Home > Fabric, Tips > Tips for Cutting Slippery Fabric

Tips for Cutting Slippery Fabric

November 29, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I recently read two tips for cutting slippery fabrics. The first one is from a fun blog called A Fashionable Stitch (click the link to see the original post or view the copy-&-paste job below):

Way back when, when I did this post on working with silks, there was a very clever reader that gave me a great technique that I’ve used ever since. Slippery fabrics can be a b*%&^! to cut. Ugh! I’ve used my self healing mat and rotary cutter with them, but honestly, I’m a shears girl. I’ve always worked with shears and for me, they’re just easier to handle. So if you’ve got a thing for your shears too, here’s a very handy tip.

Keep a length of muslin handy at all times. I have a yard that I have hanging up in my “sewing closet” (and yes, I actually now have a full closet dedicated to sewing + an entire room! Yay!).  Lay the muslin down first and then lay the slippery fabric over the top of it and begin pinning your pattern pieces in place through all layers. Now, with your shears perpendicular to the table, cut only your slippery fabric out. And Voila! The pattern doesn’t shift around, the slippery fabric doesn’t shift around and the shears will make nice even cuts instead of jagged edges (which is what usually happens for me when I don’t use this technique).

It’s OK, if you think this is like magic, because really it is. It’s also OK if you have some doubts that this just won’t work for you. It may not, but hey, you’ve at least got to try it once. Next to sliced bread, this is a pretty neat trick. Show your friends! They’ll be terribly impressed! Enjoy!

and the second tip is from Seam Allowance Guide (the link goes to the website, but you won’t find the tip there—I got it via email):

I am passing on a little trick I’ve thought up to all my past Seam Allowance Guide customers.

If you’re like me you have a massive stash of gorgeous Chiffon fabrics but no confidence cutting them out. They wiggle and shift and the result is nothing like the pattern piece. I have wasted way too much money on chiffon projects that never turn out.

I’m a rock climber and when we climb we have little chalk balls to stop our hands from getting sweaty. You can grab these quite cheaply from any outdoor adventure store or a good gym.

This trick will work for any fabric really as long as it isn’t white.

Step 1.
Layout your slippery fabric on a large table as straight as you possibly can.

Place your pattern piece on top and then just use a couple of weights to hold it in place. Tuna cans, cups, anything will do. You will only need a couple for each piece.

Dab your chalk ball all the way around the pattern piece while holding the edges down. This is so fast compared to pinning your pattern down. It will take just seconds.

Step 4.
Remove the patterns and you can see a perfect outline of your pattern. Even if you shift or wiggle the fabric while you are cutting the exact imprint will stay the same. Cut and you will have a perfect replica of your pattern.

Any chalk remnants will have brushed off by the time you’ve finished your sewing. (For the pictures I used a silk fabric to make it more visible.)

  1. January 15, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Oh, chiffon . . . that mean, nasty fabric that just loves to slip and slide away . . . It would be easier to sew jello . . . This is wonderful advice! Thanks for passing this along . . .

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