EDIT: Whenever somebody works with any materials long enough, they come up with shortcuts and techniques that save time and give better results. Last year I shared a tutorial on how to cut out felt. I got so many “thank you”s from people that followed the instructions and got the results they were looking for. I later realized there was something else I do, that I didn’t consider sharing. When cutting out 2 pieces of felt, I often staple the pattern and felt pieces together. The staples lay flatter than pins, which is why I tape, and the staples can be removed (I have broken more than 1 nail doing this, however 🙂 and most felts will be left without a trace. (Always test on your felt first to make sure it doesn’t snag of leave marks.) I will often staple pieces together with I am sewing. This prevents the pieces from sliding and keeps your work much flatter than pins. As a bonus, your thread isn’t constantly getting tangled in your straight pins. I am reposting the blog on Cutting Out Felt with the revisions in red. Hope the new techniques work for you.
One of the most common questions I get is “How do you cut your felt so straight and even?” I must admit I’ve developed a technique that works well for me that I’ll be happy to share. There may be better ways of doing it, this is just how I do it. So here goes!
The biggest secrets to great looking felt projects is to have clean cut edges. I have a couple of tricks I use. FIRST, and I can’t stress this enough, get yourself very sharp scissors. I use Fiskars Razor Edged Scissors. You can find them HERE. These scissors are at my side ALWAYS! The give a straight and very fine cut. I also own the Fiskar Sharpener. They can be found HERE. Note: I only need to use my sharpener on my old pairs of Fiskars. You shouldn’t have to sharpen the new scissors for a long time!
Then, when I’m cutting out felt, I use wide packing tape. NOTE: The packing tape can pull and stretch the felt if you are not careful. Before you use tape on your felt test it on a small piece. This technique does not work well on craft felt. The fibers are too loose and the tape will distort the felt. But it works well on high quality, dense, smooth felt. Experiment for yourself.
NOTE: Some people like to use freezer paper. I have done this on occasion. To do this print or trace your design to the dull side of the freezer paper. You can then iron this directly to the felt. I prefer the tape for a couple of reasons. First, I’m lazy. I do not keep my iron or ironing board out and I’d rather not hassle with it. Second, I have had some of the wax from the paper make some felts shiny, and lastly, I shrunk a piece of handmade felt even though I used just a warm setting on the iron. If you do like to use freezer paper, then simply skip all my comments about the tape.
How To Cut Out Felt Pieces:
1] Cut out a paper pattern rather close to the cutting edge.
2] When cutting a single layer of felt, place the pattern on top of the felt and tape all the edges of the felt down. Then, when you cut, nothing slides. If you pin your pattern on, the edges can be slightly distorted and the pattern can slip along the edges. When you are cutting only 1 layer of felt, this is a wonderful technique. The tape will never touch the finished piece of felt since it is under the pattern piece. (Note: When cutting out a single layer of felt, the tape does not need to overhang the sides, it just needs to extend beyond the pattern piece by at least 1/4″. In the picture below, I show the tape overhanging the felt. This was only done so you could actually see the tape!
3] If you need to cut out 2 pieces of felt that will be sewn on top of one another, cut them out together so they are EXACTLY the same size. There are two ways that you can do this. For the first method, start by cutting out the 2 pieces of felt about 1/2″ – 1″ larger than the pattern. Then cut out the pattern as explained above and tape it on the front piece BUT this time, make sure your tape overhangs the top piece of felt by 2 or 3 inches.
4] Now, flip over the pattern and 2 pieces of felt. Using the extending tape, tape the back piece of felt. REMEMBER: The tape can pull and slightly stretch felt. Use only enough tape to hold the pieces together. Do not press the tape down hard. And make sure there is always a part of the felt not taped on the back piece. This will be the spot you will use to help remove the tape.
5] To cut the felt, hold the felt tightly in one hand while cutting with the other. Hold the felt together close to the edge you are cutting.
6] Turn the piece over and gently remove any tape remaining on the back piece. Use a technique of removing the tape with one hand while the other slides under the tape, holding down the felt, preventing stretching.
7] You should now have 2 pieces of felt, exactly the same size, with clean, evenly cut edges.
8] The other method to cut out 2 pieces of felt at the same time is to staple the pieces together. IMPORTANT: Before stapling the felt for a finished piece, try it on an edge. This method works fine with most felt, but you want to make sure it doesn’t leave marks in the felt. Begin by taping the pattern to the top piece of felt as described above. Place a second piece of felt under it.
9] Staple the 2 pieces together near the edge. Make sure you keep the 2 pieces of felt flat and smooth. You don’t need lots of staples, just enough to keep it from slipping.
10] Cut out the felt.
11] Turn the felt over, loosen the staples, and remove.
12] In the finished piece you should not be able to see the staple holes. It really is no different than pinning the felt together, this just lays flat.
NOTE: You may also staple felt pieces together for stitching. Remember, always check on a scrap to make sure your particular felt won’t snag or show the staple marks.