Friday, May 17, 2013

HOW TO: Cut a Straight Line

Hey there, T-shirt Surgeons!

Get out your scissors. This isn't kindergarten, but we have to talk about how to cut a straight line.

**Sharp scissors are dangerous! If any young kids watch my videos and read this, please ask a parent to handle your scissors for you! I mean it, you guys! I don't want you getting hurt.**

Now, this blog is happening because so many people have commented on my videos saying they don't understand how I cut the lines in my shirts. In the videos, I usually show the t-shirt un-cut, point at the place where I'm going to cut and say "Cut here," and then the next frame shows the shirt with the line cut into it. In other words, it looks something like this:

T-shirt BEFORE
T-shirt AFTER, with one cut
In these drawings, the outside of the shirt is green, and the inside is shown in blue. So in the second drawing, you can see that there is a slice cut into the t-shirt front, because you can see the inside of the shirt through it. The way I see it, if you can think back to any craft projects you did as a kid, you can see how a line is cut in the center of your fabric. It's just like how you would cut a line in the center of a piece of paper, without cutting all the way to the edge of the paper. But just in case some people aren't with me, let's go a little more in depth!

(1) T-shirt before

Cutting Open the Seam

So here is our green t-shirt with a blue inside (1). But this time, let's start with the basics. A lot of t-shirt recon projects require you to cut open the side of the shirt, cut through a loop, or otherwise cut a line so that one layer actually becomes separated from the other.

(2) Cut open side seam
The next diagram (2) shows that you need to cut open the side seam of your shirt. Sometimes t-shirts don't have seams on the sides--they are one solid loop of fabric. All this means is that you should cut along the fold that appears when you lay a t-shirt down flat.

(3) Opened flap of fabric
When you cut along the seam like this, you also cut THROUGH the bottom hem. This leaves you with a flap of fabric, as shown in the next diagram (3). This basic cut begins a lot of projects, whether it be to resize the shirt (cut fabric out, or add more), move on to a Cut & Tie design, or any number of things.


This same technique, cutting all the way through to the hem or rough outer edge of your fabric, can be used in more places than just along this side seam. You may also have to cut open a sleeve in this manner, whether it be along the top of the sleeve (leaving you with a cool, fluttering, butterfly type sleeve) (4A), or along the bottom (which I personally do with my Cut & Tie designs, to make sure the sleeves aren't left too baggy) (4B). You might also have to cut a whole section off of the bottom of a t-shirt, in which case you cut straight through from one side to the other, separating the shirt into two pieces (4C).

(4) A, B, C - Variations

These are certainly NOT the only other places to use a cut like this! But I could go on forever, so hopefully this just gives you an idea. The things I show are usually BASIC TECHNIQUES, which can then be used in MANY other ways! Don't limit yourself to just what you've seen. These are tools you can use to create.

If you're with me so far, let's tackle the shape-cutting dilemma.

Slashing a Shape

I've done a few videos on this so far, but people still seem to have trouble with how I cut the line. If you're unfamiliar with the fabric scissor market, good fabric scissors are not cheap! I have inexpensive fabric scissors. And since my tutorial videos are long enough, I choose not to record every second that it takes me to cut, and cut, and cut... Because my scissors take a while to get through fabric. I think it would be boring and a waste of time to make people watch me cut a line when they are perfectly capable of cutting straight lines. Yet, I get questions about this. So while I am NOT giving in and showing this on video--because if you buy a How-To book, you certainly don't get real-time video of how to cut a straight line, you get diagrams just like the ones I've drawn for you here!--I will try to explain a little more here and give you cute diagrams.

(5) Shape outline!
So let's say you have a shirt, and you want to slash a circular shape on that shirt. You would probably turn the shirt inside out if you're going to be drawing on it with something permanent that you don't want to show, but in this case pretend I have drawn on my shirt with chalk or pencil, something that WILL completely wash out, so I can draw right on the front! Ah, the wonders of imagination. Anyway, you have your shape outline drawn. This is diagram (5).

(6) Cut a line here!
(7) Line has been cut!
Next, you'll want to cut your lines through the shape to create your slashes. Hence, "Slashing a Shape." (See also: Basics #3--Slashing.) So, someone like me tells you, "Cut a straight, horizontal line, from one edge of your outline to the other. Only cut INSIDE the lines you drew!" This instruction looks like (6). Then what? Well, then you think back to your art class days, poke your scissors into the fabric at one edge of the shape, and cut a straight, horizontal line across to the other edge of the shape! You can even draw the horizontal lines in with a ruler, if you want. The result is diagram (7).


You cut a straight line! See? It wasn't that daunting a task. I promise, things get a lot easier once you just try. I mean that. Some people may be watching and thinking "Hmm, I don't understand this 100% so I won't attempt it." But I think you might just be over-thinking it! This probably seems really obvious now. But now that you have one line cut, you can cut the rest of the horizontal lines in your shape, or...

GO CRAZY (8)! Cut slashes all over your shirt, in any pattern or lack of pattern that you like! Just remember not to cut all the way through the edges of your shirt, unless you want a flap hanging out, as shown in the earlier examples (1-4).
(8) Slash City!

If you're really unsure whether you've got this technique down, and you don't want to ruin a t-shirt trying it out, get a piece of paper and practice the cutting technique on that! Then, when you can see how it turned out (Did you mess up? Do something else! Did you get it right? Awesome! Carry on!), you can transfer that skill onto fabric.

Thanks so much for reading!

Happy Snipping~

1 comment:

  1. Boi I can tell people are getting on your nerves this is clearly the reason why I won't do a YouTube channel. Keep up the good work.