How To Cut Knit Fabric
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How To Cut Knit Fabric: Ultimate Guide (2024)

Cutting knit fabric can be a challenging task for both novice and experienced sewers. The stretchy and flexible nature of knit materials, while making them comfortable to wear, also presents unique challenges when it comes to sewing and cutting. However, mastering how to cut knit fabric can transform a potentially frustrating experience into a rewarding one. This guide aims to provide you with essential tips and techniques to make the process of cut knit fabric not just bearable, but enjoyable.

Knit fabrics behave differently from woven fabrics, which can sometimes lead to humorous mishaps for those new to sewing. The key to avoiding the urge to pull your hair out while learning to cut knit fabric lies in understanding and applying the right techniques.

cut knit fabric

Anyone who has embarked on a sewing project involving various types of knit fabrics knows the struggle. The very qualities that make knits stretchy and comfortable also cause their edges to curl, making them tricky to handle. But fear not, this guide is filled with helpful advice to ease the process of cut knit fabric, ensuring your sewing project goes smoothly from start to finish.

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Key Tips for Cutting Knit Fabric Successfully

Preparing Knit Fabric For Cutting 

Preparing knit fabric for cutting is an essential step often overlooked due to misconceptions about the fabric’s nature. The stretchiness of knit materials might lead some to believe they’re immune to shrinkage, but in reality, they can shrink more than non-stretchy textiles. Before you begin to cut knit fabric, it’s crucial to prewash it to prevent any changes in size, shape, or color that could occur after your garment is made.

Prewashing is vital to ensure your finished project remains unaffected by laundering. This process varies based on the type of knit fabric you’re working with, whether it be synthetic or natural fibers like cotton, linen, wool, or silk. Since homemade items don’t come with care labels, remembering how to wash the garment properly can be challenging.

For 100% cotton knit fabrics, washing in hot water and drying on a high heat setting is recommended to induce maximum shrinkage and remove any excess dye. This approach guarantees that once you cut Knit Fabric and sew the fabric, the finished item will retain its size and shape after multiple washes. For other types of knit fabrics, such as rayon, silk, lace, velvet, or fleece, prewashing in cold water and drying on a low heat setting is advisable to prevent damage.

It’s important to wash the fabric without detergent initially and avoid bleach, as it could harm the material. Pre-washing also helps to identify fabrics that may bleed color, safeguarding your project from unwanted color changes after its first wash.

Specific knit fabrics like wool, cashmere, and mohair, labeled as “dry clean only,” should not be prewashed to avoid damage. Natural fibers such as cotton and linen are more prone to shrinkage, but prewashing significantly reduces the risk of further size reduction.

After prewashing, drying the fabric thoroughly and ironing if necessary helps eliminate any wrinkles or creases, ensuring the fabric is smooth and easier to work with. Since knit fabrics can curl at the edges, ironing helps keep them flat, facilitating accurate measurement and cutting For knit fabrics containing elastane, using a lower iron temperature or a pressing cloth is advisable to prevent damage.

Choose the Right Tools to Cut Knit Fabric:

To ensure a precise and smooth cut when working with knit fabric, it’s crucial to select the appropriate cutting tools. Sharp fabric scissors or a rotary cutter specifically designed for fabric are indispensable for this task. The stretchy nature of knit fabric means that any snags or pulls can result in uneven edges, making your sewing project look less professional.

Dull cutting tools are often the culprit behind these snags, as they can catch and pull the fabric instead of slicing it cleanly through. Therefore, investing in high-quality, sharp tools is a step you shouldn’t skip if you aim for neat, professional-looking cuts in your knit fabric projects. This simple yet essential selection can make the difference between a frustrating sewing experience and a satisfying one, especially when you’re learning how to cut knit fabric efficiently and cleanly.

Finding The Grainline On Knit Fabric

Finding the grainline is a crucial step in ensuring the success of your sewing project, especially when you’re preparing to cut knit fabric. Unlike woven fabrics, where the grainline is more apparent due to the crisscross pattern of the threads, identifying the grainline in knit fabrics can be a bit more challenging but equally important. The grainline ensures that your garment hangs correctly and doesn’t twist or warp after several wears and washes.

To locate the grainline in knit fabric, you need to start by identifying the ‘right’ side of the fabric. This is straightforward when dealing with printed knits, as the side with the design is the ‘right’ side. For solid color fabrics, the distinction can be more subtle. In double knits or interlock knits, both sides of the fabric look similar, allowing either side to be considered the ‘right’ side for solid colors.

Once you’ve determined the correct side of your fabric, look for tiny vertical lines or ‘ribs’ on the surface. These are akin to the knit and purl loops found in hand-knitted sweaters but are much smaller. These lines indicate the direction of the grainline.

