How to Cut Fabric to Make Curtains - dummies

By Mark Montano, Carly Sommerstein

After you know your measurements, have placed your pattern correctly, and secured it with pins, you can cut the length and width of the fabric to create your window treatment’s panels. When you lay out your fabric on your workspace, make sure you have plenty of room to work and that your shears are in good shape.

Working on a bed is not a good idea because the cutting angle isn’t good. You want to be at the same level as your fabric so you can cut it straight. If you must work on the bed (or on the floor), consider investing in a good-quality fold-up cutting board, which you can buy at most craft or fabric stores. It can protect your bed linens and provide a nice, flat surface for cutting.

When you start to cut, place a weight in the center of the pattern and fabric to keep your fabric in one place. If you don’t have a sewing weight, try a book, or several books.

If you have fabric that ravels, it may benefit from pinking (being cut with pinking shears). If so, use your pinking shears after you’ve cut out your pattern piece or pieces using your regular shears. Pinking shears don’t give an accurate line and make your sewing job harder if you cut your pattern with them.

Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll get great results every time:

  • Place your pattern on the right side (that is, the pretty face side) of the fabric.

  • Make sure your fabric edges are straight. Align your L-square along the selvage (vertical) edge and with your marking pen, make a line along the perpendicular (horizontal) side. Cut along the line and you have straight edges.

    For solid fabrics, be sure all cuts are made along the exact crosswise grain of the fabric. For printed fabrics that require pattern matching, check to ensure that your fabric is on-grain before you begin.

  • Be sure your fabric’s nap is going the same way each time you cut a pattern.

  • Be sure your printed fabric is going the same way each time you cut and that you’ve placed your pattern on the same spot each time, following the pattern repeat.

  • Pin your fabric in place every few inches, with either straight pins, or safety pins, for more hold.

  • Cut your fabric evenly and without cutting the paper.

Now your fabric is measured and cut and you’re ready to sew!