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How to Cut Slippery Fabrics

Posted by Betsy C on

Spring has been teasing us in NYC and I am plotting my sewing plans for a spring wardrobe. Of course diaphanous silky fabrics are on the top of my list, but let's face it, they can be a pain in the you-know-what to cut. They are slipping and sliding all over the table and then you go back to compare to the original pattern shape and the cut piece is a mere hint of what it should be.

Preparation for the battle is key. 

I learned this technique on the sly from a sample room cutter who frequently cut georgette bias skirts. On good days we were frenemies. On the bad days she was waving scissors at me and one hand placed on her cocked hip. I assumed the John Wayne shootout stance waiting for her latest argument about instructions.  We were always exchanging squinty sidelong glances at each others work, questioning. But for this one I tip my hat to her.

 No fancy supplies needed. Just two sheets of a thin paper. I used tissue paper here but you can even use a newsprint weight quality. Lay one layer of paper down. Position fabric over the paper. Put another piece of paper over top.

Place pattern piece on top. Either pin through all layers or use a pattern weight. 

Cut through all layers. See how clean the edges are? The paper helps to stabilize the fabric. 

Your fabric scissors will forgive you for this paper cutting infraction...occasionally. 

ps- this works really well for making bias strips too! You can even draw the cut lines on the paper.

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  • This is a great technique, I think it’s the best way to cut shear fabrics. I find it better than using a rotary cutter, the rotary cutter pushes the fabric a little bit and you can end up with the fabric having crept a little as you’re cutting it but that doesn’t happen with this paper technique.

    Zara on
  • Hmm, sorry, but I am not exactly sure. But as a side note you can probably do the same technique with a rotary cutter. The paper keeps it stable and that’s the main thing. If the cutting mat for a rotary cutter keeps the fabric stable then I would opt out of the paper.

    Betsy on
  • THANK YOU for this post! I’m going to definitely use this tip in the near future!

    Miss Crayola Creepy on
  • Cool tip. Any idea how it compares to the single layer/rotary cutter technique?

    Claire on

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