Getting this stage of the sewing process right is of the utmost importance. What matters is not only the accuracy of your cutting, but also the way your pieces are cut out from the fabric.
Having your fabric fully prepared (see the article Pre-shrinking about the importance of this step) and your pattern pieces ready to be used, you can not wait to start cutting. However, please spend just a few minutes more on reading some fabric cutting tips below. Check also the model specific comments regarding fabrics and cutting included in the Full Sewing Guide accompanying your sewing pattern. However, some very practical and general guidelines would still include:
1. Check out the pattern layout recommendations in the Fabric cutting section to make sure that you have all the pieces and understand how many parts of each pattern you need to cut out from all fabrics, including interfacing or lining.
2. Lay out all pattern pieces before you start cutting just to be sure you have enough fabric , especially if the width of your fabric differs from the one indicated in the Materials section of the sewing guide
3. Pattern pieces need to be placed the printed side up , unless otherwise stated. This is especially important when dealing with asymmetric designs as you need specific elements to be left or right part(s) of the garment. When cutting out symmetric parts on a folded fabric (sleeves) or on fold (fronts), it is practical to fold the fabric right sides together so that you can mark darts, pleats and other elements easily on the wrong side of the fabric Markings – inner lines and points .
4. Never-ever cut the pieces off the grain . The grain is the direction in which the threads composing the fabric run and they drive the way your fabric hangs, folds and flares. The grain line indicated on pattern pieces needs to run parallel with the grain of the fabric. To make sure the paper pattern is placed correctly, use a tape measure to check that this line is equally distant from the fold line or the selvage of the fabric all the way along (see definitions below).
To make sure the paper pattern is placed correctly, use a tape measure to check that this line is equally distant from the fold line or the selvage of the fabric all the way along (see definitions our Sew-clopedia).
5. Be sure you have a separate pair of scissors to cut paper and never use your best fabric cutting equipment for that. Your scissors will become blunt very soon.
6. Stabilize your pattern well to prevent it from shifting while you are cutting the pieces out. If using pins, it is better to insert a pin vertically and simply leave it standing rather than going with your a pin throughout the fabric and a pattern piece twice to have it inserted horizontally. You run a greater risk of damaging your fabric by doing so.
7. Pin your fabric every 10cm/4″ or so along the edges of the pattern pieces. Be sure to check that the fabric is laying flat. Even more, steam-press your fabric prior to cutting after pre-shrinking to remove any wrinkles and folds. By the way, if your pattern pieces are not new and were folded while stored, (dry) iron them as well.
8. While cutting use long, sharp scissors (shears) and cut with steady, even and long slashes . Never lift the fabric while working, keep one hand hand flat on the pattern while cutting. When cutting knits and cutting on a table, do not let the fabric hang down and stretch the surface you are cutting. Accuracy in cutting is a key to success. As our patterns have seam allowances included throughout, all you need to do is to cut along the edges of paper patterns. Mark garment assembly matching points by small cuttings (snips) on seam allowances.
9. Be extra careful when cutting one-way design fabric and fabric requiring special layout (stripes, border prints, checkered prints etc). You usually need more fabric than indicated in the standard guidelines. Not matched prints can really spoil the end result of your work.
10. Fold the cut out pieces gently, with or without pattern pieces, lay them on a flat surface or store in a separate box if not sewing right away.