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Fitting the Toile, Altering, Cutting and Layering – Introduction
At this point in the course, you should have some basic pattern making and sizing skills, which will help you at every stage of your career in the fashion industry. Before your garment can be duplicated for production, it needs to be turned into a sample for review.
Once you have mastered these steps, you can begin constructing your garment, which involves some basic sewing techniques.
As you continue to work your way through this topic, you will learn how to lay and cut your patterns and properly fit your garment for production.
Fitting the Toile and Altering the Pattern
After you have crafted the perfect design, it needs to be properly fitted before you can produce it.
Depending on the type of garment, there are several methods that you can use to do this.
For instance, bespoke clothing will be fitted on the customer in person. However, in high-end design stores, apparel is usually fitted on a mannequin stand.
Fitting the Toile
For the first fitting, a designer will produce what is referred to as a ‘toile’, which is a version of the garment made from cheaper fabric. The toile should be close in weight to the final fabric. Many designers use a cheap, lightweight, cotton fabric like calico that comes in a variety of weights.
Your toile should contain no fastenings, finished seams, or linings. Once the overall shape and proportion have been established at the first fitting stage, the designer can apply details like belt loops, pocket positioning, and collar size. If you do choose to add these details, you will mark them with a marker tape or marker pen.
When carrying out your first fitting, you should keep the following tips in mind:
Most of the toile should be sewn together with a large machine stitch. However, some pieces of your garment, like the sleeves, can be hand sewn.
Mark all the measurement lines that you will need with a pen or thread. These include centre, front, back, waist, hip, and elbow lines.
Pockets can be drawn directly onto the fitting, which makes it easier to find. If you are using pocket flaps, cut out the shapes of the sample fabric directly onto your fitting.
All darts or seams on your toile should be pressed and in the same order as your final garment.
After you have created your toile, you will make any necessary alterations, and it is then that more detailing is added. Once you are happy with the fit of the garment, you can cut out the final fabric, which will produce a shell fitting.
Your shell fitting offers you the ability to see how your final fabric works on the body. At this stage, the garment is at a very basic point in construction, the seams are not cleared up, and there is no lining. However, you should be able to see where any small revisions need to be made.
You might need to go through a few toile alterations before reaching a shape development that you are pleased with. Fittings can be time-consuming, but if you want to make a fitted and well-proportioned garment, it is important that you take the time to work through this step correctly.
Altering the Pattern
Alterations are a very important step in the design process that you should never ignore because a poorly fitted garment will not sell. If you have ever been on the receiving end of clothing that fits incorrectly, then you can probably attest to the importance of this step.
The alteration phase is tricky, and it may take you some time to learn the odds and ends of pattern corrections.
How you alter your garment will depend on the fitting, but you might change sleeve length, reposition the shoulder notch, or adjust the hemline on a skirt.
Cutting and Laying Your Pattern
After you are finished with your final alterations, you can begin laying and cutting your pattern.
If you take the time to cut and mark your fabric pieces before laying your pattern, it will guarantee a much more precise garment fit.
When you are cutting a pattern, it is important to consider the direction of the grain line. How you cut your garment will significantly impact how the fabric hangs on the body. You can cut along the grain line in one of three ways:
The most common method for cutting along the grain line is called the straight grain cut.
With this technique, the grain line of the pieces is parallel to the selvedge. Also, the yarn used for the warp is a stronger yarn than the yarn used for the weft.
With this technique, you will cut pattern pieces at a 90-degree angle along the selvedge. Most pieces cut using this method are decorative or complex.
Designers often choose the bias cut because it drapes beautifully on the body. A bias pattern is cut at a 45-degree angle on the selvedge and cross grain.
Preparing the Fabric
Before you cut out pattern pieces, you should carefully examine the fabric and be on the lookout for a few important elements. First, you should observe the textile fibres to see if the fabrics have any special care instructions.
For example, you should check to see if the material you are using requires pressing before you cut it.
To help you along the way, here are a few fabric preparation tips that you should keep in mind:
Cotton or linen fabrics that have not been treated should be pressed with steam to shrink and eliminate creases before cutting.
Pure wool fabrics will shrink, so you need to steam them with an iron prior to cutting.
The next thing you should consider in the preparation phases is if your fabric has a direction.
The direction of a fabric can go in one of two ways, a nap or an angle change.
A nap can be found on one or both sides of a fabric and are usually found in velvet, corduroy, brushed cotton, or fur materials. In this instance, you should cut your pattern in one direction only.
Alternatively, some fabrics have a colour change or a shine when they are viewed from a different angle.
Laying your Pattern
At this point in the process, you have your pattern pieces and grain line, so it is important that you piece them together correctly.
Once you have decided the direction to place your pattern in, you will lay the grain line parallel to the selvedge.
When you are cutting your pattern, you can follow one of several different layouts:
Double layout – The easiest cutting plan is the double layout, which is constructed with a one side pattern only and marked. The fabric is then folded in half with one side on the selvedge.
Single layout – With this layout, the whole or front of the pattern is copied and indicated with cutting instructions. This cutting plan is most often used when pattern pieces are asymmetric, or the fabric has a pattern.
Crossway layout – This cutting method is used with complex patterns or with shapes that will not fit in certain directions. The crossway layout folds a fabric crossways towards the selvedge on each side.
Marking the Pattern on the Fabric
After you have chosen your cutting plan, you can mark your pattern directly onto the fabric using tailor’s chalk. This process will mark your dart endings, pockets, and certain positions and helps avoid cutting your paper pattern when it comes time to cut your fabric.
Marking your fabric is an easy process, but you should be careful not to mark on the good side of the material.
If you don’t want to use chalk to mark your pattern, you can double thread into a sewing needle and sew your points into the fabric. This method, known as thread marking, is used on thin, delicate fabrics where tailor’s chalk will not show up.
Another method that is commonly used is laser and hole-punch marking, which is used in fashion design to meet mass production needs. With this marking technique, the end of the dart position is marked with a hole set inside of a dart so that it is not visible on the inside of the garment.