps will enable you to cut your sewing patterns accurately regardless of type of pattern and fabric used:
1. The pattern's grainline is always aligned and pinned first. Aligning and pinning the grainline accurately in relation to the fabric's selvage edge will ensure that the whole pattern is perfectly aligned on grain prior to being fully pinned and cut. Use a ruler to measure from each end of the grainline to the selvage edge making sure the grainline is positioned at the same exact distance throughout. To save fabric, it is good practice to position the pattern as close to the selvage edge as possible.
2. Once the grainline is aligned and the pattern is secured on grain, pin the rest of the pattern edges within the seam allowance positioning the pins parallel to the pattern edges.
There are two main reasons why patterns are conventionally pinned within the seam allowance edges. The first has to do with ensuring that any damage or perforation the pin may leave behind will be enclosed on the side of the garment (within the seam allowance) and not affect the right side of the finished garment. The second, and equally important is that pinning sewing patterns along the edges keeps the paper pattern flatter and more secure during the cutting process. As a result, the pattern can be cut more accurately providing a comfortable cutting grip.
3. If working with cut on fold patterns, the cut on fold edge is aligned and pinned first. Since the fabric is naturally folded on grain with the selvage edge perfectly parallel to the fabric fold, it is not necessary in this case to pin and secure the grainline. The cut on fold edge and pre-folded fabric is sufficient to ensure the pattern is aligned/cut on grain. Once the fold edge is secured, you can pin the rest of the pattern edges within the seam allowance as described above.