Accurate fabric cutting is just as important to getting a professional finished project as the actual sewing is. If your cutting is out then you will have seams that don’t match and clothing that doesn’t hang nicely. With a little extra care taken to learn how to cut fabric, you will be on your way to the next step – sewing.
How to Cut Fabric
Step 1 – Prepare your fabric
Pre-wash and shrink your fabric. If you have a fabric that frays easily it is a good idea to zig-zag, serge or use pinking shears on the edges.
Step 2 – Establish the grainline
Fold your fabric in half lengthwise so the 2 selvages meet. There should be no wrinkles in the fabric. Keep in mind the shop may not have cut your fabric straight so the tops may not meet perfectly.
Step 3 – Check your sizing
Check the sizing you will be using and cut out the pattern pieces for your size. Most modern patterns come in multiple sizes. All my sewing patterns come with color coded lines to make it easier for you to cut the correct size.
Step4 – Pin your patterns
Most patterns will have a suggested pattern layout. Place your pieces accordingly. Keep in mind that if you have a fabric with a pile or one-way pattern, all pieces should face the same direction. See my blog article for cutting one-way or directional fabrics.
This symbol means place on the fold. Pattern pieces with this symbol will be placed on the fold.
Place all arrows on the pattern pieces parallel to the side selvages. Use a ruler to check the distance at the top and bottom of the arrow. Don’t just measure at one spot.
Check if seam allowances are included in the pattern. If you need to add seam allowance, leave a gap between the pattern pieces. (Read how to add seam allowance)
Pin all your pattern pieces to the fabric before you start cutting. This way you will make sure you are using the minimal wastage of fabric.
If you have a pattern piece that needs to be cut multiple times, then draw around it with tailor’s chalk and then place it in the next position.
Step 5: How to Cut your Fabric
We’re at the final step in learning how to cut fabric! Cut around the pattern pieces with sharp scissors to get a nice accurate clean edge. Don’t forget to cut the notches. (Read how to cut notches)
If your pattern has markings to transfer, make sure you do this before removing the pattern pieces. (Read fabric marking with chalk).
Thanks for reading “How to cut fabric”
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Further Reading for Beginners
- How to add seam allowance
- How to Cut Notches
- Reading pattern symbols
- Sewing Measurements: How to take body measurements for sewing
- How to use a sewing machine
- Napped Fabric, What is Nap in Sewing
- Sewing 101