Cutting Fabric with Scissors – Top Tips

by | Feb 1, 2021

Are you new to cutting fabric? Cutting fabric with scissors an important skill to learn when you are making clothes. Take your time with it and practice you will soon be wielding your scissors with confidence and cutting out with ease.

Preparing Fabric

Lay your fabric out on a hard surface (usually folded in half along the length).

Avoid having the fabric hanging or falling off the end of a table. This could pull and distort your fabric, especially if you are using stretch fabric. Fold the fabric on top if itself or rest on a chair/ironing board to stop this from happening.

If possible set your cutting table up so that you can walk around 3 sides. This will help you get the best angle to cut each piece.

It is easiest if you have your table at a comfortable height to cut while standing up. A similar height to kitchen worktops.

Use sharp scissors that are designed for cutting fabric. My favourite are Fiskars. I have had mine for 20+ years, I’ve looked after them and they’re still super sharp. Find a pair that are comfortable in your hands.

Cutting Fabric with Scissors
These beautiful Earnest Wright Shears cut like a hot knife through butter, but are just too big for my hands

Cutting Fabric

Rest the lower blade on the table. This helps to keep you balanced and accurate.

Keep your blades at 90° to the table, don’t roll them to the left or the right.

Keep the fabric flat on the table as you are cutting it. You can gently move the excess fabric out of the way with your left hand as you cut.

Always cut away from you, don’t try to cut out at any weird or uncomfortable angles.

Walk around the table to get the best angle for each cut. If you cannot walk around your table, try cutting the fabric roughly into smaller pieces. Then moving the pieces so that you can get the best angle to cut.

Always work your way clockwise around each pattern piece. This will help keep your cuts consistent with the edge of the paper pattern.

Keep the back of your hand to the pattern piece you are cutting. This will help the cutting edge of the blade close to the edge of the pattern.

Be Confident

Make nice long cuts and use the full length of the blade even around curves. Little hesitant bites will give you jagged edges, but long smooth confident cuts will give you long smooth lines.

Cut confidently along the edge of the pattern paper the first time. If you have to go back and trim a little bit off is much harder than cutting it right first time.

Don’t use your fabric scissors for anything other than cutting fabric. Using your fabric scissors to cut paper, plastic or anything that’s not fabric is the fasted way to dull your blades.

Avoid hitting pins when cutting out. It you accidently try to cut through a pin, this will damage your scissors.

If you don’t get it straight away, trust the process and follow the steps above. Practice, practice practice! The more you practice this skill the better you will get and the more comfortable it will feel.

Cutting Fabric Left handed?

If you are left handed, try and find a way that works for you. That might be following the mirror image of some of the steps above, but it might be something completely different. Try left handed scissors. I acknowledge that this can be harder for you as the world is designed for right handers. If cutting fabric is new to you, experiment to find what works.

Love & Stitches ====

Alison xxx

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