Whether you’re a beginner quilter or have been doing it for years, knowing how to properly cut and prepare fabrics for sewing projects is an essential part of the quilting process.

It doesn't just make your end product look better, but also keeps your fabric from fraying or accidentally getting too large as you work.

With the right tools, knowledge, and technique, cutting fabric can be quick and easy.

That's why we've put together this guide on everything you need to know about how to cut quilting fabric!

From what scissors are best suited for each task to tips on working with directional prints – our comprehensive article will equip you with all the techniques needed so that every sewing project turns out perfect.

Essential tools for cutting quilting fabric.

The first step to cutting quilting fabric is gathering all the necessary tools. Here’s a list of must-haves:

Fabric shears:

Fabric shears are a must-have tool for any quilter.

They’re specially designed to cut through fabric with ease and precision, making them perfect for precise cuts.

Look out for features like ergonomic handles and double-ground blades to ensure you get the best results.

Rotary cutter:

A rotary cutter is a great tool for quickly and accurately cutting multiple layers of fabric at once.

It works by rolling a wheel-like blade across the fabric, making swift cuts with no mess.

Make sure to pair your rotary cutter with a self-healing cutting mat to get the most out of it.

Pinking shears:

Pinking shears are a must-have tool for quilters.

They have an angled blade, which leaves small zigzag cuts in the fabric as it’s cut.

This helps to prevent fraying and keeps your fabrics from unraveling over time.

Marking tools:

It’s important to have the right tools for marking your fabric.

Try using a water-soluble pen, chalk pencil, or tailor’s awl to mark out your pattern pieces before cutting.

Seam ripper:

No quilter should be without a seam ripper! This handy tool is essential for removing stitches quickly and easily if you make a mistake.

Different types of scissors and their uses

Here are some of the most common types of scissors and what they’re used for:

Tailor's shears:

Tailor’s shears are the go-to tool for cutting multiple layers of fabric, as they make smooth and clean cuts every time.

They’re longer than regular scissors, which makes them perfect for larger projects.

Embroidery scissors:

Embroidery scissors are small in size and have a sharp point, which makes them perfect for intricate work.

They’re ideal for cutting appliqués and trimming threads but can also be used to cut small pieces of fabric.

Thread snips:

Thread snips are an essential tool for quilters as they make it easy to quickly clip away loose threads.

They have a spring action that allows you to quickly close the blades and snip away, helping you save time when completing your projects.

Pinking shears:

As mentioned earlier, pinking shears are essential for preventing fraying in fabrics as they leave zigzag cuts in them as they’re cut.

These are great for finishing seams and edges, as they give your work a professional, finished look.

Measuring accurately for accurate cuts

Once you’ve got the right tools for the job, it’s time to start measuring your fabric accurately.

The key is to make sure that all measurements are as precise as possible so that your cuts are accurate, and your project looks perfect. Here are a few tips on how to get it right:

Use a clear ruler with a grid or dots:

A ruler with a visible grid makes it easy to measure accurately, as the lines indicate different measurements, so you don’t have to guess.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a ruler with a grid, look for one that has dots instead – this will also help you in getting accurate measurements.

Mark out the measurements with a fabric marker:

Using a fabric marker is an easy way to make sure that your measurements are precise and accurate.

Simply draw lines following the grid on the ruler, and then cut along those lines for perfect results every time.

Make sure to use a quilting square:

If you’re cutting multiple pieces of fabric for a quilting project, it’s important to use a quilting square.

This will help to make sure that all the edges are straight and true – no more wonky squares!

Working with directional prints

When working with directional prints, it’s important to make sure that the motifs are kept in the right direction during cutting and piecing.

To do this, you need to make sure that you pay attention to the arrows or lines printed on the fabric. Here’s how:

Cut all pieces going in one direction:

If you’re cutting multiple pieces of the same directional print, make sure to cut them all in one direction.

This will ensure that all the motifs remain pointing in the same direction after piecing.

Lay out your fabric accordingly:

When laying out your fabric for cutting, always make sure that you keep the arrows or lines pointing upward.

This will help to make sure that all the pieces are going in the same direction when they’re pieced together.

Use templates if necessary:

It can be tricky to work with directional prints, so it can help to use a template when cutting your fabric.

Make sure to draw out the template on the wrong side of the fabric, and then cut along the lines to ensure that all the pieces are going in the right direction.

By following these simple tips, you can make sure that your directional prints look great after piecing!

Tips for cutting delicate fabrics

Here are some tips to ensure that your delicate fabrics stay intact when cutting:

Use stabilizers:

Stabilizers are a great way to keep delicate fabrics from shifting or fraying while you’re cutting them.

There are a few different types of stabilizers available, such as tear-away and wash-away.

Simply iron the stabilizer onto the wrong side of your fabric before cutting to keep it from slipping while you’re working.

