If the fabric has a directional pattern, like the one I'm using, you must first decide which way is up. After making this decision, the next one will be to determine where to have the top edge of the drape hit on the pattern. Each panel needs to be cut identically so that the points of the print fall at the same height on every panel in a room.
I've drawn the above sketch to demonstrate these points.
Now to the actual cutting...the twelve yard length of fabric is laid out on the longest stretch of floor I have in my house. Doubled, there still isn't quite enough room...ah for an endlessly long cutting table!
(Panel One)Cutting Panel One: First I calculate the total length of each panel including the top and bottom hems. Then I mark this length on the fabric after determining where I want the top edge of the drape to hit within the pattern. The first cut is made 3 inches above that point, then I measure 110" down from the top, cutting the bottom edge of the panel. There was about two inches of extra fabric to cut off this first run. This panel will now be used as the guide to cut the remaining three panels.
(Panel Two)Cutting Panel Two: The first panel is turned over and laid on the next run of fabric, matching the registration points and checking the pattern to make certain it lines up accurately between the two layers. Luckily only about an inch needed to be cut off the second panel's bottom hem...yes, not much fabric waste. I may have just enough!
After I cut the bottom edge of the second panel I simply used the cut edge of the first panel as the guide to cut the top edge of this second panel.
Lining up the registration points make cutting identical panels much easier.
(Panel Three)Cutting Panel Three: Again I used the first panel to be the guide to cut this third panel.
The top layer is shifted up so that the registration points line up. Once this is done I cut the top and bottom edges, repeating the approach used to cut the previous panel. Are you following me, isn't this dry?
Cutting panel four: The first panel is laid on the last run of the fabric. After it is in place with the registration points lining up, the bottom and top hem cuts are made.
Relief, all the panels are cut identically with just enough extra fabric remaining to make a pillow.
Tomorrow, top hems...have I lost you yet, are you still there?