HomeDecTech: Pulling Threads for a Straight Cut

It is important to cut fabrics square and straight.  You can mark cuts using long rulers and t-squares but often the fabric is slippery, and no matter how hard you try it moves every time you make a mark.

There is another way!  Pulling threads to mark a cut-line is a timeless sewing technique that works great.

Use this on sheer, slippery fabrics or if the pattern is printed off-grain like the floral linen in the example below.  Linen is also known to stretch and shrink – pulling a thread for a straight cut was a good idea for this project.

You can master this technique with a little patience and practice.  Some fabrics are easier than others.  Follow the steps below to learn how!  I also made a short video which you can view here: How-To Video

Step One

Clip the selvage and separate one of the threads.  This is known as the weft; fibers that are woven horizontally across the material from selvage to selvage.  (The warp threads run vertically).




Step Two

Gently pull the weft thread, gathering up the material as you pull.  When the thread breaks off, flatten out the material and you will see a line created by the missing thread.  This is your straight cut-line.




Step Three

Cut across to the point where the thread ended, pull out a new thread and continue across the material to the other side.











Now that you have learned how to pull a thread…try this!

With practice you can learn to pull the thread and cut all in one motion.  This is much faster and a fun thing to show-off to your sewing friends. With sharp scissors, pull the thread against the blade of the scissors and cut and pull the thread all at the same time.  The tension of the pulled thread helps to keep the scissors in-line and you can cut-pull-cut all in one motion.




I hope you will give this technique a try!

Best Wishes,

Susan AKA HomeDecGal





  1. Jann from Newton Custom Interiors at Sep 03, 2013 04:41:18

    Great tip Susan! I have done this for sheers, but not very often for printed fabrics. Love the pulling and cutting in one step tip!

  2. Deb Cronin at Sep 03, 2013 06:15:08

    holy cow. Pull and cut all at once! I had no idea! I wish I had known about that for the panels I just made…..
    Always something to aspire to!
    thanks for a great tip, Susan…..

  3. Frances Pusch at Sep 04, 2013 04:32:53

    Another great technique from the coolest sewing geek!! Gotta try that cut-pull-cut…

  4. HomeDecGal at Sep 06, 2013 07:42:11

    Wow! Comments from such talented professionals makes me feel very proud. :) Thank you.

  5. Diana at Oct 11, 2013 02:15:53

    Love your tips, but some fabrics you can’t pull a thread and have design match.
    Often in printed fabrics , the fabric may not have been set straight at beginning of printing, and thus design is “off” especially noticeable on geometric prints! Or fabric has a finish on it and it is off grain! ( drives me crazy as a drapery fabricator for 28 yrs!)
    And industry standards allows a certain margin of error to still be consider a first quality, even in high end fabrics! ( this really bugs me!)
    So on those fabrics you need to square up fabric, but I’m so glad you mentioned pulling threads or you can actually tear sheers or velvets ( unless a diagonal/twill weave or embroidered)
    I get fabrics from stores, washed linens or cottons that they have just cut, and by the time it is straightened up by pulling a thread, you’ve lost 5-10″, which they generously allow for, but what a waste for business owner.

  6. HomeDecGal at Oct 11, 2013 06:09:26


    Thanks for taking the time to share! You make a great point. There are times when cutting to the the pattern motif…even if it is off grain, is necessary. When the finished project is something with fullness like a gathered valance or dust ruffle then cutting a little off-grain is better than the flower drifting up or down as you go across.

    Projects that need to be flat and square – like roman shades will need to be cut straight. A pattern that is uneven across the grain will look awful for something like this. It would drive me nuts!

    And then there is the buffalo check that is not only woven with unequal checks, but is drawn and smiling at you. :)

    Best Wishes,

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