Stabilize the Fabric Before Cutting Knit Fabric:

Before you cut knit fabric, stabilizing it can significantly enhance the precision of your cuts and the overall ease of handling the fabric. Knit fabrics are known for their stretchiness and tendency to shift or curl at the edges, which can make cutting accurately a challenge. To mitigate these issues and maintain the fabric’s shape during cutting, consider using a stabilizer or applying spray starch.

A stabilizer can be a lightweight interfacing that you temporarily attach to the back of your fabric. This extra layer provides the knit fabric with the firmness it needs to lie flat and resist shifting, without compromising its inherent stretch and drape. Spray starch offers a quicker, wash-out option for stabilizing knits. By lightly coating the fabric with spray starch, you allow it to stiffen slightly, which can make a significant difference in handling and cutting accuracy.

Mark Your Fabric Carefully When Cutting Knit Fabric:

For an accurate and precise cut knit fabric project, marking your fabric correctly is crucial. Tailor’s chalk and disappearing ink pens are indispensable tools for this purpose. These marking tools are specifically designed to be fabric-friendly, providing clear, visible lines without damaging or permanently staining the material.

Tailor’s chalk comes in various colors to ensure visibility on different shades of knit fabric, and it easily brushes off once you’ve made your cuts. The disappearing ink pen, on the other hand, offers precision with a fine tip, making it ideal for intricate patterns or detailed markings. The ink is designed to vanish after a short period or can be removed with a damp cloth, ensuring that no traces are left on the finished garment.

Cut Knit Fabric With Confidence:

After meticulously preparing and marking your knit fabric, the final step is to cut with assurance and precision. A steady hand and a confident approach are key to following your guidelines closely, ensuring that each piece is cut accurately. This stage is crucial, as precise cuts will significantly impact the final look and fit of your garment.

When you begin to cut knit fabric, ensure that your workspace is clear and your fabric is laid out flat, without any wrinkles or folds that could distort the cutting line. Keep the fabric taut but not stretched, to maintain the integrity of its shape and size as per your markings.

Using your tailor’s chalk or disappearing ink pen lines as a guide, initiate the cutting process with your sharp scissors or rotary cutter, making smooth, continuous cuts. It’s important to move confidently but not rush, as knit fabric can be forgiving in some aspects but unforgiving in the accuracy of its cuts.

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How To Stop Knit Fabric From Curling?

Dealing with curling edges in knit fabric, especially common in jersey knits, can be one of the more challenging aspects of working with these materials. While choosing knit fabrics that are less prone to curling, like interlock and double knits, can simplify your sewing projects, the versatility and comfort of jersey knits often make them an irresistible choice despite their tendency to curl. Here are some strategies to manage and minimize curling when working with knit fabrics:

  1. Use Fabric Stabilizers: Applying a lightweight stabilizer to the edges of the fabric can prevent curling. This can be a temporary solution such as a wash-away stabilizer, which can be removed after the sewing process, or a permanent one that remains as part of the garment structure.
  2. Apply a Starch Solution: Lightly spraying the edges of the fabric with a starch solution and ironing them flat can temporarily reduce curling. This method is particularly useful when you need to stabilize the fabric for cut knit fabric or sewing. The starch adds stiffness to the edges, keeping them flat.
  3. Steam Ironing: Gently steam ironing the edges of the fabric with a press cloth can help relax the fibers, reducing the tendency to curl. Be cautious with the temperature setting to avoid damaging the fabric.
  4. Serging or Overlocking the Edges: Finishing the edges with a serger or overlocker can effectively prevent them from curling. This method is useful if you plan to leave some edges of your garment unhemmed, as it secures the knit fabric loops and adds a professional finish.
  5. Using Hem Tape: Applying hem tape to the edges before folding and sewing can also prevent curling by providing additional structure and weight to the hem.
  6. Choosing the Right Needle and Thread: When sewing with knit fabrics, using a ballpoint needle and polyester thread can reduce the stress on the fabric, thereby minimizing the potential for edges to curl.
  7. Pre-Washing Fabric: Sometimes, pre-washing the fabric can relax the fibers enough to reduce the tendency to curl, especially in fabrics that have not been pre-treated.
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Which side causes the curling of knit fabric?

The tendency of knit fabric, particularly jersey knit, to curl at the cut edges is a well-known characteristic that often challenges sewers. Typically, these edges curl towards the right side of the fabric, offering a useful hint in identifying the “right” side in solid-colored jersey materials. However, it’s not uncommon to encounter fabric where the selvages curl towards the wrong side, illustrating the variability in knit fabric behavior.

The curling of knit fabric edges, while sometimes seen as a nuisance, can actually serve as a guide in determining the correct side of the fabric for your projects. To keep track of the right side during your work, especially after identifying it, you can apply a piece of painter’s tape to the right side as a reminder.

