Whether you’re a craft enthusiast or new to the world of fabric-cutting, learning how to cut fabric straight with scissors is a basic skill, essential for any sewing or quilting project. In this blog post, we’ll explore the tools and techniques needed to ensure that you can cut your fabrics as accurately as possible. Don’t just grab your scissors yet, keep reading to find out the best way to cut your fabric straight before you cut and regret it.

Tools you need

First, let’s go over the tools you’ll need for this task. If you are a quilter you might want to invest in a rotary cutter, but for most sewing projects the list of tools is as follows:

Sharp Scissors

Firstly, having a good pair of scissors is essential for cutting fabric straight. Investing in a pair of quality fabric scissors will ensure smooth and easy cutting. And remember to keep them well-maintained and sharp as dull blades can cause fraying or uneven edges.

The Right Fabric or Properly Prepared Fabric

The type of fabric you’re working with can make a big difference too! You’ll need to choose a fabric that’s not too thick or too thin, as this could affect how straight (or jagged!) your cuts will turn out. It’s also important to use fabrics that don’t stretch easily and won’t be distorted when cut into pieces.

If you are cutting thin or stretchy fabric, it’s important to prepare it before cutting. More on that below.


A ruler is an invaluable tool when it comes to cutting fabric straight with scissors, as it’ll help to guide the blade along a precise line. Choose one with measurements in both centimeters and inches if possible, and look out for an anti-slip backing so it stays put while you work.

Hard, Flat Working Surface

A strong and level surface is essential for getting clean and accurate results when cutting fabric with scissors – we recommend using a hardwood cutting board or plastic matting underneath your fabric if possible. This will also help protect your table from accidental cuts.

Cutting Mat (not essential, but useful)

If you are looking for even more precision then a specialized self-healing cutting mat may be worth investing in (although it’s optional). These mats are designed to protect the surface underneath from any damage caused by the blades of your scissors, as well as to make it easier to draw lines for precise measuring purposes like creating bias binding or border strips on garments and quilts!

Step-by-step guide

Now that you have all of the tools necessary, let’s go over the process of cutting fabric straight with scissors, step by step.

Step 1: Prepare your working surface

Before you start any fabrication work, it’s important to have a hard, flat surface that is stable and large enough to accommodate your fabric. This will ensure the accuracy of your measurements and cuts and help protect the material from damage.

Step 2: Lay out the fabric flat

To cut the fabric straight, it needs to be laying completely flat on the surface so that it doesn’t stretch or shift while cutting. Secure it in place with weights or pins if necessary, then proceed with the next step.

Step 3: Check the grain

Every fabric has a “grain” – an arrow-like pattern on one side, which indicates how snippets or yarns lie when woven together. It is important to orientate your fabric correctly before cutting to achieve uniform bias and prevent any distortion of shape in finished pieces.

Step 4: Find a straight edge

Next, you’ll need to find a straight edge from which to measure and mark – this can be either horizontal (lengthwise) or vertical (crosswise), depending on what type of cut you require for your project. A good referring point can be the selvage line, which runs along the edge of the fabric, or you can use a ruler and draw a line instead.

Step 5: Make the measurements – check twice

Once you’ve found the right edge, start making measurements using a ruler or tape measure and marking them with a fabric marker if desired– take extra care not to miscount as mistakes could affect the final outcome!

Step 6: Mark a straight line

If preferred, draw a continuous line along the marked points with a ruler or tailor’s chalk – again taking care not to deviate from the line as this could cause wonky edges in your finished pieces!

Step 7: Cut along the line

Keeping your scissors steady and upright at all times, carefully guide them along the marked line until each piece has been cut out cleanly and accurately!

Some methods for finding a straight line

Pull a thread

Pulling a thread is a technique used when the fabric is too delicate to use scissors on. It involves taking a single long thread from the fabric and pulling it until it snaps, thus creating a perfectly straight line. This method works best when the material is finely woven and has enough strength not to break easily.

Just rip it

Ripping fabric straight can be done with some fabrics like denim, velvet, or fleece that are strong enough to resist tearing in an uncontrolled manner. Start by finding the grainline of the material and then carefully tugging at one end of the line until it starts ripping in a perfectly straight line from one edge all the way through to another.

