How Do You Notch?

5 Jan

I took the first step last night and cut out my coat pattern pieces – all 21 of them! Coating, lining & interfacing – I basically cut the coat out three times. The coating & interfacing were fine the way they are, but cutting the Bemberg rayon took a little bit of finesse – I used Sunni’s brilliant tutorial for cutting slippery fabrics and used silk pins for the first time. My tip if you want to try this – pin the slippery fabric to the muslin first (especially if you have the slippery fabric doubled) and when you pin your pattern pieces down, give the pins some extra breathing room and put them at least 1/2″ from the edge of the tissue. It may pull you out of the seam allowance (hence why I used such fine pins), but it does make it easier to wedge those scissors in there! And no jagged edges! Yay!

I noticed this while I was cutting out my pieces:
wait, people really do this?
I actually see this a LOT when using vintage patterns (and wearing vintage handmade stuff) – people who go the extra mile and give those notches a proper space to call their own. I remember my mom doing this on the clothes she made for me, and I always thought it was such a fiddly extra step. Cutting out fabric is obnoxious enough without having to maneuver around the table to cut some tiny extra pieces with the tips of your shears.

Here’s how I handle the situation:
snipping off notches
I cut the triangles off entirely & notch directly into the seam allowance. It’s quick, painless, and efficient.

And it gives me a good excuse to use my tailor snips, a Christmas present from Landon:
tailor snips!
(Seriously, he is the best! I AM NOT WORTHY)

Now seems like an appropriate time to introduce you to my Gingher Family:
my gingher family :3
8″ knife-blade shears, pinking shears, applique scissors, and the new tailor snips.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand – how do you handle your notches? Do you cut out the entire triangle, or just snip a little snip? Or do you do something else? Is there any benefit to leaving such a giant piece flapping around the notch? Should I stop cutting (hahahahaaaa see what I did there?) corners?

In other blog-land news, I was nominated for the Versitale Blogger Award by miss Joanne and given this cute button to share!

Now I’m supposed to tell you seven things you don’t know about me. Let’s see…
– My last name is Taylor! Every so often, I’ll have a friend make the connection and get really excited about their epiphany.
– I got the bird tattoo before I got the name. I am not really sure what to tell you about the second L. I wanted it to be like Lloyd, the silent L that makes for confusing pronunciation.
– I love obsolete electronics & I collect bits & pieces when I can. My favorites are computers/game systems and cell phones.
– I was homeschooled from third grade until graduation. This REALLY confuses people when I tell them, because apparently I don’t “act homeschooled.” Well all right, then!
– In addition to Nashville (my hometown & forever Lover), I have also lived in New Orleans & Pittsburgh. I left New Orleans because a bitch named Katrina kicked me out 😦 I left Pittsburgh because it was a terrible idea. The cold & I do not get along.
Johnny Paycheck serenaded me on Lower Broadway in front of a bunch of tourists shortly before he died. I told him to bugger off & he thought it was the most hysterical thing ever. I didn’t find out who he was until years later – I thought he was some rando tourist just being an ass.
– I have pretty bad TMJ, so my jaw pops every time I open it all the way. My dentist finds this hilarious.

Now I am supposed to nominate some people for being my new favorites of awesome, so I pick Molly and Oona. I would nominate more but it looks like Joanne already jumped on the others I was going to pick. Boo!

Okay, back to cutting! I have a shirt muslin that requires my complete & undivided attention.


30 Responses to “How Do You Notch?”

  1. Hannah Jean January 5, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    I just have to say, I always pronouced your blog “La-ladybird” like it was singing or something (think va-va-voom). My bad.

    Oh, and I learned to notch triangles outside the fabric from my mom, but it is difficult to maneuver and I doubt i’m getting it accurate enough. I think I should switching to snips in the SA, but they’re just so hard to find!

