The thrill of the first cut

photo and print credit: Jeff Peachey, "measure twice, cut once" 2010

Making the first cut on a piece of fabric is one of the most exciting parts of a sewing project.

It is specially so when you have a finite amount of material availabe to upcycle and an awesome project in mind. This is probably because it marks that point in time when you have commited to the project. To me, it feels almost like a leap of faith; like a show of trust on myself as a craft[wo]man.
Now, if you have found yourself apprehensive about the commitment, here are some of the things that I have learned so far which may help you out:
- The butterflies in your stomach as your scissors are about to make the first cut on the fabric will never-ever go away. Why? Because it is exciting and your body is letting you know that you are full of joy. Just relax, breath and start to cut!

photo credit: Krusheska Quiros

- When in doubt, measure one more time before you start cutting. Ever heard the saying "measure twice, cut once"? There is a lot of practical truth to that saying and even a book with it as its title (a carpentry book).
- Mark the fabric one day and cut it the next. This does not necessarily apply if you are using some one else's pattern. If that is the case, by all means, cut away the same day! However, if the pattern is your own and you have drafted the whole thing for a "one-of-a-kind" project, trust me, give your brain a day to process the draft and to correct any evident flaws prior to cutting the fabric.

photo credit: Krusheska Quiros

-Be flexible yet have a plan. Do-it-yourself/one-of-a-kind projects have a really awesome way to challenge us specially when it comes to problem solving.
Quick problem solving excercise:  
You have commited to a project involving sewing a bag. After cutting all of the fabric for it, you realize that when measuring and marking the fabric, you did not take the fold for the seams into account (i.e., you cut the fabric to the actual dimensions of the bag). What do you do?
. . . . .
Ok, so first you take a deep breath and hold a staff meeting with yourself. Then, you may perhaps come up with these two quick options: (1) just get used to the fact that your bag will be a bit smaller or (2) use a ribbon to join the layers without having to fold them. Breath again and keep on sewing.

photo credit: Krusheska Quiros

The most important thing is to have fun with your projects. Enjoy the butterflies of excitement and share with us your experiences while making your upcycled one-of-a-kind crafts.
* Note: You can purchase the "measure twice cut once" print from Jeff Peachey's website.

Originally published 5/1/13

Sign Up For the Monthly Newsletter

Full of DIY Tutorials. Design Tips. And More, but never spam