Pattern companies are getting better about the pattern layouts, requiring less fabric. We used to follow the layout instructions included in the pattern envelope, which required folding the fabric in half, then placing pattern pieces on the fold, selvedges and throughout the middle. Sometimes there would not be quite enough room to put a large pattern piece, and would require either buying extra fabric for a sleeve, or piecing scraps together for part of a skirt. As you can see, there is still some fabric in the middle but not enough for a certain pattern piece.
Today at tea, a visitor told me how her mother, who learned to be frugal during the Depression, used less fabric.
Instead of folding the fabric in half, she only folded a small area and cut out a pattern piece, such as this sleeve.
After that, she folded a more narrow area and cut out an even smaller piece, as shown below.
Then she folded the rest of the fabric in half and had more room for a piece that would not normally have fit onto the regular folded fabric space.
Now, there is enough fabric for that big pattern piece that would not fit.
This is very encouraging, as I want to cut down on expenses and use less fabric. I am going to try it soon on a small piece of fabric.
Scrappers, artists and paper-people know how to do this with paper. It is the technique of beginnng your cutting at the outer edges and saving the bigger part in the middle.
Create a new double piece of fabric by folding it down, using the largest un-cut part for a bigger pattern piece. Above, I have shown where the other pieces were cut out. This method of saving fabric would have to be experimented. I am sure that seasoned stitchers have used it and just not realized it was a common technique.