Preparing fabric for cutting and sewing

So, you are ready to start sewing! You have gotten your basic sewing basket together and you have bought a pattern! You’ve even cut out the pattern like I explained in another article and now you are ready to pin the pattern, cut the fabric and start sewing. But no, you cannot do this just yet. Did you know that all fabric needs preparing for cutting and sewing?

That’s right, before you can start cutting fabric and sewing it, you need to look at preparing the fabric for cutting and sewing purposes. This is a process you need to start at least a day before you start sewing. In colder countries, if you are not using a dryer, you will have to start a couple of days before.

The first thing you do in preparing fabric for cutting and sewing is to test for color fastness and shrinking. You do this by ironing a corner of the fabric with a hot iron. What is happening to the fabric? Is it shrinking?

The next thing you do in preparing fabric for cutting and sewing is to give it a wash through the washing machine. I personally never do this but I highly recommend that you do it. Washing fabric can shrink certain materials so you want to make sure that the garment you are making won’t shrink in it’s first wash. There is nothing worse than wearing a new garment once, washing it and then finding that it does not fit you anymore.

Once you have washed the fabric you are preparing to cut and sew, you need to run it through a dryer (if that’s the way you plan on drying your garment in the future). Otherwise you can just hang the fabric up in the sun.

There we go, you are almost done preparing the fabric for cutting and sewing. The last thing you need to do is fold it neatly in half, length wise. Length wise because most patterns lay out length wise. Make sure that the edges of the fabric you are preparing for cutting and sewing matches each other well. They must not overlap. Now lay the length wise folded in half fabric out on a table where you can pin your sewing pattern onto it and do the cutting. After the cutting you will then proceed to the pattern markings and sewing of the garment!

It’s easy to prepare a piece of fabric for cutting and sewing. Wash, dry and there we go!

How to cut a sewing pattern

So you finally bought your first sewing pattern. But not you’re sitting with the next question. How to cut your sewing pattern. There are so many confusing lines and things. What if you cut the wrong part of the pattern and mess up the pattern? After all, the sewing pattern cost a lot of money and now you have to go cut it!

The first thing you need to know before you even consider how to cut a sewing pattern is NOT TO USE THE SHEARS YOU BOUGHT TO CUT FABRIC. You need a completely different set of sewing shears to cut a sewing pattern. The reason is that the sewing pattern is made of paper, however thin that may be, and the fabric scissors cannot cut paper. If they do, the fabric scissors may go blunt, or most certainly will go blunt over time. This means you won’t be able to cut the fabric anymore.

Alright! Get on with it! I came here to learn how to cut a sewing pattern! Not to read about sewing shears! Well it’s fairly easy. The sewing pattern is made to cut along the size that you need. I will assume that by the time you are reading this page, you have already found out how to measure yourself or the person you are going to be sewing for. The measurements you took, along with the measurements on the back of the sewing pattern’s envelope should give you an indication of which pattern size to cut. So to go ahead, you can cut along the size line of the size of the sewing pattern that you want to cut.

But STOP! Do you want to use this sewing pattern again for something else? Do you want to use the other sizes too? Because if you do, I wouldn’t just go ahead and cut the sewing pattern. I would firstly cut the biggest size, the outer layer of the sewing pattern. That way, you have the other sizes too. You correct the size issue when you cut the sewing pattern on the fabric by making folds in the pattern that you have just cut. I can show you how to make the folds in the pattern if you click on the highlighted link.

Many people will tell you that you do not cut a sewing pattern using only the outside line (biggest size). They have their methods. That’s all good and fine. They can have their methods for cutting a sewing pattern. I have my own methods that have worked for me over twenty years.

The sewing pattern has now been cut to the biggest size. The next trick is to put it down on fabric and cut the correct size of the sewing pattern for the garment you need to make. To find out more about how to cut the sewing pattern out on the fabric you want to use, click here to find out how to lay out a sewing pattern on fabric.