How To Cut Clothes Straight Ideally: Method, Tips & Tricks

how to cut clothes straight

Last Updated on January 27, 2024 by Wahid

Cutting clothes straight is a fundamental skill that can make the difference between a homemade-looking garment and a professionally crafted masterpiece. Whether you’re a seasoned sewer or just starting, the key to a polished finish lies in the precision of your cuts.

Key Points:

  • Understanding Fabric Grain: The groundwork for straight cuts lies in comprehending the fabric’s grain. Aligning your pieces with the grain ensures not just straight cuts but also maintains the intended drape and stability.
  • Essential Tools: Invest in high-quality tools such as fabric scissors, measuring instruments, and cutting mats. The right tools contribute significantly to the accuracy of your cuts.
  • Step-by-Step Technique: From preparing the fabric to marking, measuring, and executing the cut, following a systematic approach ensures a smooth process and, more importantly, straight cuts.
  • Choosing the Right Scissors & Machines: Different fabrics demand different tools. Selecting the appropriate scissors and, for some, exploring the efficiency of fabric cutting machines, adds finesse to your cutting repertoire.

Now, what is the best and easiest way on how to cut clothes straight? In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps, tools, and techniques to ensure that every fabric cut is not just straight but also tailored to perfection. From understanding the fabric grain to choosing the right scissors and machines, we’ll cover it all. Let’s dive into the world of fabric cutting and unveil the secrets to achieving impeccably straight cuts in your clothing projects. Well, without further delay, let’s see in-depth below.

Expert’s Tips On When To Cut Clothes Straight?

Fabric is cut straight by cutting it parallel to its selvage edge. How to cut clothes straight according to experts:

  1. For Woven Fabrics: Selvedge edges of woven fabrics are parallel to the thread grainline. Cutting along this grainline ensures the fabric is hung properly without twisting. When cutting woven fabrics, it is best to cut them straight.
  2. For Directional Prints: When using fabrics with directional prints, for example, stripes or plaids. It is essential to cut them straight to ensure a good pattern match.
  3. For Bias-Cut Garments: A bias-cut garment is formed by cutting the fabric on a diagonal line. A lot of these garments are heavily draped and tend to move quite a bit, therefore it’s not necessary to cut them straight. To avoid this, it will be necessary for you to make your fabric cut at an angle rather than straight.
  4. For Knit Fabrics: Since knit fabrics possess some stretch, it is important that they are cut on the cross-grain. To do this, you can cut your fabric perpendicular to the edge of the selvage. However, if you are using a knit fabric with a striped pattern or a print, it may be necessary to cut straight so that the pattern is aligned correctly.
  5. For Tailored Garments: The garments that are tailored, such as jackets or blazers, need to be measured precisely so that they fit well. Having the cut straight is essential for garments of this type as it ensures an even seam, and the pieces will match up properly.

Ultimately, to make this decision on how to cut clothes straight, you will have to take it into consideration when making clothes straight. The grainline of the fabric, the print or pattern of the fabric, the stretch, and the style of the garment should also be considered before deciding whether it is better to cut straight or not.

Is It Important To Cut Fabric Straight? Check It Out

In the intricate dance of threads and needles that sewists, tailors, and designers engage in, a profound inquiry emerges, echoing through the quiet rustle of fabrics and the rhythmic snipping of scissors. How to cut clothes straight? Why is Cutting Fabric Straight Important? Why is the ability to cut fabric straight not just a technical skill, but a cornerstone in the artistry and practicality of garment and textile creation? Cutting fabric straight is important for several reasons:

