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Cutting and Prep


We’ve made it through all our fit adjustments and it’s time to get into the fun stuff. This post will cover cutting out your Phoebe, transferring pattern marks and staystitching.

Be sure that you’re happy with the fit of your muslin before you slice into your fashion fabric. Also, don’t forget to pretreat both your main and lining fabrics!

Cut it out

First, fold your fabric in half selvage to selvage. It’s very important that you fold your fabric on grain, meaning the threads aren’t crooked across the fold. If you fold fabric off grain, the bottom edge will look funky and there will be diagonal lines in the fabric:


Slide the layers back and forth until the fabric relaxes and the bottom fold is nice and flat:


It’s ok if your cut edges don’t line up.

Now, follow the cutting layouts on pages 5-10 of your instructions to lay out your pattern pieces.

Important: The cutting layouts are for non-directional fabrics. If you have a directional print or a napped fabric like corduroy, make sure all your pattern pieces are going the same direction. An easy way to tell is that the text on the pattern pieces should all facing the same way.

All grainlines should be parallel to the selvage.


Pin or use pattern weights, and cut out your main and lining fabrics.

Tip: If the right and wrong sides of your fabric look similar or identical, pick one of the other as the right side and stay consistent. As you cut, mark a small “ws” on the wrong side of every piece so you don’t get mixed up later.

transfer marks

You will find notches along the edges of your pattern pieces, which will help align edges later. Snip out all the notches very carefully, using only the tip of your scissors to prevent a cutting mistake.


For pieces cut on the fold, I also like to snip a small notch on the edge right on the fold so it’s obvious where the center is.

To transfer buttons and zipper mark (on skirt back), stick a pin through the center of the circle through all layers.


Then use the pin placement to transfer mark. An “x” is more accurate than a dot, and will help prevent future “where-is-the-center-of-this-blob” moments.


Mark the buttons on the right side of the fabric and the zipper stop on the wrong side.

To transfer the darts, first make very small snips in the end of each dart leg for your size. We’re talking like 1/8″-1/4″, just enough to see.


Now stick a pin through all layers at the dart point.


Without dislodging the pin, open the fabric and mark the dart point on both wrong sides.


Unpin everything and use a ruler to draw your dart legs from dart point to snips.




Staystitching is a preparatory step that reinforces curved edges and prevent them from stretching out. It won’t be visible in the final garment.


To staystitch, set your stitch length to 2.0 and use a seam allowance that is slightly smaller than the garment seam allowance. Since our garment seam allowance is 5/8″, you can staystitch at 1/2″. You will just be sewing through a single layer of fabric.

Both Versions

Note: The gold fabric is Version 1, and the flowered fabric is Version 2.

1) Staystitch neckline. Staystitch the neckline edges of your center front and center back.


2) Staystitch armscyes. Staystitch the curved armscye edges of your side front and side back.


That’s it for this week! We’ll be back on Tuesday to tackle darts, princess seams and shoulder seams.

The Phoebe Sewalong

  1. Welcome to the Phoebe Sewalong! (25 Comments)
  2. Gather Fabric and Supplies (32 Comments)
  3. Basic Fitting Guidelines (19 Comments)
  4. Bust Adjustments – Sizes 0-16 (6 Comments)
  5. Bust Adjustments – Sizes 18-26 (8 Comments)
  6. Shoulder Adjustments
  7. Cutting and Prep (5 Comments)
  8. Darts, Princess Seams, Shoulder Seams (7 Comments)
  9. Attaching Bodice Lining and Skirt – Version 1
  10. Attaching Bodice Lining and Skirt – Version 2 (5 Comments)
  11. Insert the Zipper (4 Comments)
  12. Buttons and Hem
  13. Your Phoebes!


Karen Troyer

When you stay stitch do you start at the center front and go up to the shoulder or start at shoulder and go to center and where do you start on the arms?

When you stay stitch the neckline, you can go from shoulder in to center front. For the arms, go from shoulder to side seam.


Should we staystich the bodice lining pieces as well?

Yes, you can! If I am using a very stable lining, like a cotton lawn, I usually skip it, as the stay stitching on the exterior acts as enough of a stabilizer. But if your lining is extra fragile then the stay stitching will help it not stretch out as you work with it. And in either case it doesn’t hurt!

Dana Tougas

Love the flowered fabric!