Addressing the issue of curling edges in jersey knit fabrics requires a gentle approach to avoid exacerbating the problem. Here are steps to help manage and minimize curling:

  1. Avoid Stretching the Fabric Edges: Stretching can increase the tendency to curl, so handle the fabric gently, especially after cutting.
  2. Use Spray Starch in a Well-Ventilated Area: Since spray starch can contain flammable substances, it’s safer to apply it away from the iron and in a well-ventilated area, like a laundry room. Focus the starch application on the edges that are curling.
  3. Secure the Fabric Edges for Ironing: With the fabric wrong side up, gently uncurl the edges and pin them to the ironing board to keep them flat.
  4. Test Before Ironing: Always perform a test iron on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric to ensure that the heat setting is appropriate and won’t damage the fabric.
  5. Iron Without Steam and With Pressure: Use a hot iron without steam, pressing down rather than dragging across the fabric. This helps the starch to dry and flatten the edges without causing the iron to stick or damage the fabric. If necessary, use a pressing cloth to protect delicate knit fibers.
  6. Repeat as Needed: You may need to repeat the process on different sections of the fabric until all the curled edges are treated.

This video will help you learn more about how to cut knit fabric:

This Video Is Taken From The Last Stitch YOUTUBE Channel

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on How to Cut Knit Fabric

What is the best way to cut knit fabric?

The best way to cut knit fabric is by using sharp fabric scissors or a rotary cutter on a flat surface. Ensure the fabric is lying flat without any stretches or distortions. Mark your cutting lines clearly with tailor’s chalk or a disappearing ink fabric pen for accuracy.

How do I prevent knit fabric from curling while cutting? (Cut Knit Fabric)

To prevent knit fabric from curling, you can use spray starch or a fabric stabilizer on the edges before cut knit fabric. Ironing the edges flat with a low heat setting can also help. Choosing knit fabrics that are less prone to curling, like double knits or interlock knits, is another effective strategy.

Why is it important to find the grainline on cut knit fabric?

Finding the grainline on knit fabric ensures that your garment hangs correctly and stretches in the right direction. Cutting off-grain can lead to garments that twist or stretch oddly, affecting the fit and appearance.

Can I use regular scissors to cut knit fabric?

While you can use regular scissors to cut knit fabric, fabric scissors or a rotary cutter are recommended for a cleaner, more precise cut. Regular scissors may not be sharp enough, leading to snagging and uneven edges.

How do I stabilize knit fabric for cutting (Cut Knit Fabric)?

Stabilizing knit fabric can be done by using a temporary adhesive spray, a wash-away stabilizer, or spray starch. These methods help keep the fabric from shifting or stretching as you cut.

How do I mark knit fabric without damaging it? (cut knit fabric)

Use tailor’s chalk or a disappearing ink pen designed for fabric use. These marking tools are gentle on fabrics and provide clear, temporary lines that guide your cutting without leaving permanent marks.

What should I do if my knit fabric edges curl after cutting?

If the edges of your knit fabric curl after cutting, you can lightly spray them with starch and iron them flat. Make sure to test the iron’s heat on a scrap piece first to avoid damaging the fabric.

How do I choose the right knit fabric for my project?(cut knit fabric)

Choose your knit fabric based on the project’s requirements. Consider the fabric’s stretch, weight, and drape. For garments requiring more structure, opt for knit fabrics with less stretch, like ponte or scuba. For more drapey, flexible garments, jersey or rayon knits are ideal.

Can I cut multiple layers of knit fabric at once?

Cutting multiple layers of knit fabric at once can save time, but it requires precision to ensure all layers are aligned without shifting. Use pattern weights and a rotary cutter for best results, and check the alignment frequently.

What do I do if my fabric scissors or rotary cutter gets dull?

Dull cutting tools can snag and damage knit fabric. It’s important to sharpen your scissors or replace the rotary cutter blade regularly to maintain clean, precise cuts. Specialty sharpeners for scissors and replacement blades for rotary cutters are readily available at craft and sewing supply stores.


mastering the art of cut knit fabric can transform your sewing projects from frustrating to fulfilling. By preparing your fabric correctly, choosing the right tools, finding the grainline, stabilizing the fabric, marking it carefully, and cutting (cut knit fabric) with confidence, you can ensure clean, precise cuts every time. Addressing the challenge of curling edges, a common characteristic of knit fabrics like jersey, with techniques such as using stabilizers, spray starch, or simply selecting less prone-to-curl fabrics, can also enhance your sewing experience.

Remember, patience and practice are key. As you become more familiar with the nuances of working with knit fabrics, you’ll find yourself navigating these challenges with greater ease and confidence. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced sewer, embracing these strategies will not only improve the quality of your work but also expand your creative possibilities.
!! Happy sewing !!

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