    • LLADYBIRD January 5, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      Haha don’t worry – I’m sure you’re not the only only who pronounces it that way! Clearly I did not consider the consequences when choosing the name πŸ˜›

  2. Louise January 5, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    Now being welsh I approach your name completely differently, in welsh there is a sound Ll which sounds a bit like lch so I think of you are Lchadybird! Also I snip the snip and cut a notch, I used to cut the triangle but my cutting skills weren’t accurate enough so it never actually worked, then I saw someone on a blog (Sewaholic?) snip and cut and notch and it was like a relation, now all my marks line up!

  3. maggie January 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    When I first learned sewing and then all through highschool sewing classes, I was taught to cut around the triangles, and that snipping into the seam allowance was poor form. So for about 20 years I cut around those little triangles, always the worst part of cutting out a pattern. In the past year or so I read a blog post (can’t remember who) about snipping instead of cutting around, so I started doing what I always had the urge to do, and wouldn’t you know it, my garment wasn’t ruined by it! For some reason I needed some external voice to tell me it was ok to do. I find it’s actually a more accurate method. The only time I might use triangles would be if I was working with narrow seam allowances or had fabric that frayed easily.

  4. Judith January 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    I’m a ‘chop-it’ type of sewer – straight through with the scissors, get that triangle out of my way. My mum was old school and meticulously cut ever-so-neatly around the little suckers, matching them up to their little sole mates in the seams. But I figure if the over-locker knocks them off then so should I. So notching them in it is …

    • LLADYBIRD January 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

      Good point! Overlocker trumps all :B

  5. Amanda January 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    I am still in the early stages of my sewing journey so have been marking in my notches with a pen like a chump. You know, it’s never really clicked that the allowance does indeed get trimmed off so I should just notch in. And this is why I have started reading sewing blogs… bwah ha ha!

    • LLADYBIRD January 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

      I sometimes mark my notches with a pen if I’m working with fabric that frays easily or has a teeny seam allowance. You just gotta find out what works best for you!

  6. zilredloh January 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    I used to cut out all of my notches into the seam allowance like triangles and my mom cuts hers outwards. I found that when I serge is nearly impossible to decipher the triangles anyhow so I just started doing snips in the point of the triangle. πŸ™‚

  7. Heather January 5, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    The first time I ever cut out a pattern, I notched into the seam allowance because I assumed that’s what I was supposed to do. Then later, I cried because I thought I had ruined the garment and done something terribly wrong my notching in instead of cutting around the triangles. Now, I’m over it and I notch inside. The trials of a beginner….

  8. kittysdrawings January 5, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    I mark them with a pen….if the fabric is one you can mark properly…Sometimes I snip in if its a dark fabric but I havent used anything dark in while.

  9. Jane January 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    I was cutting out the triangles lazily until I realized that my triangles didn’t end up the same size… so I started cutting into the seam allowance. I also used to forget a lot and chop off the triangles anyway haha.

  10. Rachel January 5, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    I usually just snip in at the point of the triangle. If the seam allowance is 5/8″ and i make a small snip i figure it doesn’t make a difference. As with you, if it’s a smaller SA or a fray-y fabric I mark with a pen or chalk. I’ve never cut notches sticking outwards.

  11. Kimberly January 5, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    totally in love with your gingher collection…
    I tend to do the snip for the notches unless it’s a fray-crazy fabric and then I tend to do the full on either out or in notch just to be sure it doesn’t fray so much I lose sight of where the notch was. even then, sometimes I skip cutting the notch at all and mark it either with transfer paper/ marking pencil/tailors’ chalk or sometimes a tiny stitch of thread.
    is it weird that I had kindof assumed the lloyd thing for the Ll?

  12. didyoumakethat January 6, 2012 at 4:14 am #

    I am really jealous of that scissor collection!

    • LLADYBIRD January 6, 2012 at 9:00 am #

      Not gonna lie – it took me a couple of years to get up to 4 pairs! Ginghers are so expensive! But worth it – especially right after you get them freshly sharpened πŸ˜€

  13. Gabrielle January 6, 2012 at 5:34 am #

    I’ve done a bit of both but lately am going with notches sticking out because sometimes I need the extra seam width when I’m wider than I thought (I don’t have a serger) :-).

