You’ve just bought your gorgeous fabric and you can’t wait to start that project you’ve had your eye on. But, don’t rush into cutting into those beautiful designs without a little bit of prep first! There’s nothing worse than uneven hems, jagged edges or points not matching up in your quilt! So how can you get the best results from your fabric? Here are a few tips and tricks for cutting fabric accurately.
Before you do anything, the first thing you should do is wash your fabrics before you cut them as many aren't pre-shrunk. While most modern fabrics are colour fast, washing before hand with a colour catcher will also eliminate colours running into any lighter coloured fabrics in your project and ruining it later on.
Once your fabrics are dry, you should iron them following manufacturers recommendations. This might seem tedious but the flatter your fabric is, the more precise your cutting will be. If you are dressmaking you can also iron your pattern pieces. This will help everything to match up and aid with accuracy.
Always use fabric scissors or a rotary cutter. Scissors that don't have a sharp edge will not give a crisp cut and may distort the shape/ edge of your fabric making it more difficult to sew. If using a rotary cutter you should use a self healing mat underneath as the blade will ruin your cutting surface underneath. A self healing mat will also help your fabric stay in one place and not slide around.
Once you begin cutting keep your cutting area clutter free! No one wants a bump in their cutting line because your fabric wasn’t flat! Cut on a hard surface such as a table at the correct height for you as this will allow a more stable hand. If the table is too tall for you, it will be harder for you to control your blade. If it is too short you could end up with a bad back.
Before you begin cutting you need to establish the selvedge and grain line of your fabric. The selvedge is the edge of your fabric which doesn't unravel. Some selvedge's are white with the manufacturers name on or have tiny perforated holes along it. Once you have established this you will be able to find your grain. All fabrics are made up of woven threads either running along the length or width of the fabric. Threads found along the width of the fabric are known as the 'Weft' threads and threads found along the length are 'Warp' threads. I always remember this by thinking of the 'Weft' threads running 'right to left.' The warp threads tend to be stronger, so when cutting, unless a pattern calls for it, you should cut lengthwise along these threads. Weft threads tend to have a little stretch in them so certain parts of patterns may call for this property by cutting along the weft. If a pattern calls for a cut that requires a bit more stretch, cutting diagonally may be asked for. This if called cutting on the bias.
Most of the time it takes to cut fabrics is taken up in preparation. This should not be skipped as the better prepared you, are the less chance of mistakes and ruining your lovely fabric or project. I hope these tips have been helpful. If anyone has any they would like to add I'd love to hear from you. For more sewing tips and tricks, please follow me on Instagram or Facebook. Happy sewing!