Avoid 5 Biggest Mistakes When Cutting Fabric

Woman cutting fabric with scissors
Image credit: @freepic/cookie_studio

Avoid 5 Biggest Mistakes When Cutting Fabric

Avoid 5 Biggest Mistakes When Cutting Fabric

In sewing, it all starts with cutting fabric. While it seems like a small step, it is actually one of the crucial ones. The one that is dictating the success of your project.
It is a slippery slope that can make beginner sewers demotivated from the very start. Quite a lot people are investing in the good sawing machine just for it to collect the dust in the corner of the room, never touched. One wrong scissor cut, and our sewing days are behind us.

Don’t let your skill die before it had a chance to evolve. Learning the basic sewing techniques can get you far, but only if you acknowledge that there is a lot to be known about a simple thing like proper cutting of the fabric. There are 5 crucial mistakes when cutting fabric that puts your sewing project in jeopardy that you should avoid at all times.

#1. Cutting Fabric Before Measuring

No matter do you tend to create a new clothing piece or just to trim long treasures – always measure before you cut any material! The eye is easily deceived and something you think you have cut evenly and at the strait line can reveal a completely different picture when you try it on.

It applies to every aspect of sewing, whether you’re making something for scratch or modifying the excising clothes. Use the measuring tape to determine the length you like and mark it on the fabric. This is the action that takes a few minutes of your time and can make or break your entire project.

Seamstress cutting fabric with measuring tape around her neck in all times

Image credit: @freepic/cookie_studio

#2. Cutting Before Washing The Fabric

How many times did it happen to buy a dress or a shirt that shrinks after the first wash? Now imagine that you have cut that piece of the clothing before washing it. It will become a bit shorter and tighter, wouldn’t it?

The same goes for the fabric you are using for your sewing project. As you become more skillful, you’ll learn which materials have a tendency for shrinking, and you will know to leave an extra inch or two when cutting fabric. But at the beginning of your sewing endeavors, washing a swatch of material you wish to use before you take scissors into your hands is always the safest bet.

It’s quite simple actually – take a swatch, measure, soak, wash and then ironed it with a very hot professional iron like Panasonic NI-WL600 or the regular one.

Then measure it again. If it shrinks, it is a sign you should adjust the cutting line.

White iron

Image credit: @Pixabay

#3. You didn’t do squaring and truing the fabric

To true the fabric, make a cut on the weft, pull the thread and cut in the space left by the thread. Square the fabric by cutting away the selvage which is the fuzzy edge that runs along the length of the fabric, so-called warp of the fabric. Cutting and pulling the thread in the same way you did with the weft or the horizontal thread will enable you to cut the edge.

After you have taken the selvage out, ask someone to help you pull one corner of the fabric while you pull the diagonal one. Then do that on the other end. Don’t miss this step, especially if you are using cotton or elastane combinations.

Sewres helping one another

Image credit: @freepic/ senivpetro

#4. Ignoring The Instructions For Placing a Pattern On the Fabric Grain

Ending up with a too-short dress or a mini skirt because you didn’t test how the fabric is acting after washing and ironing is nothing to compare with the anguish of not using the grain of the fabric to place your pattern.

Indicated on the pattern as the long arrow that runs the length of the pattern piece, the textile grain will secure the material to hang correctly, as it will cut at a right angle. When a pattern pieces didn’t placed accurately on grain, the end clothing result will not only look bad, but it will also keep twisting around or clinging to your body since the fabric will stretch at an angle.

Placing the pattern precisely on grain when cutting out patterns will save you from this mistake. Finding the grain is easy when you did the previous step – when you do square and true the fabric, simply join the side where the selvage was and fold the fabric.

Measuring the distance from the selvage to the grain arrow and making sure it is equidistance will make sure you’ve placed the pattern correctly.

#5 There’s Not Enough Fabric to Match Plaids or Stripes

This is a classic mistake that even the more experienced sewers make when working with plaited materials. And at the same time, the one that’s easiest to avoid. Just buy more fabric and place the pattern so it matches the prints or plaid.

Mark the most dominating color on your pattern. Use its direction while also maintaining the grain of the fabric. How much fabric you will need will always depend on your size, width of the fabric you wish to use and the model you want to create.

Take a look at some video tips for sewing matching plaids and stripes:

It Is Crucial To Avoid These Cutting Fabric Mistakes

It might be hard to resist the excitement when inspiration strikes or impatience takes the best of us. It is important to remember that sewing, like so many things in our lives, requires discipline and following some quite basic rules.

They will only help you to be more satisfied with the end results and enjoy them completely. Rushing the process and missing the important steps can only sabotage the hard work you put into your sewing project. Do you really want to risk it to fail because you didn’t follow the basic guidelines for cutting fabric? Now when you know where the major mistakes can be made, you can avoid them and create the frugal ground for success of your sewing plan.

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