  • Accuracy In Sewing & Construction:
    • Straight cuts ensure that fabric pieces fit together accurately when sewing. This is crucial for creating garments or other fabric items that have a polished and professional appearance.
  • Proper Grain Alignment:
    • Fabrics have a grain, which refers to the direction in which the threads run. Cutting along the grain ensures that the fabric maintains its intended drape and stability. This is particularly important for garments, as cutting against the grain can result in misshapen or ill-fitting pieces.
  • Pattern Matching:
    • When working with patterns, cutting fabric straight is essential for aligning pattern pieces correctly. This ensures that the design elements match up seamlessly, creating a cohesive and visually appealing finished product.
  • Ease Of Sewing:
    • Straight cuts make it easier to sew seams accurately. Uneven edges or jagged cuts can lead to difficulties in aligning pieces during the sewing process, making it challenging to achieve clean and even stitches.
  • Waste Reduction:
    • Straight cuts help minimize fabric waste. Accurate cutting allows you to use the fabric efficiently, reducing the likelihood of having leftover scraps that may be too small for future projects.
  • Time Efficiency:
    • Straight cuts save time during the sewing process. When the fabric is cut accurately, there is less need for adjustments and corrections during assembly, leading to a smoother and more efficient sewing experience.
  • Professional Finish:
    • A well-cut fabric contributes to the overall professional finish of a project. It can make the difference between a homemade-looking item and one that appears professionally crafted.
  • Preventing Distortion:
    • Some fabrics are prone to distortion when cut. Straight cuts help minimize the risk of stretching or distorting the fabric, ensuring that the finished item maintains its intended shape.

In summary, cutting fabric straight is a fundamental step in sewing and crafting that contributes to the overall quality and appearance of the finished product. It facilitates accurate construction, pattern matching, and efficient use of materials while enhancing the professional look of the final piece.

How To Cut Fabric Straight: Step-By-Step Guidelines

Choosing the right fabric and pattern is the first step. Your project is now ready to begin. Taking your time is the key. When corners are cut, they can cause problems in the future. Keep your sewing mantra slow and careful. Match up straight edges according to most patterns. Any misalignment will be evident in patterned fabrics or clothing.

Tools For Cutting Fabric Straight

A rotary cutter may be necessary if you’re quilting. However, if you’re planning to sew something other than a quilt, here are the supplies you’ll need.


  • To prevent further shrinkage, make sure linen has been prewashed. 
  • Other woven textiles might not require prewashing. 
  • Despite their heavier weight, these fabrics maintain their shape and are less likely to wrinkle when cut. 
  • With woven fabrics, ironing will make cutting even easier.
  • As a beginner sewer, woven fabrics are the best choice. 
  • Eventually, you will be able to switch to more complex fabrics once you are more experienced.

Cutting Mat:

  • Although not mandatory, a cutting mat is one of the best ways to protect your work surface.

Knife or Scissors With Retractable Blades:

  • For cutting clean, straight lines, you need a pair of sharp craft or dressmaker scissors
  • Avoid using fabric scissors for cutting other materials, such as paper, because they can blunt their blades. 
  • In addition to retractable knives, sharp blades are also useful. 
  • If you’re quilting, you can also cut with a rotary cutter.


  • In most cases, a flat, transparent ruler is sufficient. 
  • However, if you plan on measuring a long fabric piece, it might be best to use a longer ruler.

Flat, Hard Surfaces:

  • Ensure that all your materials and patterns are laid out on a hard, flat surface. 
  • You will be able to take accurate measurements, ensuring that your cuts are crisp and straight.

How To Cut Fabric Straight: 8 Easy Methods

Cutting fabric straight is a critical sewing skill that ensures you achieve fantastic, professional-looking results when sewing. Here are 8 easy steps you can take. Now that you’ve learned different methods for precisely cutting fabric, you’re ready to learn more.

#1: Pulling A Thread To Cut Fabric Straight

In my opinion, this is the best method. Due to its versatility, it’s 1 of the most effective methods for cutting fabric straight. Additionally, the process is very simple and precise, and it doesn’t require much more than attention & patience. You cannot use it to cut knit or nonwoven fabrics, it can only cut woven fabrics.

The following steps will help you cut clothes straight:

  • Identify the unfinished fabric edge, normally selvage-perpendicular.
  • Remove a single piece of thread from the ragged edge of the fabric.
  • Pulling will cause the fabric to gather a bit. Pull out the thread completely and straighten the fabric.
  • There will be a gap line visible as a result. Follow this path when cutting the fabric.
  • If you pull on the thread, it can break before it reaches the selvage. It’s no problem.
  • Once you reach the spot where the thread snapped, cut along its path. Cut to the selvage with another thread parallel to the first one.

You will get a perfect cut every time. Hold the fabric in one hand while holding the scissors in the other. Make sure the fabric isn’t lifted off the table.