  14. ReadyThreadSew January 6, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    I’m another snipper. Any pattern marking that can possible be marked with a snip – I snip. Ends of darts, dots on BurdaStyle patterns for ease, ends of zips, etc – snip, snip, snip.

    Another useful thing I’ve discovered recently for marking. If you have short pleat lines to mark, the long, flat flower headed pins are brilliant because the flower heads will fold flat against each other. No need to trace the pleat line – just one pin along each, then fold them in the right direction until one flower lays over the other and pin the pleat.

  15. Laura January 6, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    Another snipper! I’m with the others, in school and at home I was taught to cut those notches outward, going around them carefully. About 10 years ago though my inner voices from those that taught me to sew finally got shut off! I did what I wanted for so long – I just cut straight through those notches, then snip into the notch/seam allowance. Never had a problem with fraying, even on the 1/4″ seam allowance – but if I’m using a fraying fabric with 1/4″ seam allowance I’m using a serger too, so it takes care of all my little snip-fray problems πŸ˜€

  16. fingers.chopsticks and bobbins January 6, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    well….i have only been sewing for five months & only just in november starting using clothing patterns. i had used a bib pattern but it didn’t have notches or if it did i didn’t realize what they were. that sounds more like it. so i do exactly how i learned in a recent class & snip into the notches. so far so good. my v’s have matched up with all three things i’ve made yo! yeehaw! *gina*

  17. oonaballoona January 6, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    pen all the way! then if i overlock the inner snip doesn’t get in the way.

    thanks for the award mama!!! does it come with a pair of scissors? i need the little ones.

  18. anotheryarn January 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    I learned to cut notches outward, then noticed that recent patterns had them printed inward. A sewing teacher told me that the practice (both cutting and printing) changed sometime in the late 90’s.

    • Anonymous January 7, 2012 at 1:43 am #

      That is really interesting!! I always cut the triangles inward, but then my mom couldnt believe I was doing it that way. It was funny to me bc my mom is definitely not anal about most things like that – but she obviously had a teacher who stressed that one thing at least πŸ™‚

  19. Trice January 6, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    I have my notches out most of the time. My teacher tells us to do it that way in case we have less seam allowance than we thought. We just do tissue fitting, followed by a fabric pin fitting, so it’s safe to notch out.
    However for burdastyle pattern I do the tiniest snips with tailor tacks.

  20. Clarissa January 7, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    I mark with a chalk pen. That way on delicate fabric there’s no fraying. My mother in law uses tailor’s tacks. I wish I was that patient. I’m always thinking that I should notch out, but when it comes down to it I never do.

  21. Holly January 8, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    I clip a tiny bit just where the marking is, inside the seam allowance. I feel like ot the most effective way to line things up without messing up the fabric. Plus, its the way my mother taught me, so I have to. πŸ™‚ Also, as someone who was homeschooled as well,I get the same reaction. I think the general misconception is that homeschoolers come from some weird cult, and we have no social skills. Ha!

  22. Taylor January 8, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    I may be the only person who does this, but I always cut my notches outward. I made this decision when I began doing a lot of non-serged seam finishes. With a notch cut into the seam allowance, bias bound edges, french seams, and especially flat felled become somewhat problematic (you can still do them, but it looks messy). Occasionally, I will mark the fabric instead of notching or use a tailor’s tack type basting.

    It can be a pain to cut them outward, but having the option of a nice seam finish is worth the extra effort. πŸ™‚

  23. neeno January 11, 2012 at 4:23 am #

    I was taught by my sewing teaching to cut the notches outwards… it is difficult sometimes to get them accurate!! After reading this post, I might start cutting them inwards! My SA is usually 5/8″ (1.5cm) anyway.


  1. Stitching Spotlights – 1/6/2012 - January 6, 2012

    […] my eye: Lauren posted about notching and the way she does it, which is the way I do it too – How Do You Notch? I, for one, am considering this “Vintage-Inspired, Modern Style Design Challenge” hosted […]

  2. Fabric markings: I’ll show you mine if you show me yours « Stitch and Witter - January 18, 2012

    […] asked her readers how they notch their fabric recently and there was a lot of interesting feedback – quite a few people actually do cut […]

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