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How to Cut Fabric

You’ve finally found the perfect fabric for that new dress – don’t let careless cutting ruin your project.


  • Step 1: Wash and dry your fabric to preshrink it.
  • Step 2: Iron your fabric to get rid of any wrinkles.
  • TIP: Cotton fabrics are easier to iron when they’re a little damp.
  • Step 3: Decide which side of the fabric is the right side. It’s not always any easy choice. Once you figure it out, mark the right side with sewing chalk or a pin.
  • Step 4: Fold the material in half as instructed by your pattern and lay it on a flat surface, such as a padded table or the floor. Square your edges and smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles.
  • Step 5: Pin the pattern pieces on the fabric. Make sure you pin both sides together.
  • TIP: To keep slippery fabrics from sliding when you cut, put a thin piece of foam, felt, muslin, or craft paper between the two sides and on the bottom and pin to the fabric and pattern.
  • Step 6: Cut your fabric following the pattern instructions. Use long, smooth cutting strokes and, for a smoother finish, don’t let the scissor tips close completely.
  • TIP: Invest in a good pair of scissors and, before each project, wipe the blades with a dryer sheet for easier cuts.
  • Step 7: Check your edges before picking up the pieces. You may need to do some additional trimming before removing the pattern.
  • FACT: Did you know? European fabric merchant Scabal has created extremely expensive fabrics – one with diamond fragments and another using 22-carat gold thread.

You Will Need

  • Fabric
  • Laundry detergent
  • An iron
  • An ironing board
  • Sewing chalk
  • Pins
  • A pattern
  • Scissors
  • Padding for table (optional)
  • Foam (optional)
  • Felt (optional)
  • Muslin (optional)
  • Craft paper (optional)
  • A dryer sheet (optional)

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