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Couture Methods for Marking Fabric

Video: Jeff Roos, Cari Delahanty Technical Editor: by Carol Fresia

Claire B. Shaeffer, a couture sewing expert and frequent contributor to Threads magazine, shares techniques for accurately transferring seamlines and pattern markings to fashion fabric in preparation for sewing. In couture construction, you match seamlines rather than cut edges, so it’s essential to mark these lines on the fabric.

Thread-trace the seamlines

Use a basting stitch for this step. There are two approaches to accurately tracing the lines. One is to baste around the pattern, the other is transfer the lines with dressmaker’s carbon first.

Thread-trace around the pattern

First, draw the seamlines and hemlines on the pattern tissue. Claire shows two ways to measure and mark these lines with precision. Next, trim off the seam and hem allowances. The pattern’s outer edge now represents the seam and finished hemlines. Pin or weight the patterns to the fabric, aligning the grainline along the fabric’s grain. Baste around the edges.

Carbon-trace the lines

This method works especially well if you’re working from a fitting muslin, which includes seam allowances. Mount white carbon on a large sheet of foam-core board. (Only white carbon paper is safe; other colors can never be completely removed from the fabric.) Place the fabric wrong side down on the paper and lay the muslin garment section on top, with grainlines aligned. With a pin-point tracing wheel, trace along the seamlines that are marked on the muslin. Once the lines and all notches are marked, thread-trace along them, so they are visible on the right and wrong sides of the fabric.

Special techniques

Learn how to baste a grainline without marking the fabric first; how to mark notches; and how to baste seamline intersections so you have a clear mark at the corner. Each of these steps improves your results as you proceed…


About This Video Series

This video series features three hours of insider tips and secrets for creating high-end couture garments and home accessories. See an expert at work as Claire Shaeffer illustrates the basic techniques that take sewing to the next level -- from hand sewing and machine stitching to marking methods, pressing, and hemming.

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