#2: Cutting Fabric Straight Using 90 Degree Right Angle Tools

Knit fabrics do not respond well to the 1st method. In this way, the 2nd method is suitable for knitting. In addition, it can also be used on some woven materials, particularly if you have trouble pulling the thread and non-wovens.

The following steps will help you cut clothing straight:

  • Grasp one of the table edges with the selvage edge of the fabric. 
  • Make sure the fabric doesn’t move by putting weights or painter’s tape on it. 
  • Consider how the fabric’s cut edge is aligned with the table’s other edge, which is parallel to the beginning. 
  • Depending on how the fabric is placed, it might swing inward or outward.
  • Make sure the fabric does not go inward.
  • Mark the fabric with the table edge, by tracing a line, and then cut.

#3: Using a Long Cutting Mat, Ruler, & Rotary Cutter For Straight Cutting

As a quilter, I always believed that cutting mats and rotary cutters were only utilized by quilters. My mistake is now clear to me. 

  • The rotary cutter & cutting mat are essentials for every seamstress. Straight cuts ensure accurate fabric cutting and make all the main differences between an effective and disastrous project.
  • Cut the fabric on a cutting mat, which has grid lines to make measuring and cutting fabric easier. In addition to grid lines, most of the cutting mats have bias lines as well. 
  • Cutting mats come in various sizes, but if you plan to cut straight up from the bolt, you should use a larger mat like 24″ x 36″. 
  • A cutting mat is used for cutting fabric by aligning its straight edge (the selvage or the fold line in parallel with the selvages) to the mat’s cutting line. 
  • Make sure your fabric and ruler are achieving alignment with your cutting mat’s lines. Next, follow the cutting line carefully with a rotary cutter. While using a rotary cutter on fabric, ensure to apply pressure. 
  • To prevent the fabric from slipping, reposition your mat & cut. Fabric weights can be used to hold large pieces of cloth (for example, stone figurines can be used for fabric weights).

#4: Ripping The Fabric

In addition, the 4th method is also very precise: tearing the garments rather than cutting them. It is probably the fastest way to cut fabric that you have seen in stores. 

  • In fact, when it’s used accurately, it works wonderfully. 
  • It should be noted that “woven fabrics,” – mostly light in weight natural fabrics, are not suitable for this method. 
  • The method doesn’t work on all fabrics and in all circumstances. I rip a variety of lightweight fabrics, including silk, cotton, as well as thin wool. 
  • It is possible to notice wavy or loose edges on the ripped material’s edge. However, the straightness will be perfect. 
  • The ripped edge can be in a little bit of distress if you don’t like it. 
  • To fix that, measure a few inches away from the ripped edge, align the line with the ripped edge, then cut along the line.

#5: Selvage To Selvage Cross-Folding (Not Lengthwise)

In this method, you cannot cut right up to the fabric’s cut edges, so it’s not very useful. You should use this method if you plan to cut the fabric part straight down the center or close to the center. As long as you have a size of selvage, you can’t cut very close to the edge when you use this technique.

  • Using this method, you can cut the cloth perpendicular to its selvages. Folding requires ensuring that the ends are straight. If not, then this method cannot be used.
  • Align the selvages carefully after folding the textiles in half.
  • Make sure the fabric is wrinkle-free by smoothing it by using your hands.
  • This will result in a straight folded line.

Alternatively, this method can be used with fabrics with a single selvage and a parallel straight edge. The fabric can be folded as described previously, resulting in a perpendicular edge along the folded edge.

#6: Using A Fabric Print Or Design To Cut Fabric Straight

  • It is possible to cut straight if the fabric has some texture or pattern, so you’re in luck. 
  • Thus, if you prefer a straight-cut fabric that has plaids, stripes, or prints, make sure you follow what the fabric has on it.
  • By cutting on pattern lines on the fabric, it is more convenient to cut on pattern lines perpendicular or parallel. 
  • Drawing the lines may require the use of a ruler and you can do it without, according to what pattern you are using.

