How to Cut Your Linen Straight and On Grain

The beauty of linen's looser, visible weave is the wonderful ability to be able to cut your fabric accurately and on grain. Never again will you have to worry that your newly made napkins or pillowcases will come out of the wash all wonky and in need of a wrangle with the iron! You won't need any fancy rulers here, just some patience and maybe a ... bar of soap?  (Trust us, we're linen people)


The following techniques are easier the larger the thread you're working with, so it will be a breeze on your 4C22 heavyweights and heavier. But, we've got a few tricks to make your time with your finer linens like the silky IL020, a bit easier. Scroll through and give them a try!

1. Pull a thread
Pulling a thread along the warp/weft (length or width) will leave a gap in the fabric which will help you cut a straight line, on grain.
Simply mark out where you want to cut, make a snip in the fabric, and tug at the thread gently, pulling it out of the fabric as if you were gathering the fabric.

Fabric shown here is the lightweight IL020 Bleached PFD

You can also use the pulled thread as a guide for cutting too, and if you lose it, you can use a pin to pull up the thread again.
Fabric shown here is the mediumweight IL019 CRIMSON FS Signature Finish 

2. Pull away threads from the selvage
Trim away the selvage of your fabric (which is the nice finished edge of your fabric on each side) and pull away any short threads to expose the one continuous unbroken thread. Trim away any small fringe created by removing the threads.

Fabric shown here is the mediumweight IL019 CRIMSON FS Signature Finish 

3. Use a Pin
Take the tip of a pin and gently but firmly, drag the pin across the grain line of the fabric. You will notice the pin will lightly catch on the surface of the fabric and automatically run alongside one thread, leaving behind a light impression of a straight line. This is an easy trick to mark a straight line perfectly on the grain without using a ruler or chalk.

Fabric shown here is mediumweight IL019 ANTIQUE WHITE Softened

4. SOAP?!

This is a great trick for our finer fabrics like the IL020 and IL030 where you may find that the thread breaks easily.
Run a bar of white, light colored, or dye-free soap (so it won't stain your fabric) along the line of thread you want to pull. The soap will cover the threads and make them easier to slide out. Then, when you wash the fabric, the soap will wash out. 

Fabric shown here is the lightweight IL020 Bleached PFD

Note: Don't forget to wipe down your scissors or blades after cutting on the soap lines to preserve their sharpness, and be careful not to sew over the soap with your sewing machine later. The soap may gunk up your needle, which can cause missed stitches and troubles with your bobbin. 


Fabric shown here is the lightweight IL020 Bleached PFD

Voila! One continuous thread pulled away and a nice straight line to cut. You can also pull a second or third thread to make your line easier to see and follow.



Now you can cut your fabric straight every time you need t with these handy tricks!

I like to use a rotary cutter and self-healing mat to help me cut a nice straight line, following my pulled thread gap. I find it more precise than using my big fabric shears!


Do you have any other tips or tricks? Add them as a comment below!

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