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Topic: noob question about seam allowances, cutting my pattern, shortening the pattern  (Read 661 times)
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« on: April 24, 2009 02:21:33 PM »

I have McCall's pattern #4979 (yay for jammies!) and would like to cut out my pattern tonight.  I noticed in the directions it says the seam allowance is " 5/8 inches (1.5cm) included unless otherwise indicated, but not printed on tissue."

Okay I understand since this is a multisized pattern, things could  get pretty messy and confusing if they included the seam allowances for each size on the paper.........

OKAY question #1:  I know it's pretty much spelled out for me above, but that means that when I cut my pattern, the pattern I am cutting already has an extra 5/8 inch on each side to account for the seam allowance right?!

question #2:  And I assume those handy little lines on my needle plate of my sewing machine are hopefully for common seam allowances, mine has lines but no #'s by the lines so I will need to check the distance from the needle to the line and mark with tape (unless the engraved line is correct) where 5/8 is Huh

question #3:  I know the jammies are going to be too long for me as I am only 5'2.  On the pattern there are 2 places where I can shorten the pattern -- above the crotch and below the knee.  Since this will be my 1st project, do you recommend that I just hem up the excess pant bottom when I'm "done" sewing the jammies OR is it best to actually shorten/alter the pattern before I lay the pattern on my fabric to cut?  The pattern envelope does give information on the back for the finished garment measurements, and says the side length from the waist for the pants wil be 42 inches, and I'm about 34 inches for length from my waist to below my ankle.

Thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: April 24, 2009 02:30:52 PM by bookwormbethie » THIS ROCKS   Logged

« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2009 05:46:05 PM »

Q. 1 YES
Q. 2 the most common lines marked are 1/2, 5/8 and 3/4 inch away from the needle (or the centimeter equivalent).  You could go by this, or actually measure to see how far apart the lines on your machine are.
Q. 3 for the first try, just make them as is, then if you need to hem a lot or have a drastic adjustment to the crotch area, then that will tell you what you will have to do.  Since you haven't made the pattern before, then there isn't a good way to know how it will fit.  If you aren't sure about cutting into the fabric you intended the pj's to be made from, then use scrap fabric to see what the finished product looks like.  Make the adjustments on the scrap ones, then apply the adjustments to the "actual" pj's.

« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2009 08:16:45 PM »

#2:  Have you checked both sides of your needle plate? It may have metric on one side of the presser foot and imperial (inches) on the other. If not, you'll have to measure.

#3: It's not that hard to shorten pants on the pattern before you sew, and it's a good habit to get into. The two different areas are for two different parts of your body (seat area/legs) that may be shorter than the pattern. You can either measure and compare before you cut, or you can make them and then adjust. Doing it he first way will give you a better looking finished product, but the second way will give you a more accurate fitting.

Ideally, you would make a practice (muslin) mock up, adjust that, and transfer it back to the pattern. The reason pants are supposed to be shortened in the middle and not at the bottom is because the bottom is usually shaped in a particular way.

Of course, they're just jammies Cheesy so maybe they're just two tubes. In that case, taking them up from the bottom will give the same results.
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2009 08:32:22 PM »

What I tell everyone when the can't figure out where the 5/8" line is on their needle plate. Get out your ruler or other measuring device and measure from where the needle is (when the needle is in the center position) and see which line is 5/8".

They are pajama pants so it doesn't really matter how you shorten them. Again, what I have people do is make your pants, don't hem them and don't make a casing in the top. Put on your pants and get some elastic. Fit the elastic to your waist over the pajama pants, pull your pants up to where you want them and mark, this way you know where the top of your pants will be and the crotch won't be too long. (I use a pattern once where if I just finished the top the crotch would be so long you would be wearing the pants at your ribcage.) And mark the hem. While they do have "lengthen/shorten" lines, for pajama pants the wearing them method is easier. Now, if you had to greatly "lengthen/shorten" them then you could use this pair that you made to make the alteration notes on the pattern so that next time you make this pattern for yourself you could just cut, sew, finish and wear.


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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2009 03:20:24 PM »

thank you all for your long and helpful replies!  so kind of you to share your expertise!!

i cut my fabric today with the pattern, so excited!  i took such a long time because i studied the pattern, took my measurements again to determine my proper size, took lots of deep breaths Wink and took breaks between each litlte step so i could make sure what i was doing was right and think about what i planned to do next, i didn't want to rush anything.  i'm sure my next pair of pants will go much quicker as i gain skills & confidence

i did end up "shortening" the pants 2.75 inches where the shortening line was below the knee as I am only 5'2" and know i will still need to hem up the bottom a bit too. 

i left the crotch (ugh i hate that word!) area alone and did not shorten anything there (even though i could) as i figure worse case scenario is i'll have mc hammer long crotch baggie pants!

tomorrow i will sew hurrah and i'll be sure to update this post with a linkie to my project photos!

p.s.  desm88, haven't checked both sides of my needleplate, will do that now, it will be so freakin' awesome if the lines are on the other side, if not, like hoxierice suggested, i will just make a masking tape line 5/8" away from the neelde

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