#7: Using Laser-Guided Tools For Straight Cutting

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  • Fabric can be cut straight with a very special tool. This type of scissors is known as Laser-Guided Fabric Scissors
  • In accordance with the instructions, a line must be drawn on the reverse side of the material. The laser should be aligned with the line while cutting.
  • Therefore, it wouldn’t make sense to use the laser when I had to do the drawing anyway.
  • By drawing the line, it seems as though I should be able to cut along it using a regular pair of scissors. 
  • Furthermore, the scissors tend to move when I move my hand, resulting in another point on the laser.
  • Due to this, for me, they aren’t a viable option I would seriously consider.

#8: Using A Lazy Method For Cutting Fabric Straight

In case you want to cut a square or rectangle and don’t have time to mark the edges using a ruler, use the following method:

  • To make the cut, make it parallel with the selvage – “use a 90-degree ruler or a small triangular ruler because it needs to be precise.”
  • After that, fold it again and make sure the edges are even on the side you previously cut.
  • Fold the fabric over and cut along it. As necessary, carry out the process again to reach the second selvage line.
  • The method works best with cotton fabrics that are sturdy.

However, I explained the best 8 methods on how to cut clothes straight perfectly. Now, you can choose your preferred technique for your cutting projects. 

Troubleshooting Guide For Cutting Fabric Straight

Cutting fabric straight is a fundamental skill in sewing and crafting, but various issues can arise due to the type of fabric, tools used, or techniques employed. Below is a troubleshooting guide for common problems encountered when cutting different types of fabrics.

1. Slipping Fabrics (e.g., Silks, Satins):

  • Issue: The fabric moves too easily, leading to jagged or uneven cuts.
  • Solution: Place the fabric between two sheets of tissue paper to stabilize it or use fabric stabilizers. Always use sharp scissors or a rotary cutter.

2. Stretchy Fabrics (e.g., Jerseys, Knits):

  • Issue: The fabric stretches while cutting, resulting in misshaped pieces.
  • Solution: Use pattern weights to hold the fabric in place. Consider cutting in a single layer and not folding the fabric.

3. Thick Fabrics (e.g., Denim, Upholstery Fabric):

  • Issue: Difficulty in cutting through, leading to uneven edges.
  • Solution: Use heavy-duty scissors or shears. Ensure the blades are sharp for a clean cut. Cut in small sections if needed.

4. Sheer Fabrics (e.g., Chiffon, Tulle):

  • Issue: The fabric tends to slip or is difficult to see for accurate cutting.
  • Solution: Utilize a rotary cutter with a cutting mat for precision. A lightbox can also be handy to illuminate the cutting lines.

5. Fray-prone Fabrics (e.g., Linen, Raw Silk):

  • Issue: The edges fray excessively after cutting.
  • Solution: Use pinking shears or apply a small amount of fray check solution along the cut edges.

6. Printed or Patterned Fabrics:

  • Issue: Difficulty in aligning patterns or prints leading to an unprofessional finish.
  • Solution: Pay extra attention to the print alignment before cutting. Use pattern weights and rotary cutters for precision.

7. Bias Cutting Issues:

  • Issue: The fabric warps or stretches because it’s cut on the bias.
  • Solution: Handle with care and avoid pulling or dragging. Store flat until ready for sewing.

Pr Tips:

  • Cutting Surface: Always use a flat and stable surface. Cutting mats can enhance accuracy.
  • Marking Tools: Utilize washable markers or tailor’s chalk to outline cutting lines.
  • Cutting Tools Maintenance: Regularly sharpen or replace the blades of your scissors or rotary cutters.
  • Patience & Practice: Take your time and practice on scrap fabric when trying new materials.

Having a clear understanding of the common issues and solutions when cutting various types of fabrics, you can ensure precision and avoid wastage, leading to a more professional-looking finished product.

What Is The Importance Of Cutting Fabric Straight?

Getting the fabric cut straight matters since it affects its stretch. You will get kinks and rolls if you cut the seams skew, for these reasons:

Straight Grain or Warp

In fabric, there are threads running down its length known as warp threads, also called “straight grain.” It has a straight grain even though it has a continuous thread. Warp and straight grain have a relatively little stretch, so pattern pieces go on the straight grain, preventing seams from pulling and hems from dipping. 

The chances are, if you have encountered clothing like this, that the pattern pieces were placed skewed to save fabric as well as fit more pattern pieces. As a result, the garment has twisted seams – particularly on the sleeves of the shirt.

