Sew the Giselle with me: Sticking and cutting

Hello lovelies! Welcome to day one of the Kate and Rose Giselle sew-with-us series. I’m Juliet: TMS editor, crazy gypsy and fabric hoarder. Today we’re getting into the bit I hate most – sticking together that pattern and cutting the fabric. So scurry your pets out of the room (my dog Buster loves to ‘help’ by acting like a pattern weight) and let’s get started.

First things first: printing. Don’t make the mistake that I did and print out all 54 pages (unless, of course, you want to) – page 4 of your instructions tells you what pages to print for what variation and pattern piece.

Even better, page 6 of the instructions includes dimensions for the skirt pieces, so you can get away without printing the skirt pattern pieces too – just a ruler, your fabric and a marking pen. But remember – measure twice, cut once; it’s no fun making a mistake.

If you can bullshit con someone into helping you stick together the pages, then take advantage of that. Don’t use a lot of tape – just a bit to tack it in place – because there will be somewhere that it’s off and wonky; the less tape holding it together, the easier it is to fix. Secure them down after they’re aligned.

Once you’ve got all your pattern pieces taped together, cut them out and recycle the scrap paper. Don’t do what I did and toss out a pattern piece with the scraps, because digging around in the bin is never a good look.


Now’s a good time to check the paper pattern for basic fit. Two things to note here: check your bust piece, check your skirt length.

  • The bust piece finishes somewhere around the middle of my boobs. So if you’re a larger cup or lower slung, I seriously recommend checking for placement. I lengthened my pattern piece from the bottom of the v neckline, right across to the underarm. This saved me from interfering with the armscye and the midriff curve. However, make sure that you adjust your bodice back length by the same amount to keep it all balanced and right, and bear in mind that this affects the depth of the v-neck.
  • The maxi skirt is on the petite side: I’m 5”2” (158cm) and the skirt was just long enough for me. If you’re taller, then add some length to the skirt pieces – better too long, so that you have to hem, than too short.

… is totally a legit pattern alteration…

I’m making my Giselle with some gorgeous floral cotton voile. It came from a fellow Wellington Sewing Blogger’s mother’s stash. I have no idea how old it is, but it does make me happy to look at. It’s a flimsy voile though, so I am underlining the bodice and lining the skirt with a poly-cotton that was lurking in my stash to give it opacity and stability.

Always ensure that you wash your fabric before sewing, and give it a quick iron before cutting to make it more compliant. To be honest, I ignore cutting layouts, but if you’re that sort of sewist (and no judgement here) the instructions offer loads of options for different fabric widths and sizes.

All laid out and ready for cutting!

The deal in my household is to pray (to whatever or whoever you so fancy) that you don’t stuff up before cutting – if nothing else, it gives you some confidence. Cut with nice, even and long strokes; we’re rowing a boat here, not sawing a piece of wood.

Shell and underlining pinned together and good to go

I pin my underlining to the fabric straight away – if you’re doing the same you can do this to keep all of the bits together. If not, fold them up, taking care not to handle them too much (we don’t want to stretch out that V-neckline) and join me tomorrow to assemble the bodice!






8 thoughts on “Sew the Giselle with me: Sticking and cutting

    • Maxi dresses and flower prints just work together, don’t they?? But yes, I just couldn’t wear the dress with the bust piece finishing around my nipple line (tmi? sorry).


  1. That’s interesting, I’ve lined mine completely differently. I can’t wait to see this made up though, that fabric is so pretty and very you! Oh and yes, I had a boob extension too 😉


Comments are closed.