Subtraction Cutting

Ossu guys! Second week’s project is the subtraction cutting! For those of you who don’t know what subtraction cutting is, subtraction cutting is a method of hollow construction developed and taught by fashion designer Julian Roberts, you can explore more about it through this link.

The founder of subtraction cutting method, Julian Roberts.

Subtraction cutting is an experimental way of making a garment, in short you won’t know what you will end up with by using this method. It might look good and it might not. The method itself are quite simple, there are no exact rules for it, you can use whatever kind of fabric that you want, but keep in mind how the fabric will drape.


For this project, I did 3 garments using the subtraction cutting method. Every fabric are different fabrics with different colours, for the first experiment I use printed stretch cotton and regular cotton, the second one were stretch jerseys of different thickness, and the final one were jacquard and jersey.



To explain to you guys a bit more about how to do subtraction cutting, I’ll start with the first experiment. I sew the length of the two fabrics together, after that I trace the front and back of a bodice pattern on top of the huge fabric. The next step is to connect the side seams however I want. And this is what I end up with.20160712_135631

This will be the negative pattern when I want to make another subtraction cutting garment, I will just trace and cut with this pattern.

The second step is to sew the side seams together, and I get a dress that looks like this.

The next step is to place two circles that is then cut out and sewn together. Resulting in this.

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There is many ways I can play with the drape but after showing it to my lecturer, I realised that I have made a mistake in how I sew the circles together. It was suppose to form a kind of tunnel that goes inside the garment, where my tunnel is on the outside. But as I said, there are no rules in subtraction cutting so sewing the wrong way actually makes it more interesting.

The second experiment went through the same step as the first one but I added two more circles to it. This is the pattern that I did for the second dress.20160713_160814

Using jersey fabrics shows the drapes more. I like how the cutline forms on the left side seam of the dress.

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For the final garment which I submitted, I make a new pattern for the bodice. Going for a kimono sweatshirt look, I drafted a kimono bodice pattern, a collar, and cuffs. After that I follow the same steps as the previous experiments, but I cut the collar and cuffs from the negative pattern. Here is the pattern.20160715_102935

And this is the final look of the dress.

I was actually aiming to make a top but ended up having a dress because my fabric was too long. For this dress I make five pair of circles and used the correct way to sew the circles that gives me some quite nice looking drapes that are very great.

Overall, I find this technique really fun for experimenting with draperies. I can apply this technique to any type of garment and the result will always be different which is very unique. Subtraction cutting is a very fast way to make a garment and I really enjoy doing it. So, that’s all for today. See you in my next post.


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