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How to Sew Your First Skirt and Understand Patterns

Lesson 5 of 13

Understanding Fabric Anatomy

Shaerie Mead

How to Sew Your First Skirt and Understand Patterns

Shaerie Mead

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Lesson Info

5. Understanding Fabric Anatomy


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
2 Pattern Envelope Overview Duration:06:12
3 Measuring Your Body Duration:02:13
4 Cutting out the Pattern Duration:03:44
5 Understanding Fabric Anatomy Duration:02:02
6 Cutting out the Fabric Duration:08:25
8 Gathering Skirt to Yoke Duration:11:18
9 Sewing Skirt to Yoke Duration:08:07
10 Sewing the Side Seams Duration:08:32
11 Hemming the Skirt Duration:11:03
12 Creating the Casing Duration:06:50

Lesson Info

Understanding Fabric Anatomy

So now that we've cut our pattern pieces out, it's time to take a look at our layout, to see how we're going to put them on our fabric, to cut them out, to make the right size fabric pieces in order to do that, however, we're going to need to learn a little bit about fabric anatomy, so I have a handy chart right here, some fabric that has thes terms written right on it, so I can explain when fabric is woven, there are the long threads of the fabric that go from one end of the loom to the other end of the loom, and those air pulled really, really tightly on the loom. The cross grain threads are the threads that go back and forth to weave the fabric. So, first of all, when you're cutting out patterns that are going to be made into garments, you need to know that on this stage on this length of green there's, not a lot of stretch to this fabric, those threads have already been pulled really tightly on the loom. There is, however, a lot of stretch for a woven fabric on this direction, the ...

cross screen that's because those threads weren't pulled quite as tightly as they were going back and forth. So the length of grain is the long threads, and across grain are the threads that go back and forced to leave the fabric as the threads of wrap around and go in the other direction. They create what's called the salvage edge, right here, the woven edge to the fabric. And once the fabric is woven, it's folded in half, so the to salvage edges air together. That creates the fold edge down here, so the fabric is then wrapped up on a bolt and shipped to a fabric store. And when you purchase it, the fabric is unrolled, and they cut off just how much you need. That creates the cut edge, and you can see that the cut edge phrase so that's what all of these little fuzzies are but the selvage edger, the woven edge is going to be the smooth edge that doesn't fray. These are the terms that you need to know to lay your pattern out correctly on your fabric.

Class Description

You don’t have to start with pillows! Learn sewing basics while making something you’ll be proud of with The Easiest Skirt. In this class, Shaerie Mead of Sew L.A. teaches sewing essentials while showing you how to make a skirt you’ll be stoked to wear.

The Easiest Skirt is a perfect entry point for working with patterns. Shaerie will take you step-by-step through the prepping, cutting, and stitching processes. You’ll learn about: 

  • Cutting, folding, notching, and pinning the pattern
  • Gathering skirt to yoke
  • Sewing and hemming
  • Creating a casing and inserting elastic
Shaerie will teach you how to read a pattern, what to do while gathering, and when to baste. You’ll learn how to make a timeless skirt that doesn’t take a lot of material or time to make.

If you want to skip the dull stuff and get your start at sewing clothes, join Shaerie Mead in The Easiest Skirt.



The course was as clean and precise as her sewing. I haven't sewn for some time, but the techniques Shaerie taught will serve me well. Thanks~


Shaerie is an exceptionally clear and focused teacher. She points out essential steps for beginner sewers and doesn't get caught up with extraneous details.

Melissa Fritzsche

Wondering if there's any way to still get this pattern. Thanks!