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How To Get Your Fabric Ready To Cut

Updated on November 11, 2012
Rainbow colored Fabric hanging verticle
Rainbow colored Fabric hanging verticle | Source
Large right-handed scissors
Large right-handed scissors | Source

Before you start cutting into that lovely fabric you have gotten, there are some things you need to do first. It is not ready to cut just yet. You need to make sure it is in the best possible condition so your project will turn out right. Here are some tips to help you get your fabric ready to sew.

If the end product of your sewing project will be washed in a washing machine, you need to wash the fabric before you start cutting. The same goes for the dryer. The fabric may shrink some. If this is true, it will shrink the most during the first wash and dry cycle it goes through. You want it to shrink before you cut it out. So, run the fabric through one entire cycle. Clip the corners through the selvage if you are afraid of fraying. Once it is washed you can cut away any tangled threads. Be sure to shake out the fabric between washing and drying. This will cut down on wrinkles. If you want to prevent fraying entirely, do a quick zig-zag stitch across both cut ends of your fabric.

If your finished item will be only hand washed or dry cleaned, you will not need to launder them before you sew them. But, be sure you do not ever wash it any other way or it will shrink. This could render your item unusable.

Synthetic fabric will not shrink. So, you can wash it if you like, but it is not necessary. The finish of the new fabric may be a bit crisp. This can make it easier to sew. However, if the fabric is slightly offgrain, that finish will make it impossible to get straight. So, you will have to was it to be sure your project is done correctly. There may also be a chemical smell you wish to get out of your fabric before using it. It should wash out easily.

Be sure if you have woven fabrics that the stripes, checks, or plaids are even. You may need to trip some edges. If the selvages are perpendicular when you hold them up at the folded end, you know your fabric is straight with the grain.

It may also be necessary to iron your fabric before you get ready to cut it. Wrinkles can make your cutting inaccurate. Be sure to use the iron setting that is appropriate for your fabric. Once the wrinkles are gone, you are ready to lay out your pattern.

No matter what type of fabric you use, you will want to get it in the best shape you an before cutting. You do not want to get your project done and realize you should have washed or ironed your fabric. It may be you will not be able to use your finished project, if this is the case. Hopefully, these tips will help you get your fabric ready to cut.


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  • Myfanwy profile image

    Myfanwy 6 years ago from Tennessee, USA

    Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed it. :)

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Wonderful tips. Most people have no idea there is a whole process to go through before they can use new fabric. Up and useful.

  • Myfanwy profile image

    Myfanwy 6 years ago from Tennessee, USA

    You are very welcome! Thanks for the read! :D

  • profile image

    4youreyes 6 years ago


    Some very good tips to remember, sometimes we get in such a hurry to start our projects we forget how important those missed steps are. Thanks for the reminder.

    Have a Good Day !