I love almost everything about sewing. Except one thing. One thing, I really strongly dislike.
I hate cutting into my fabric. Not because I am messing up a beautiful thing by cutting it. No, it's because I am so terribly awful at measuring and cutting accurately.
Why is it so dang hard? Do you have issues with this step, too? Or just me?
Little projects aren't so bad. And I can, for the most part, trace a pattern. It's when I have to cut a large piece of fabric and am given dimensions that I run into trouble. Like this weekend, when I needed to cut something 24 inches by 24.25 inches. That is when I wanted to stomp around my house in a dizzy and throw my cutting board on the roof.
Let's take a looksie at some photos so you can see what I mean.
Here you can see my fabric on my dining room table. Ready for cutting. But wait. What are all those lines? Oh, let's take a closer look.
Ah, I see. Those are the lines I drew after measuring 24.25 inches wide. That's right, six different lines for the six times I measured. As you can see, there is about an inch difference from one far line to the other far line. Which one is right? Who knows! I obviously didn't. I measured six times and couldn't figure it out. So what to do? In my case, I just swore a few times, picked a line that looked good and said what the hell. Then I cut.
At this point, I'm thinking... maybe it's OK? I mean, this is for a shirt, does it need to be exact? Then I remember that, oh yes, I'm attaching this piece, the main body of the shirt, to a contrasting band on the bottom. So yes, it does matter. They will need to line up and be the same size. I needed to be relatively sure that this was indeed 24 inches by 24.24 inches. So I inspected. And what did I find?
Why so hard??? Why?????
To give you a sense of my process, here are all the things I've read you're supposed to do to try and get a nice accurate cut. All rules I typically follow.
-- Prewash and iron my fabric
-- Use one of those big clear rulers with my rotary cutter and cutting board.
-- Draw a faint line when I measure to make it easier to see where I should cut
-- Stand while I'm cutting and use a "spider" type grip on my ruler.
-- Pray a lot and also curse a lot
None of that seems to really work for me. Not when it comes to cutting a big piece.
Any idea how I can make it easier on myself?
I'm actually done with the shirt I made from the above yellow poppy fabric. This story does have a happy ending. But that's not always been true for my badly-measured projects.
So please, give me some advice! How do you cut a large piece of fabric accurately without wanting to strangle an innocent member of your family?