Tuesday, July 23, 2013


by Lotte Baerends

In General
There are different tools to cut fabrics. I will discuss a few of these tools. Which tool is the best depends on the type of fabric is being used and what de desired result is.

Scissors can cut materials by placing a material in between the two blades. The blades then slide next to each other cutting the material. They have small equally sized handles and come in a large variety sizes and qualities. Usually scissors are used for cutting paper or packages but scissors can also be used for cutting fabric. If they are used to cut fabric, they should only be used to cut fabric. Cutting other fabrics would make the scissors dull.


Shears look very similar compared to scissors. They both use sliding blades to cut materials, but the shear on the other hand have a different design for cutting fabric. One side of the shear has an larger handle, so it can be hold with a couple of fingers and the thumb in the other smaller handle. There are different types of shears. Shears should only be used for cutting fabric as well to prevent it from becoming dull quickly. The dressmaker’s shear and pinking shear are used for cutting fabric.

The dressmaker shear has straight blades and an handle that is off-set in an angle. This way the lower blade is able to stay flat on the surface. The fabric doesn’t have to be lifted this way which allows you to cut with a smooth motion.

The pinking shear is an tool that can be used for cutting and trimming fabric. But are mainly used for cutting fabric seams. The blades of the shear are jagged so it breaks with the thread pattern. This keeps the seam from unravelling.

Rotary Cutter

The rotary cutter is very similar to a pizza cutter. Except the rotary cutter has an extremely sharp blade so it can smoothly cut through fabric. The rotary cutter should be used on a cutting mat. This cutting technique allows you to cut very accurate. The tool comes in different scales. A larger wheel makes it possible to cut through multiple layers of fabrics. But doing so will most likely make your cutting work less accurate. This cutting technique is a very swift one and can save you a lot of time.

Hot Knife

The hot knife is an tool which is used to slice the fabric using heat. A metal blade is attached to an electric handle which heats the blade. The heat of the blade will melt the fabric and divide it into separate parts. This technique only works on a synthetic/polyester fabric because these fabrics are able to melt. With a hot knife you should cut on a surface which can stand heat, such as glass. When cutting fabric with this tool, the cutting edges don’t unravel. It also gives a lot of freedom in shapes you can cut.

Another useful tool when cutting fabrics is the ruler. This can be used when cutting with a rotary cutter or a hot knife. Keep in mind that the ruler is suitable for the technique of your choice.

Laser Cutting Machine

This tool works with a laser beam. The laser beam has an high temperature which can divide the fabric. As an result of the high temperature the edges are sealed or the faying is eliminated. The laser cutting machine can take orders up to 60 feet/18 meters of fabric. A design can easily be made in an adobe illustrator, pdf or AutoCad format for example.