Diagonal fold

If you want true precision when cutting, then this technique is for you! Begin by folding the fabric into four equal parts diagonally, bringing all four corners together until it forms a triangle shape. Next, take two corners of each side and fold them together again – as if you were folding a paper fan – making sure that each layer lines up exactly with one another every time you fold it over! Now use your ruler or other measuring tool to draw lines along each folded edge before later unfolding it once more and using your scissors to cut out each piece accurately following along these edges.

Align with the sides of the table

When cutting on a tabletop or other flat surface, try aligning one edge of your material parallel with either side of the table – this will give you an automatic straight line, which you can simply cut off without needing to measure or draw any lines first!

Follow a grainline or a pattern

This method requires some attention as there are many factors involved which could impact accuracy – such as how much stretch there is in your material or if your pattern pieces have been distorted from original measurements during their placement onto the fabric itself– so always double-check everything several times before committing yourself to cut that final line!

How to square up fabric for cutting?

Squaring up fabric for cutting is a simple but important step for many sewing and all quilting projects. The goal of squaring fabric is to make sure all four corners are cut perfectly at 90° angles and that the sides of the fabric are cut parallel with each other. To do this, you will need to start by finding the grainline in your material and use a ruler or measuring tape to draw two perpendicular lines across both ends of the grainline – one horizontal and one vertical. Then, use scissors or a rotary cutter to cut along these lines, creating a perfectly squared piece of fabric!

The best way to learn is by seeing how it’s done, so here is a great video that explains the process:

How to cut large pieces of fabric in a straight line

Cutting large pieces of fabric in a straight line, such as for curtains or other home decor projects, can often seem daunting. To make the process easier, start by making sure you have a large enough workspace and then use either an iron or steam roller to get rid of any creases in the material before you begin cutting. It’s also important to measure twice and cut once – marking all measurements with either a tailor’s chalk or tape first and making sure your cutting tool is razor-sharp for accurate cuts. Finally, when cutting large pieces of fabric, use either long scissors or a rotary cutter against a ruler so that each cut is perfectly straight!

Tips for cutting stretchy fabric

Cutting stretchy fabric straight can be a tricky process because it tends to stretch and shift while being cut. To ensure a straight cut, start by laying the fabric out flat on a large workspace then use a ruler and tailor’s chalk to measure and mark your line of cutting. A cutting mat can help stabilize the fabric while cutting, preventing it from slipping or moving around. Keep the material taut by pinning it in place with dressmaker pins at either end of the marked line, or weighing it down with weights. Then, using either sharp scissors or a rotary cutter, make sure your tool is perpendicular to the surface of the fabric and take your time as you cut along your marked line – this will help ensure that each cut remains perfectly straight!

Is a rotary cutter better than scissors?

A rotary cutter can be better than scissors for cutting a straight line, especially when cutting through multiple layers of fabric or when working with delicate or stretchy fabrics. While a rotary cutter can be a great option for cutting fabric straight, there are some situations where scissors may be a better choice, for example when working with thick or heavy fabrics or cutting smaller pieces. It’s important to keep in mind that the choice between scissors and a rotary cutter ultimately comes down to personal preference and the specific project you’re working on. Some people may find that they prefer one tool over the other or may choose to use both interchangeably.

Attention: This will almost certainly ruin your straight edge!

Here are a few things to avoid when trying to cut fabric straight:

  • Pulling the fabric: Avoid stretching or pulling the fabric while cutting. This can distort the fabric and result in an uneven cut.
  • Uneven surface: Ensure that the surface you’re cutting on is even and flat. Any bumps or dips can cause the fabric to shift, resulting in an uneven cut.
  • Dull scissors or blades: Ensure that your scissors or rotary cutter is sharp. A dull blade can cause the fabric to fray or result in a jagged edge.
  • Cutting on the bias: Avoid cutting on the bias unless it’s required for the pattern. The bias is the diagonal line of the fabric and can cause the fabric to stretch and warp.
  • Not measuring: Always measure and mark the fabric before cutting. Cutting without measuring can result in uneven pieces and make sewing difficult.
  • Rushing: Take your time when cutting. Rushing can result in mistakes and an uneven cut.

By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure a straight and accurate cut every time.

With the right tools and techniques, cutting fabric straight with scissors can be easy. Make sure you have a sharp pair of scissors and use a ruler or straightedge to guide the cut. Take your time and practice patience—and before you know it, you will be producing beautiful, precise cuts like a pro!