• Rainy Williamson

Just do it!

Many weavers have a fear of cutting into their precious cloth. So much time and energy goes into its creation that the fear of damaging it often means that lengths of cloth simply sit in storage or are only ever used for scarves and table runners. As wonderful and scarves and table runners are, your hand woven fabric deserves to be seen and used. Cutting into it will allow you to release its potential.

Here are a few tips and points to consider helping you to cut your cloth with a confident hand:

1. Use very sharp scissors to minimize any tugging or stretching to the threads.

2. Stitch two parallel lines along the edges to be cut to stabilize the cloth before cutting.

3. Use seam binding tape – particularly on seams that will suffer stress such as arm and neck holes. For straight edges straight grain seam binding tape can be used. For curved edges, use bias cut binding tape.

4. Measure twice, cut once – this is where making a toile helps.

5. Finish / wash the fabric prior to cutting to avoid nasty surprises later.

6. Interfacing will stabilize the fabric, but this will be at the expense of the drape which may be important in a garment.

7. Use iron on fusible woven interfacing on edges before cutting. Cut a wider than usual seam allowance and put interfacing on the edge.

8. Woollen cloth will full during finishing and so will be more stable and less likely to fray when cut.

9. Use an over locker to edge cuts.

10. Zig zag stitch to secure edges.

11. Stay stitch curved edges to prevent them from stretching and distorting

12. Use a French seam or a flat fell seam to enclose raw edges. A flat fell seam will show the stitches on the right side of the finished fabric – a French seam doesn’t. French seam is useful for lightweight or sheer fabrics. Both seams are useful if you don’t have an over locker to secure the edges. The downside is that neither seam works well on curved edges.

What will you make from your next length of hand woven cloth?

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