Cross Grain or Weft

Store assistants will cut fabric in a cross-grain direction, passing through the warp threads. It’s crucial to cut straight on the cross grain so that curtain hems, edges of tablecloths, and clothing lay flat. In contrast to straight grain, cross grain has a larger range of stretch. Don’t bulge.

Bias Grain

Having a diagonal cut, also called Bias Cutting, is very popular among top designers. In this case, the fabric has a better fall & drape, since it does not have tucks, pleats, or gathers. Even so, a 45-degree angle should always be used when cutting on the bias to ensure your seams hang properly. Bias-cut dresses and skirts with bulging side seams are my worst nightmares. Incorrectly cutting on a cross grain usually causes that. 

Taking a bit of the side seam in or pressing with an iron will not help. Whenever you see this on clothes in a store, reject it. You shouldn’t do business with some factory that took shortcuts. In my experience, I get the best results using the OLFA 45mm Quick-Change Rotary Cutter.


01. How To Cut Silk Fabric Straight?

Answer: Silk fabrics and slippery fabrics tend to slide and shift when you cut them, making them difficult for you to cut straight. In some instances, people spray a small amount of starch on the sandwich sheets in order to help them stick together better so that they will stay put in the sandwich. For securing the clothes in place, I normally use a piece of painter’s tape. It is not going to leave any type of mark on the fabric after you remove the tape from it. During the marking of pattern edges, the fabric won’t shift in any way. It is best to cover the entire fabric piece on all sides with painter’s tape, particularly if you have a large table.

02. How To Cut Fleece Fabric Straight?

Answer: Generally, Fleece fabric is a very thick, very heavy knit fabric. Thus, it is important to make sure the scissors you use on it are sharp enough in order to cut through the thicker material. However, it is better to use a rotary cutter as opposed to scissors when cutting fleece straight rather than wavy. Using a 90-degree ruler will allow you to get a straight line to cut along which will enable you to follow a line in perfect alignment. On the cutting mat, place the fleece fabric piece on top of the mat, then place a ruler along the edge of the selvage of the fabric before you cut it.

03. How To Cut Large Pieces Of Fabric Straight?

Answer: Whenever you are cutting fabric that is larger than what you have on a cutting table, be sure that the fabric is squared up before cutting it. You need to fold the fabric this way in order to be able to cut straight once folded. Make sure that you have a dry,  flat area of work that you can use. If you do not have a large fabric cutting table, simply use the flat floor to place the folded fabric. The fabric of a large size can make it difficult to cut precisely, squaring up your cutting fabric beforehand will ensure straight cuts.

04. Is The Selvage Edge Always Straight?

Answer: Usually, yes. The majority of the time, the edge of the selvage is going to be straight on the fabric, at least if it has not been washed. Selvages, on the other hand, are a product of the manufacturer, making them useful to determine whether the edges of your cut products are really straight or they aren’t. Nevertheless, there are sometimes manufacturer defects that occur, and there have been instances where there has been a fabric that had selvages that weren’t straight.

05. How Do You Cut Fabric Straight To The Hem?

Answer: In order to cut fabric straight, you should use an angle ruler with a straight angle. This is because they tend to have a 90-degree angle that will help you carefully cut the cuts straight. To use a straight-angle ruler, simply align the ruler with the fabric’s edge and line it up with the ruler. Then, with the Fiskars Classic 45mm Loop Rotary Cutter, you can cut the ruler along the edge in a straight line.

06. Is Pre-Washing Essential?

Answer: In some cases, it is recommended that you pre-wash your fabric and iron it before cutting. However, unless it was left crumpled up, most fabrics will be fine to wear as long as they are labeled so that it says it was pre-shrunk on the label. Some people believe you should prewash and iron your fabric before cutting, this is something that is up to you to decide.

In Conclusion

I hope you have found this guide on how to cut clothes straight useful for you. After you have cut out your fabric accurately, it is time for you to sew it. Sewing a straight-line is an essential part of any project, hence, make sure you find out the article on the best sewing machine in advance of starting your project.

One of the most basic and important aspects of dressmaking is the ability to understand this aspect of pattern sewing and cutting. When quilting and cutting, the principle of how to cut materials straight is an important part of the process. If you are planning on sewing a fabric project, it is a crucial step in every sewing project you undertake.