The Rushcutter Sew-along: Cutting your fabric


So it's finally time to cut out our Rushcutters!

If you are sewing a long with me, by this stage you should have gathered your supplies, picked your size,  printed your pattern, made a toile and made any necessary adjustments. Now that much of the hard work is done, it's time for the fun(ner) stuff!

Prepare your fabric

Grab you fabric (that you have pre-washed, dried and pressed) and lay it out on a flat surface. I won't judge you if your only flat surface is on the floor! I went years without a proper cutting table and I managed just fine - so use whatever space you can.

Cutting flat vs cutting on the fold

Generally speaking, most patterns ask you to fold your fabric lengthways, matching selvedge to selvedge, so that you can cut a piece once and get a pair. This is the most time efficient method (and what I included in the pattern's instructions), but I must say that I generally cut flat.

By cutting flat, you get much more control, which is especially good if you are using a placement print or matching a print or stripes.


The other bonus is that you use much less fabric. Above, I have shown the suggested lay plan for View A on 115cm (45in) wide fabric. By cutting flat, instead of on the fold, you could save almost 1 metre (the saving is not so big when using 150cm wide fabric - about 30cm). So if you are tight on fabric, or have a bit of extra time up your sleeve, then I recommend giving it a go. 

Pattern piece inventory


View A

Front - cut 1 on fold

Back - cut 1 pair

Side panel - cut 1 pair

Side pocket - cut 1 pair

Centre front panel - cut 1

Front hem facing - cut 1 on fold

Back hem facing - cut 1 on fold

View B

Front - cut 1 on fold

Back - cut 1 on fold

Side panel - cut 1 pair

Centre front panel - cut 1

Front upper bodice (size A and B only) - cut 1 pair

Back upper bodice (size A and B only) - cut 1 pair

Upper bodice (sizes C - K only) - cut 1 pair

In-seam pocket - cut 2 pairs


Waist sash - cut 1 pair

Cutting tips + suggestions

If you are using a heavy weight fabric, consider cutting your in-seam pockets (View B) in a lighter weight fabric. You could also consider a lighter fabric for the neckline / armhole binding.

You may also want to use consider adding interfacing to your hem facings - if you would like to add weight to the hem. 

Cutting your fabric

After working out what pattern pieces you require, cut loosely around the pattern pieces. This will make them much easier to handle, and give you more flexibility when working out the best cutting layout. 

If you are cutting on the fold, fold your fabric lengthways, with right sides together, matching your selvedges. You may notice that I cut my pattern with wrong sides together. This is because I was planning to make my dress with the wrong side of the fabric on the outsidem but changed my mind at the last minute!


1. Place your pattern on the fabric, and measure the distance between one end of the grainline and the selvedge. Hold this side in place with a weight or pin.

2. Measure the distance between the other end of the grainline and the selvedge, and pivot until it is the same distance as the first side. 


3. Use weights (or whatever you have got lying around) to hold the pattern in place, and use pins to hold in place. 

4. Cut around the edge of the pattern, being very careful to get as close to the line as possible.

Cutting notches


When the piece is cut, work your way around the pattern, cutting into each notch. The notches are 6mm - try not to cut them any longer as you may risk getting too close to the stitching line. Be careful to find them all - they really do help when making sure you are putting the correct pieces together!

Marking the dart point

There are a number of ways to mark the dart point, and the best option will depend on the fabric you are using.


1. If you are using something stable, or dark in colour, fabric chalk or fabric pen will work fine.

2. Mark the dart point on one side of the fabric, and then put a pin through the point so that it comes out the other side. Make sure the pin is nice and straight, and then mark the dart on the other side with chalk.


3. If your fabric is a little more delicate or prone to moving, use a needle and contrast thread to put one long stitch through both layers of fabric at the point of the dart. Tie a knot at wither end of the thread.

4. Open up the two pieces and cut the thread in between. Now you can tie a knot on either side so that the stitch remains in place.

Do you cut the old-school way like me? Or are you a rotary cutter kind of gal (or boy)?

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