Dressmaking is such a popular hobby, but sometimes you may finish a project to find it hasn’t come out exactly how you envisioned. The seams may be twisted, the hem might be uneven, or you are unable to match up the lengths of the design; these are all problems that can often be traced back to how you initially cut your fabric. While cutting fabric can be quite simple, it is also very easy to make a mistake without even realising. Cutting fabric evenly and with precision will make your sewing progress a lot smoother, so to help you, the team at Fabrics Galore have put together this guide for cutting dressmaking fabrics.
Prewash and press your fabrics
No matter whether you are using a plain cotton, or something more extravagant such as animal print fabric, it is essential that you wash and iron your fabric before starting any cutting or sewing. Although this may seem like a bit of a hassle, you will be glad you did this in the long run. By washing your fabric, you are helping yourself ensure that your measurements are completely precise before cutting out your pattern pieces. This step is even more important if you are using patterned pieces together, such as check and plaid fabric. Washing it beforehand will also wash any excess treatments that may still be on the cloth and will allow for any shrinkage too.
Pressing your fabrics is another way to make your life easier, as when you first purchase and store your fabric it will most likely be folded. However, folds can make creases which means that the fabric won’t lie completely flat and make it even trickier to cut accurately. It’s best to press your fabrics and remove most of the creases, helping to keep the fabric stable and your sewing more accurate. By doing this, you are going to find it is much easier to take measurements and cut the fabric with precision.
Flat work surface
This may seem relatively obvious, but if you want your lines to stay even and flat it is crucial to use a hard, flat surface. By using a carpeted floor, as an example, you are going to make the entire process far more difficult for yourself. You need enough space to line up your fabric on your cutting mat and have the excess off to the side. If you’re cutting a relatively large length of material, it might be best to work on the floor rather than a table, as you don’t want the fabric to hang from the working surface. If the fabric hangs, you run the risk of it pulling the rest of the material down, resulting in an uneven cut line.
High quality tools
With low quality, blunt cutting instruments, you may find cutting through fabric a struggle, which is bound to throw you off your straight line. Cutting fabric straight is so important, and should never be overlooked, so if your tools are causing you to cut inaccurately, it is time to invest in some new equipment. If you are using scissors, you need to ensure these are nice and sharp, without giving you any resistance when cutting fabrics. If you do purchase some new scissors, only use them for fabric, as things like paper and sellotape can ruin fabric scissors making them blunt really, really quickly. One of the other recommended tools to cut fabric is a rotary cutter, which allows the user to make long, continuous cuts that are accurate and straight. Using them is a lot smoother and faster than cutting with scissors and can reduce fraying. These are particularly good for quilting where you are usually cutting in straight lines, although they do take some getting used to, and always use a ruler to begin with to avoid injury.
Choose the right print for the fabric
When choosing your print, you need to take into consideration the type of fabric you will be using. This is usually not an issue with plain fabrics, but you may want to experiment with different prints. There are so many types of fabric prints available, in many designs and colours, such as check fabric, plaid fabric, animal print fabric, floral prints, geometric prints, and more.
Dressmakers can create beautiful garments by mixing and matching these prints, but of course, you want to make sure you cut them perfectly. Sometimes when using a print you will want it to match, so you will need to buy extra fabric to allow for that, for example you'd want the stripes to match up on the back of a dress.
If you do decide to work with prints, the dressmaking pattern needs to make sense, so keep it simple, with fewer seam lines, preventing the design from becoming really complicated. You should also be aware of where the prints will be placed on the pattern, allowing you to enhance the features you want to highlight in the garment. But on the other hand, some busy prints will make it simple because seams are hidden in the exuberance of the print; for example a leopard print would hide a multiple of sins.
Would you like to buy new dressmaking fabrics?
The Fabrics Galore dressmaking department is packed full of a wonderful range of fabrics for you to purchase. We can help you bring your dream designs to life, so no matter whether you are looking for plain cotton, animal print fabric, or something completely different, we would be more than happy to help you.
If you would like to learn more about the products we have available at Fabrics Galore, you can chat with one of our specialist team by calling 020 7738 9589. We would be more than happy to help you and answer any questions you may have.