Use sharp scissors:

The sharper the scissors, the better! Dull blades can cause snags or tears in delicate fabrics, so always make sure to use a pair that is sharp and clean.

Look for features like ergonomic handles and titanium blades for extra comfort and sharpness.

Use pins to keep the fabric in place:

Using pins helps to prevent the fabric from slipping or shifting while you’re cutting it.

Simply pin the edges of your fabrics together before cutting, making sure that all the layers are held firmly in place. This will help to ensure that all your pieces are cut accurately.

Choosing the right thread to match your fabric

Once you’ve got the right tools and techniques for cutting your fabric, choosing the right thread is the next step.

As with any sewing project, it’s important to make sure that the thread you use matches both the color and weight of your fabric.

Here are some tips on how to pick out the perfect thread:

Consider fiber content:

The fiber content of your thread should match the fiber content of your fabric.

For example, if you’re using a cotton fabric, opt for cotton thread; if you’re using a polyester or silk fabric, go with a polyester or silk thread.

Choose the right weight:

Choose a thread that matches the weight of your fabric – for instance, if you’re working with a lightweight cotton fabric, opt for a lightweight (30 or 40 wt) thread.

And if you’re using heavier fabrics like denim or upholstery, use a heavier-weight (50 to 100 wt) thread.

Match colors carefully:

When choosing the color of your thread, make sure to select something similar in shade to the fabric.

You can also opt for a slightly darker shade if you want your seams and stitching to be more subtle, or a lighter shade if you’d like them to stand out. This will help ensure that your project looks professional and polished.

Step-by-step guide for making precise cuts

Now that you know the basic tips and techniques for cutting quilting fabric, it’s time to get started. Follow these steps for making precise cuts every time:

Step 1: Gather your supplies

Gather all the tools you need for the job – this includes a clear ruler with a grid or dots, a fabric marker, and sharp scissors.

You may also want to use a quilting square for larger pieces of fabric.

Step 2: Lay out your fabric

Lay out your fabric on a flat surface so that you can easily measure it.

Make sure the edges are all straight and true – if necessary, pin them into place with straight pins.

Step 3: Measure and mark the fabric

Using a ruler, measure out your fabric to the desired sizes and mark each piece with a fabric marker.

Make sure to use dots or lines to indicate where you need to cut.

Step 4: Cut along the marked lines

Once all your pieces are marked, it’s time to cut. Start by using sharp scissors to make small snips along the lines you’ve drawn.

This will help to prevent any fraying or accidental cutting of other fabric pieces.

Step 5: Press and finish

Once all your pieces have been cut, press them with an iron to remove any wrinkles.

Then, store them away until you’re ready to use them for your next quilting project!

By following these steps, you can be sure that all your fabric pieces are cut accurately and precisely.

With the right tools and techniques, cutting quilting fabric doesn't have to be a daunting task.


What is the best tool for cutting fabric?

The best tool for cutting fabric is a pair of sharp scissors.

Make sure to select a pair with ergonomic handles and titanium blades for extra comfort and precision.

You may also want to use a rotary cutter for larger pieces of fabric, as well as a quilting square for measuring and marking.

Is it necessary to use stabilizers?

Stabilizers can be helpful when working with delicate fabrics, as they help to prevent them from shifting or fraying while you’re cutting.

There are a few different types of stabilizers available, such as tear-away and wash-away. Simply iron the stabilizer onto the wrong side of your fabric before cutting to keep it from slipping while you’re working.

What thread should I use?

When picking out the right thread for your quilting project, make sure to choose one that matches the color, fiber content, and weight of your fabric.

For example, if you’re using a cotton fabric, opt for cotton thread; if you’re using a polyester or silk fabric, go with a polyester or silk thread.

What if I make a mistake while cutting?

If you make a mistake while cutting, don’t worry! You can always use fabric glue to piece together any small mistakes.

Make sure to press the glued fabric pieces with an iron before using them in your project.

If it’s a larger mistake, you may have to start over with new fabric.

Why is it important to make accurate cuts?

Accurate cuts are essential for any quilting project – they help ensure that your pieces fit together perfectly and look professional.

Taking the time to make precise measurements and cuts can also help save you time in the long run, as it eliminates the need for having to re-cut or re-sew pieces that don't fit.


When it comes to cutting quilting fabrics, you need the right tools, techniques, and knowledge base to ensure that your project looks as professional and polished as possible.

Make sure to take your time when measuring and accuracy are key. Having directional prints in mind when cutting can also save you from mismatched pieces.

Lastly, remember to choose the right type of thread so that your fabric stays intact while being stitched together.

All these tips will help you to make clean cuts for professional results every time.

And if you're ever feeling overwhelmed or uncertain about how to cut quilting fabric be sure to check out our comprehensive guide on How to Cut Quilting Fabric for more detailed instructions and tips.

Taking all of these steps into account can help guarantee successful and beautiful quilt projects every time.

So don't just wing it - make sure that you're prepared before starting your next fabric project!

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