Learning to read sewing patterns can be daunting to a beginner but with a few easy tips on how to cut notches in fabric you will have the confidence to start sewing your first project. This week we are continuing with the how to sew module of cutting and marking.
What is a Notch in 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.
Notches can be a triangle pointing out, pointing in, or a diamond shape in both directions. The may be open or solid. It just depends on the designer on sometimes the individual pattern. They can also be single, double or even triple.
How to Cut Notches in Fabric
There are 2 main ways you can cut 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. 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 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 notches in fabric
There are fabric notch cutters that you can purchase that accurately snip 1/4 inch (6mm) notches in your paper pattern or fabric. Another easy method is to just put little 1/4 inch (6mm) snips at the notches with your scissors.
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 inwards or outwards and why?