Pre-Wash Your Fabric
First things first, pre-wash your fabric. If you’re like me you probably can’t wait to get cutting and sewing, but there is nothing so tragic as a shrunken me-made garment. And shorts can be especially uncomfortable if they’re too small.
Tile Your Pattern
While your fabric is pre-washing we do have plenty to keep us busy because the Tap Shorts PDF needs to be tiled and cut. In this tutorial I will be assembling view A, but the process is the same for all three views. When printing your pattern be sure to turn off all scaling on your printer so the pattern pieces print at the correct size. Open the view you wish to make and print off the first page only.
You will notice a test square in the top left corner. Check that the square is 4 inches by 4 inches (10.2 cm by 10.2 cm). If your test square is a different size you’ll need to dig around in your printer settings to turn off any scaling. If your test square is the correct size print the rest of your pattern PDF.
Now it’s time to tile your pattern. You’ll notice that the pattern instructions come with a tiling layout for each view. Please reference this diagram if you find it helpful, but honestly I rarely need them. Fold or cut each tile along one long side and one short side of the tile frame. Every tile includes placement triangles along the frame lines and each of these triangles aligns with a placement triangle on a neighboring tile. Simply match triangle 1A to 1A and 2A to 2A etc. Tape tiles together along frame lines.
Your pattern will look a little something like this when you finish. I think you will find this process intuitive, but if you’d like to check out additional tiling tutorials I recommend Tilly and the Button’s tutorial or Marie’s on craftsy.
Selecting a Size
With the pattern assembled it is time to select a size. You’ll want to be in your underwear or very tight-fitting clothing for this part. Measure your natural waist and fullest part of your hip. Consult the Body Measurements section of the sizing chart to determine your size. If you fall between sizes cut the larger size (say your waist is 31 inches and your hip 41 inches you will cut a size 10).
Do your measurements fall in two different sizes? Not to worry, it is quite simple to tailor the pattern just for you. As an example lets say your waist measures 30 inches and your hip measures 38 inches. You’ll find that this waist measurement falls between size 6 and 8 on the sizing chart so you would select 8 for the waist size. The 38 inch hip measurement falls into size 6 so this will be the hip size. Now we simply need to grade between sizes or draw a new line connecting size 8 to size 6 between the waist and hip. I’ve used a hip curve to connect size 8 and 6 along the side seam, but you can easily do this free hand as well. The side seam notch is at hip level so it is a good target when grading between sizes.
Because of the way we nested this pattern only the side seam needs to be graded on front pattern pieces (pattern piece 2 for view A, pattern piece 8 for view B, and pattern piece 9 for view C) You might get a little confused when cutting the front out for view A since it is divided into two pattern pieces. When cutting or tracing a graded pattern piece 1 (for view A) cut the inseam, hem, and angled edge along the hip size (size 6 in this example) however when you reach the waist (top) edge cut along the waist size (size 8 in this example). When cutting or tracing graded pattern piece 2 (again for view A) cut the waist (top) edge along waist size (size 8). The side seam will be cut along the newly graded edge (connecting size 8 and 6) and the angled edge will be cut along the hip size (size 6).
Back pattern piece 3 is the same for all views. When grading this pattern piece between sizes you will need to grade both the center back and side seams. Again I’ve graded this pattern piece between size 8 at the waist and size 6 at the hip.
Now that you have a size selected or graded it is time to cut or trace your pattern pieces. My natural state is lazy so I’ve cut out my pattern pieces for this tutorial.
Cutting Your Fabric
Hopefully your fabric is finished pre-washing because it is time to start cutting. Fold your fabric in half matching selvage to selvage.
Woven fabrics contain both warp and weft yarns. Warp yarns run parallel to the selvage and are also known as the straight of grain. Weft yarns run perpendicular to the fabric selvage and are often referred to as the crossgrain. Why do you care? The orientation of these fibers in relation to your pattern pieces will affect the drape of your garment and for this reason the grainline is indicate on each pattern piece. (If I’ve piqued your interest you can read more about grainlines and fibers here and here.)
Lay your pattern pieces on your folded fabric according to the cutting layout. You will need to line up the grainlines on your pattern pieces with the warp yarns in your fabric. This is very easy to do with a ruler. The selvage and fold run parallel to the warp fibers so line up both the selvage (or fold) and grainline to markings on your ruler. If your ruler isn’t clear like mine just measure the distance between the grainline and selvage at several points and make sure the distance remains the same.
Pay attention to pattern pieces that are cut on the fold. In the case of this pattern that would be front waistband piece 4 and back waistband piece 5. You will need to cut out these pattern pieces twice so that you have two front waistbands and two back waistbands in your fabric.
As a bit of an aside I thought it would be worth pointing out that some printed and nape fabrics are directional. This means that all the pattern pieces must be facing the same direction and cut so that the print runs correctly when worn. The Tap Shorts cutting layout included in the instructions is designed for a directional print in that all the pattern pieces are placed in the same direction.
If you are using a solid or non-directional print pattern pieces can be cut in different directions which will often save fabric. However don’t forget your grainlines, they still apply.
Once your pieces are arranged cut your fabric. If you’re using scissors you will need to pin your pattern to the fabric, since I’m using a rotary cutter and self-healing mat I’ve chosen to use canned food as pattern weights. Classy!
For notches I simply make a snip in the seam allowance to mark their placements. Make sure you don’t cut in beyond the seam allowance (5/8 inch) or you’ll have a hole in your finished garment.
For darts make a snip at the top or each dart leg much like we did for notches. Poke a hole in your pattern piece at the dart point so it can be marked with tailors chalk. Then it is simply a matter of using a ruler to connect your dart point to the ends of the dart legs marked with snips.
You’ll also want to use tailor’s chalk to transfer other pattern marking such as the zipper placement which is indicated with an open circle on both front and back pattern pieces in view A and B.
Finally cut your interfacing. Again front and back waistband pieces (4 and 5) need to be cut on the fold.
And that’s it for today! Check back Wednesday when we start sewing front A and B.