Cutting Slippery Fabrics

SEW - what are you working on?

cutting, Kai Scissors, slippery fabrics, silky,

As you can see by the pile here, I have been busy weeding through a stack of mending. Now that it is finished, let's move on to some fun things.

And now about that slippery fabric . . . 

Cutting slippery fabrics or any fabrics with a nap can be a challenge for most. Not only does the fabric change shape it seems to take on a life of its own! 

It starts creeping toward the table edge, it begins to grow taking on a whole new shape, and it even tries to creep silently out of the room! 

Seriously there must be a better way!

cutting, Kai Scissors, Serrated Scissors, Kai Serrated Scissors

There is! 

If you follow along and try what this young 4-H gal learned a few weeks ago, you will be cutting miles of silk fabric strips. You will find that linings hold true to their shape, and bias edges do NOT grow as you cut and nap fabrics will not creep out of the room!

The trick to cutting any slippery fabric or any fabric with a nap is to pin the selvedge edge of the fabric to the selvedge edge of the paper. 

What type of paper? Any newsprint paper (let 'dry' one week), printed or roll end newsprint paper, Kraft paper, paper bags, etc.

Next pin the pattern pieces to the fabric/paper. 

If the fabric has a nap you have a choice before pinning the fabric selvedge to the paper selvedge. When cutting fabric folded onto itself, lay a piece of paper in between the fabric layers or cut the fabric single layer. Laying a piece of fabric between the fabric layers prevents the fabric from creeping under the table.

Now you are ready to cut your fabric.

Get out your BEST fabric cutting scissors and CUT through all layers. 

Yes, I did say BEST scissors. 

Hopefully you are not cutting with an old pair of scissors that have not been sharpened in years or a multipurpose craft pair of scissors. 

Please - you owe it to yourself to get the BEST pair of scissors on the market. I have had the same pair of scissors for over 30 years and they still cut just as clean as the day I bought them! I now own at least a dozen of the same brand, all in different sizes. 

cutting slippery fabrics acurately

There is one pair that is PERFECT for cutting any slippery fabrics or fabrics with a nap - the KAI 10" Serrated Edge Shears. I have cut miles of silk bias trim using these scissors without any hand/wrist/elbow fatigue. And for those that know me, cutting can be a struggle with my wrist & elbow problems. These are truly my favorite pair of scissors! I only wish they were as long as my favorite pair of professional KAI 12" scissors

SEW - start cutting right through the paper and fabric. Yes, cut through all layers. 

Go ahead, what are you waiting for? 

Pardon me? 

I can hear you mumbling or perhaps thinking - "NOT with my fabric scissors! The paper will dull my scissors!"

Sigh, while the paper might dull the scissors a little, the quality of the scissors makes a huge difference and your pattern will not grow in size or shape when the fabric is pinned to paper. 

This is the only way fabric is cut in pattern making workrooms and all the designers' workrooms. In fact, if someone were to cut fabric without using paper in the industry, they do not keep their job long.

As you can see here, this young designer loves to get on 'top' of her work as she cuts. Remind you of anyone you know?

SEW - what are you waiting for? Treat yourself today and get yourself a pair of serrated scissors for cutting slippery fabrics and fabrics with nap. You will be SEW glad you did!

SEW tell me, what are you working on?



  1. Help! Help! Can you please help me? I took out the foam block from our couch cushions & cannot get them back into the cover. What a nightmare! Any ideas? Our couch is old but the material looks like the day we bought it. I want to replace the cushion with firmer foam. The cushions are too soft & broken in. So I removed the foam from the cover to measure it & see what was all needed & what it was all about. Now I cannot get the old foam back in. I know it’s not really a sewing question but I can’t find an answer anywhere. Thanks for any help.

    1. Hello VS,
      Thanks for asking! Yes, there is a very simple method to reinsert the foam cushion back into the cover.
      If the cushion opening is small:
      Insert the foam into a thin plastic bag, like a dry cleaning bag or garbage bag. Wrap the plastic bag opening around a vacuum cleaner nozzle and hold the plastic closed. Turn the vacuum on and let it shrink the foam. Remove the nozzle holding the bag closed and insert the foam inside the cushion.
      Before releasing the opening, start ripping the bag and remove the plastic. That's it! Good luck!

    2. It worked great!!! Thanks you so much. Now we can sit on our couch again. Husband is so happy.

  2. I love the idea about the toddler cuffs. I have never seen or heard about it. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hello Batlady,
      Thanks SEW much. I even add cuffs to my PJ pants! It keeps my legs warm during the long cold winters.
      Sew Seam

    2. Wow what a clever idea! I also never heard of this nor had anyone at my work. My coworkers are having a baby boom so they loved this idea.

  3. Hi Rosebud
    Thanks for all your great tips. I was wondering why you use weights AND pin pattern pieces to the paper. Why use pins at all? Or do you use pins only for slippery fabrics?

    1. The weights hold the pattern pieces in place while pinning the fabric to the craft paper below. The weights are removed before cutting. Hope this helps, thanks for asking.