Pattern Cutting for Dummies


 For those people who decide to take textiles or fashion at school and don’t get on with tradition pattern cutting techniques, aren’t willing to give up the time required, or have designed some beautiful fabric and spent all of there time on the print but have to show it on the body there are other options.

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One that was very very popular with people I went to uni with is Julian Roberts’s Subtraction Cutting, where he makes the most beautiful, unusual one off dresses you might ever see. Here is a link to a video of him explaining it:


However if you want something even more simple you could try this.

You will need:

You Will Need

  • At least 3 metres of fabric, the more the better (preferably material that drapes nicely),
  • A large flat surface,
  • Fabric scissors (NOT PAPER!),
  • Sketches or shapes,
  • Tailors chalk, or normal chalk, or a pencil, or a pen, or a promarker, use your imagination,
  • A sewing machine or needle and thread (if a certain someone is borrowing your machine, once again you know who you are), or if you are super super lazy and don’t know how to thread a needle; a hot glue gun,
  • Your phone, or camera to take pictures of each stage of the process, for extra credit and stuff,
  • Your favourite playlist on Spotify (optional),
  • And finally no more than two hours out of your day.



Fold your fabric in half, right sides together (and for people who don’t speak pattern cutting language, the right sides are the outside sides that you want to see in the end), then lay it flat on a surface (I am using my bed because I live in a tiny room and it’s my only option, but the floor is also a good bet).



Draw your shape or outline of your sketch onto the the fabric with your desired writing instrument. Mark four (for a dress or top) or five (for a playsuit or jumpsuit?) sections around the edge where you are not going to sew (or glue…). You know, for the head, arms and legs.



Cut your shape out, be careful to catch both layers of fabric but not your favourite blanket (which was from Primark for £5 in the sale, Zoella has the same!) and don’t cut yourself, it might make a mess.



Sew (or glue) around the edge, being sure to skip the sections you marked a minute ago.


Turn it the right way out and place it on a friend, or a mannequin if you don’t have any friends like me……. And if you have neither (that sucks) wear it yourself.

(I clearly did not use enough fabric for it to be a dress.)

If you were forward thinking and made all of the holes big enough, you could try it sooooo many ways, the possibilities are endless.


Don’t forget to finish off the seams (overlocking maybe) and hem the holes (I suggest binding).


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