How to Keep Sheer Fabric From Sliding When Cutting for Sewing

Written by k.c. winslow
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How to Keep Sheer Fabric From Sliding When Cutting for Sewing
Sheer fabrics are difficult to cut. (summer silks image by Barbara Carlile from

When using sheer fabrics to sew drapes for the living room or as part of a formal dress, people often encounter problems with the fabric slipping around. Unlike thicker fabrics, sheers have a tendency to move around while you cut because they are lightweight and have a slippery surface. Fabric that slides around is difficult to cut smoothly. Use basic tissue paper to stop fabric from slipping while you are cutting it.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Large, flat table
  • Cutting mat (optional)
  • Fabric
  • Tissue paper
  • Sewing pins or silk pins
  • Pattern
  • Sewing scissors

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  1. 1

    Lay the fabric out on the table on top of the cutting mat. The cutting mat is optional, but it will protect the surface of the table from scratches from pins and scissors. When cutting sheer fabric, it is preferable to use a larger surface to avoid slipping. Don't allow too much fabric to hang over the edges of the table, as it can seem to pull itself over the edge.

  2. 2

    Layer the tissue paper around the fabric so that there is one piece on either side. Pin the three layers around the edges. The tissue paper adds weight to the fabric so that it won't slide while you are cutting. You may use standard sewing pins or silk pins. Silk pins are excellent for delicate sheer fabrics because they are thinner, and create a smaller hole in the fabric.

  3. 3

    Fold the fabric, if necessary, and lay out the pattern pieces. Pin into place.

  4. 4

    Cut the tissue paper/fabric/pattern "sandwich" carefully with sharp sewing scissors. Dull scissors will tear at the fabric, causing it to fray.

Tips and warnings

  • In addition to tissue paper, you can also use tearaway or wash-away stabilisers to add weight to the fabric and make it easier to cut. Not all stabilisers are appropriate for delicate sheer fabric. Check the manufacturer's instructions to select an appropriate one for your fabric.
  • Some crafters recommend using weights to help hold the fabric in place on the table while cutting.

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