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Curtain making - how do you make sure you cut the fabric in a straight line?

(14 Posts)
TheYearOfTheCat Tue 04-Aug-09 10:09:08

This may sound like a silly question.

I am about to start making very long curtains (6 lengths, of 2.7m each - heavy weight fabric). I have always found it really difficult to cut fabric in a straight line - any tips?

Also, if you were joining 2 lengths of fabric side by side, would you use a french seam?

Many thanks.

FlamingoBingo Tue 04-Aug-09 10:12:49

straight lines - one thing is to buy fabric with some sort of pattern that you can follow. Otherwise, just make accirate measurements and marks at frequent intervals and join them all up.

I would only use a french seam if it was going to be seen, so if you're lining the curtains then don't bother.

TheYearOfTheCat Tue 04-Aug-09 10:49:53

Thanks - I haven't bought the fabric yet - but I think I am going to go for lucca stripe by Laura Ashley - so vertical stripes.

I have always been quite envious of their cutting tables, and was considering getting them to cut each length in-store - but they probably won't do it.

nickelbabe Tue 04-Aug-09 10:52:59

vertical stripes should be easier: just make sure you're always at a right angle with the pattern (you can use a set square for that)
mark your line all the way along at regular intervals and with chalk (so you can rub it off if you need to)

stealthsquiggle Tue 04-Aug-09 11:18:25

I would only use a french seam where the 'wrong side' of the seam could be seen. If you are joining lengths of fabric, then it is presumably the ends (top and bottom) of the fabric you are cutting? In which case there are 2 options:

1. find somewhere large enough to lay it out - draw the line with the help of a metre rule and ideally a set square, and then cut carefully with the largest sharpest scissors you possibly can.

2. trust to the fact that the pattern has been printed straight, make a small cut in the right place and then tear the fabric - it will tear straight on the grain.

CMOTdibbler Tue 04-Aug-09 11:26:13

If you get a rotary cutter and rule, then you can fold the fabric a few times and cut through it all - much the best way to get a straight line ime

Bettymum Tue 04-Aug-09 11:31:14

Ah, I was about to say rotary cutter. That is how I do my curtains. Much easier than scissors.

TheYearOfTheCat Tue 04-Aug-09 13:03:55

I have never heard of a rotary cutter!

Off to google.


Bettymum Tue 04-Aug-09 13:20:32

It's a bit like a pizza cutter, but for material . You need a special mat as the blade is very very sharp, and a clear plastic rule - quilt supply shops will sell them.

PurpleFrog Wed 05-Aug-09 15:09:58

I use a rotary cutter and a steel rule (metre length) for curtains. Be careful what material you buy. When I laid out the material for the last curtains I made, I discovered that the pattern had been printed off-grain. I nearly returned it, but decided I liked the material too much. Anyway, I ended up cutting the material at an angle and letting it hang for ages before hemming. What a faff

Thistledew Wed 05-Aug-09 15:13:26

Pull out a thread - make a little cut at the point where you want to cut the fabric then get hold of one or two threads and pull them out. You will then have a perfectly straight line to follow when you are cutting.

Size6Feet Wed 05-Aug-09 22:04:47

As a curtain maker of over 25 yrs I would advise:- Do not pull a thread (Fabric may have been stored standing up and therefore have a curve in the middle). Snip and rip likewise may not rip in a straight line and you've wasted precious fabric.
Striped fabric is great for ensuring a straight line.

Proceed thus:
Move your lounge furniture out of the way. Lay out your fabric and fold it in half the long way.
(If you need 100" then lay out about 120" of the roll)
Keep the long side edges straight.
Fold up the first say, 45", SO at 45" you have a fold across the width of fabric. If you move THIS fold up to meet the cut line you will then have a straight line to follow to cut. Pin it or chalk it. Move the fold out of the way so you dont cut into it.
This way, you will be starting off from a level,straight cut edge.
Measure each length seperately with a tape measure - not by putting one length on top of the previous as the lengths will get slightly longer each time.

I have taught a few people over the years and a straight line is the first thing to work out as all things start from this.

The second is please use the longest stitch length on your machine for curtains.
A french seam only if its unlined and on show from both sides. Good Luck.

Size6Feet Wed 05-Aug-09 22:14:50

Oh, just noticed its 6 widths of heavy fabric at 2.7m lengths. If its thick I would suggest a single hem for this as doubled over would be way too bulky. You could turn up about 5" (13cm). Zig zag the cut end first to stop it fraying.

TheYearOfTheCat Thu 06-Aug-09 16:51:07

Thanks size6Feet. I will let you know how I get on. I have also just enrolled on a soft furnishing making course starting in a few weeks time! Looking forward to it. smile

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