1. A cutting is a small piece of fabric – a sample really, but usually just a sliver, usually smaller than we’d expect a sample to be- just enough to see the texture and colour – but always taken from the intended purchase piece, or the piece available.
2. A cutting can also be the stock cutting that we ask for when we reserve an order, just enough to check that the actual roll or piece in stock is as close to the sample piece as we are expecting.
3. Cutting the fabric is the most nerve wracking part of the making process, or at least it’s the first one. If you get it wrong, the thing won’t fit and the potential for waste and huge unwarranted cost is enormous. Not to mention the stress.
So we have two rules:
Measure twice and cut once: This means planning out and marking all pieces with pins or tacks onto your fabric before you even think about cutting. And then checking it.
Cut with confidence: Think what the worst could be – firstly, you’re highly unlikely to ruin the whole thing, even if you do get something wrong, secondly, encourage yourself with the fact that there isn’t much that can’t be rectified with some ingenuity and it’s often from error that something special comes.
4. And then practically:
1. The fabric should always be flat onto the worktable, with the creases brushed by a sweep of the metre rule across it, and any big ones pressed out.
2. At least one long side should line up along one side of the table- with the bottom end of the roll or piece aligned with, or if it’s a bit uneven just over, the adjacent end.
3. Trim the end to the table, so that you start off which two straight sides.
4. Pin the fabric to the table or secure it by other means ( some use pegs, or file clips )
5. Place the pattern or mark the cuts onto the fabric and then cut, keeping one hand firmly on the fabric just in front of, and to one side of, the direction of the scissors.
6. Always keep the lower blade on the table. Never try to cut out in mid air – or with the fabric scrunched up.
7. For a complex pattern keep cutting away the excess, the spare piece if they get in the way- when you change direction do so without polling on the roll or the rest of the piece, and without tails and bits.