Learning to read sewing patterns can be daunting to a beginner but with a few easy tips on sewing notches and how to cut notches in fabric, you will have the confidence to start sewing your first project. This week we are continuing with sewing module of cutting and marking.
What are SEWING Notches?
Sewing notches are the little triangles or markings on your sewing pattern that help you match up your pieces.
They may seem a pain when you are cutting your fabric out but they stop you joining pieces upside down or back to front and having to spend a frustrating time with your seam ripper later on.
Types of Sewing Notches
Sewing notches can be a triangle pointing out, pointing in, or diamond shape in both directions.
They may be open or solid.
It just depends on the designer or sometimes the individual pattern. They can also be single, double or even triple.
Here is an example of double notches on a commercial sewing pattern. You can see that the sewing notches are joined on the outside as well by a solid shape. There are so many different variations you can have.
How to Cut Sewing Notches
There are 2 main ways you can cut sewing notches – out or in.
There are several schools of thought on this but my mother always taught me to cut outwards as there is less chance of making a mistake and cutting too far in and weakening the seam.
Simply cut outwards in a v shape. If the notch on your pattern points in, then just cut out from it.
If you have a double sewing notch you can cut 2 separate v notches or cut across making it one piece.
As long as you are consistent in the method you use, your pieces will match up.
Cutting Notches Inwards vs Outwards:
Cutting v shapes inwards can weaken your seam and you need to be careful not to cut over the seam allowance. So cutting inwards is only suitable for wider seam allowances and sewers that can cut carefully.
Tools for Cutting Sewing Notches
There are sewing notch cutters that you can purchase that accurately snip ¼ inch (6mm) notches in your paper pattern or fabric.
Another easy method is to just put little ¼ inch (6mm) snips at the notches with a pair of small sharp scissors. Don't use your larger fabric shears as you are more likely to cut too far in or make a mistake.
Sewing Notches - In Conclusion
So like most things in sewing, there is no right or wrong way to do something. It just comes down to your personal preference - and perhaps what your mother taught you.
SHARE in the comments below - Do you cut your sewing notches inwards or outwards and why?
I always snip in. I've never heard of snipping out but it's a good idea. Once when my mum was helping me she snipped in like 2cm without realising 😅