A guide to cutting fabric like a boss

When learning to cut fabric or simply hone your craft there are a number of important things to consider. To help you improve your cutting skills, we’ve put together a five step guide to help you identify which areas to focus on and some well-needed tips.

STEP 1: Wash and iron fabric

It’s a good habit to wash your fabric straight after purchasing. This is because once washed, your fabric will shrink a little, making the measurements of your cuts slightly different. Once washed and dried, it is time to iron your fabric flat. This gets rid of wrinkles and allows an accurate measurement of the fabric. 

STEP 2: Flat work surface

When cutting, always use a hard flat surface. For pro cutting, use a cutting mat equipped with measuring lines. If you want your lines to stay even and flat it’s crucial that an appropriate cutting surface is used and not an uneven one such as your carpet or bed. A cutting mat also prevents you from damaging tabletops or other surface areas. If you’re cutting on a table, be sure that all the edges of the fabric are up on the table too. If there is fabric hanging over the edge, it will most likely pull the fabric and will cause uneven lines without you realising it.

STEP 3: Cutting scissors

A good pair of cutting scissors make a huge difference. The quality of the scissors will determine how well they cut, but more importantly, how they will work in a few months. You want a good pair that won’t dull over time. Good scissors will glide through fabric like a hot knife through butter, making it easier and more accurate.  If you would prefer, you can opt for rotary cutters for long straight lines.

STEP 4: Checking for accuracy

One of the best ways to check the accuracy of your evenly cut lines is to fold the fabric in half and make sure that the width along both ends is exactly the same. Then fold it the opposite way and check the opposing widths. If it doesn’t, re-measure, trim and adjust. For cutting a perfect square, fold it in half diagonally to check your angles. Line up the edges and make sure they’re even and that the corners match. 

STEP 5: Making your own straight edge

If you’re cutting fabric that doesn’t have a straight edge to start with, for example a circular piece of fabric, there is a way to find your straight line. Woven fabric is created with vertical and horizontal woven threads. If you find the exact grain, you can use that as a guide to create a straight edge. 

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