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This How To shows you how to properly, easily, flawlessly cut those difficult light and slippery fabrics, like chiffons, linings, and light silks.

Technique Materials

dot, craft or tissue paper, or muslin for sandwiching; slippery fabric (such as silk and/or lining material, chiffon); pattern pieces, scissors, pins

20 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Missing

    Dec 7, 2013, 01.21 PMby jamondro

    Thank you for this – it saved me!

    I read elsewhere that if you have a pattern piece that needs to be cut on the fold, you should make a double of the pattern piece and tape it together so that you can cut the piece out without folding the fabric, which was also a good tip.

    Thanks again!

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    Aug 3, 2013, 06.36 PMby anjagriessmeyer

    Thank you so much for this, it could’ve saved me a lot of heartache and work had I seen this sooner. The starch method is working fine with the satin fabric I am using, the addition of tissue paper is also great. A lifesaver!

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    May 17, 2012, 03.37 AMby 5294sandras

    Very helpful. I used a table cloth and put wax paper on the fleece side. Then, my fabric with starch. It cut easily and I was very happy with the results. Table cloth fabric can be purchased at a reasonable cost and I always use a coupn. I bought 2 yards which gave me plenty of working area.

  • Missing

    Sep 5, 2010, 05.15 PMby clarkd6982

    Spraying the fabric with starch works best for me too. It also helps to stabilize the fabric for sewing.

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    Dec 27, 2009, 10.41 PMby grainline

    As a patternmaker, we do this at work and I was also taught this in school, you can cut the thinnest chifffons and the slipperiest satin face organzas and charmeuses just like you were cutting a piece of paper. I use my Ginghers for this and just get them sharpened every 2 or 3 months, and when I do this we’re cutting through 40lb kraft paper on the bottom and marker paper on the top, much thicker than the paper they’re suggesting here and my scissors are just fine! (I am also obsessed with sharp scissors, and could probably go longer between sharpening)

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    Nov 1, 2009, 07.13 AMby 祝 蕾冰

    It ’s said that Burda providing free clothing drawings downlaod for its members,how should I do?

  • Missing

    Jul 15, 2009, 04.29 AMby JULIA7

    I find that spray starch works well too…..I spray a test patch of the slippery fabric about 5 cm square near the edge, iron it dry, and wash out the starch….just in case the spray on starch alters the look of the fabric , its never happened though in about 10 years.I then ball up the fabric and spray it generously all over, allow to dry slightly and iron folded double, then lay the patterns on it and cut as usual.The starched fabric is much easier to sew-especially hems. Finally iron and then rinse out the starch.

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    Jun 29, 2009, 02.01 PMby flginnyfl

    I will definitely try cutting between papers! Thank you, Lorrwill! I will also try waxpaper between layers, AgelessStyles! I can see how that could help. However, for LESS DIFFICULT fabrics, let me suggest a simpler method. Try putting right sides together and pressing before sewing. Use steam if you have it. The fabrics pieces will stay put as you sew the seams and hardly any pins will be necessary.

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    Jun 23, 2009, 09.58 AMby paranoire

    I also hear my fabric scissors shriek in panic… is this really okay? I do have some cheap 1,99€ IKEA fabric scissors that i could use for that evil paper-fabric-paper-monster, though :D Wouldn’t be tragic if they were damaged in the process…

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    May 28, 2009, 10.31 PMby ginifur

    I wish I had seen this before I cut all that chiffon for my prom dress! I ended up taping it super tightly to the floor, and enlisting the help of my sister to keep it taut for me.

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    Apr 25, 2009, 03.46 AMby aleah

    I have a problem with this… we are supposed to cut through all the layers, but with which kind of scissor? My normal paper scissor does not cut the fabric, and my fabric scissor will be ruined if I use it to cut the paper! What to do?

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    Jul 1, 2008, 12.31 AMby kellimaier

    This is going to change my sewing life. I have some beautiful slippery fabrics…and have been afraid to cut them. Now I know how. My Mom has struggled with this for years and she’s going to love it too. Thank you!

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    Jun 16, 2008, 12.59 AMby nicola82

    Hottest Tip Ever! Am working with silk satin as we speak and this advice saved me hours of heartache. I used a roll of architectural/ drafting/tracing paper (it comes in A0 size), with a decent pair of scissors-cutting out my dress was a piece o cake.

  • Missing

    May 7, 2008, 11.14 AMby agelessstyles

    I agree with Lorrwill, you made a easy read to follow. I’ll try this. I was taught to put waxpaper between layers, press cool-med. iron on and when you are finished with th entire subject press again with cool-med heat. This last press you have a linen towel to press over your finished piece, the towel will absort the wax. I also do this when sewing right sides together. I put wax paper under the fabric, on the foots teeth of the sewing machine. The item will not slide. I also have waxpaper again between the fabric pieces. I also know of a person who sprays fabric adhessive but that means she must have her item cleaned at the Laundry. Thats too costly for me. But, I like the sound of your way.

  • Missing

    May 6, 2008, 04.20 PMby nhlulu

    Nice of you to include this piece! Many people struggle with this. My mother used to hate sheer fabrics for this very reason.

    Did you know that sewing slippery fabrics is much easier if you sandwich it between layers of tissue paper? You can see through it to sew, and it tears away cleanly leaving just a lovely neat seam in its wake.

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    May 4, 2008, 01.00 PMby lorrwill

    Thank you very much for this. It is very clear and well written. I have some slinky rayon that I will tackle using this method.

  • Missing

    May 1, 2008, 10.30 PMby sweetlilysews

    you are so thoughtful, the world needs more people like you! thank you, :)

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    May 1, 2008, 05.43 AMby darkmatilda

    Muchas Gracias!! Años luchando con este tema sin saber como hacerlo. Thank you, its been years strugglieng with this

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    Apr 27, 2008, 01.30 AMby peaudane

    Thanks for this tutorial! I may build up the courage to try sewing silk if you add one on sewing slippery fabrics:) One question about the cutting: I thought you weren’t supposed to cut paper with your fabric shears?

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    Apr 25, 2008, 07.09 PMby karencilla

    thanks for this how to… those slippery fabrics are beautiful but sometimes they produce me a headache!

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