How to Minimize Fabric Wastage during Cutting

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: September 3, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Sewing fabric is a fun and relaxing way to get creative. 

But, fabrics aren’t like what they used to be. 

Seeing as how the price of everything is increasing at an expedient rate, minimizing fabric waste is imperative. 

You’ll get the most fabric for the money.

Use this guide on how to minimize fabric wastage during cutting. 

You’ll learn the tips, tricks and techniques of the trade while saving money and reducing waste. 

Plus, there are tidbits about the various factors causing wastage and poor fabric utilization.

Inspect Fabric before Buying

When you’re at the store deciding on your fabric, inspect it for any defects and fraying. 

This will ensure you have a good piece of fabric with the least amount of waste. 

You won’t have to cut around any defective areas while ensuring a solid weave.

Plan Well Ahead of Time

Spend the time configuring your fabric before cutting. 

Use a piece of chalk or other marking implement that won’t stain the material. 

If you’re using a direct pattern, lay it out on the fabric and configure the pieces. 

Do this in such a way that gives you enough room to cut but won’t leave very much fabric behind.

Cut on a Flat Surface

After planning where to cut on your fabric, be sure to cut it on a flat table or on a clean floor. 

Use some weights to hold the fabric down to prevent sudden movement from tugging and pulling. 

It will allow for an even, unobstructed cut which will means producing less waste.

Use a High Quality Scissors

Make sure the scissors you use are sharp and stable with a precise cut. 

Poor quality scissors may force you to destroy  potential seams and joints. 

This can make the cut misshapen and difficult to work. 

A clear, even cut not only helps reduce wastage but gives you a more accurate sewing experience.

Save Your Bits; Pieces

After cutting the fabric into the various sections, save the pieces and tidbits. 

Don’t simply toss them into the trash. 

You can repurpose these pieces for quilts, pillows, decorative elements for future projects and other things where you need a tiny amount of fabric.

If you have massive amounts of bits and pieces, organize them by color, texture and size. 

It will make it infinitely easier when you want to find these later on. 

You can use small plastic storage bins or craft organizers for this.

Discarding Fabric

In the case you want to throw away old bits and piece of fabric, consider taking it to a recycling center that accepts fabric and similar materials. 

This way it won’t end up in a landfill and it can go into something good like fiberglass. 

Plus, some places will give you a little cash for doing so.

Depending on the fabric, you could burn it in your fireplace or backyard bon fire too. 

This way you’re reusing it for energy purposes. 

Finding your own ways to reuse and repurpose fabric bits is an ingenious way to save money.

Download an App or Software

There are a plethora of apps and software available to help with cutting fabric. 

Most of these are for mass-producing garments. 

But, there are some that are great for personal use. 

It will really depend on how much you sew and what your budget will allow.

The All About Fabrics App is most affordable. 

Download this to your phone and calculate the right amount of material for any garment. 

The Calculations and Measurements sections will help you get the most out of your fabric while minimizing waste.

Frequent sewers may want to invest in something like a CAD machine. 

It’s pricey but worth it to help reduce fabric wastage. T

here are an infinite number of software programs built just for CAD that cater to sewers, from hobbyists to professionals.

Get a Fabric Cutting Machine

If you’re a frequent sewer, you might want to invest in a fabric cutting machine. 

They’re essentially dye cutting machines you preprogram. 

These take the guesswork out of how to utilize the fabric to get the most out of it. 

What’s more, it saves your hands and arms from the stress of prolonged and strained cutting.

The following is a list of some of the most popular:

  • Cricut: This machine and its various models can cut a multitude of fabric types. The custom settings and user-friendly operation makes cutting fabric easy once you get the hang of it. You can cut and write or cut and score in one step with the additional advantage of connecting a smart device. The cuts are precise, allowing for a range of sizes between ¼” to 11½”.
  • Brother Scanncut: This cutting machine has an enhanced scanning feature with RGB color recognition and a large LCD touchscreen. There are over 600 built-in designs with the capability of reading SVG files. You can connect to cloud-based web apps for editing and designing your own patterns.
  • Silhouette Cameo Cutting Machine: With a sleek design and embossing feature, this cutter is one of the easiest to use. The digital display makes it ideal for industrial situations too. This can do a majority of the work for you and can handle cutting items up to 12” wide and 10 feet long.

Final Thoughts

Following these simple tips, tricks and ideas can be a great help in reducing wastage during fabric cutting. 

It’s the best way to save money while getting the most out of the fabric. 

Of course, investing in a cutting machine or other computer software will go even further in reducing fabric wastage.

But, if you’re not a person who sews often, it may not be worth the investment. 

In this case, you’ll have to do it by hand. So, plan your cutting well in advance. 

Ensure you cut with a high quality scissors on a clean, flat surface too. 

Any faulty or defective tools, including the fabric, can create more waste than is necessary.

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