What is notches in sewing

What is Notches in Sewing?

The only thing that makes sewing crafts more and more exciting is each day, you learn and overcome a new challenge that makes your work perfect. When you are doing a sewing project, you come across slopers, patterns, different types of fabrics, and much more. They all are related to each other and connect in the process of sewing. Once you master them all and going well in your project, you come across one more thing called, Notches.

What are notches in sewing? Well, out of all the important factors that directly impact the appearance and experience of the final garments, product depends on notch is one of them. Once you cut them well, your sewing will be smooth without any distortion. There’s almost zero chance of crippled seamline or hemline.

Key Takeaways

  • Notches are made on fabric to help to keep the dress even when you are going to sew.
  • They appear as normal cuts, but there are different types that impact your sewing in different ways.
  • It is necessary to prepare your fabric before cutting notches so that you don’t make mistakes while sewing.
  • Knowing the importance of notches and their types helps you in the sewing process.

What is Notches in Sewing

In sewing, a notch is simply a small cut made on one edge of two pieces of fabric so that they will fit together perfectly. This simple adjustment will save you from sewing difficult seams later.

The notching line is drawn from the corner of one piece to the corner of the other with your ruler. And then, place the two pieces’ flush with each other and pin them together, but if necessary, then cut out the line around the notched area.

Remember to always draw guidelines using a ruler when lining up your fabrics for sewing. Without this information, notches would be difficult to achieve a perfect alignment in sewing which would end up in the undesired result.

Types of Notches in Sewing

A professional sewing pattern will normally be marked with notches on the edges. The notches will differ slightly depending on the expert who created the pattern, but in general, they will be similar in appearance.

Types of notches in sewing
Types of notches in sewing

Generally, there are three types of notches you’ll come across in sewing:

  • Diamond notches
  • Triangle notches
  • T notches

1. Diamond Notches

A diamond notch is a triangle formed by two halves pointing outwards from the seam allowance line.

2. Triangle Notches

There are two types of triangle notches: those with the point pointing inwards and those with the point pointing outwards, like diamond notches. You can use either one of them.

3. T Notches

T-notches look like the letter ‘T’ and the long In a T-notch, the long line comes in from the pattern edge, and the short line is rounded off within the seam allowances.

There are two lines running from the pattern edge into the seam allowance, the longer one comes from the edge, and the short one flattens off, forming a letter ‘T’ shape.

Preparation for Notches in Sewing: Step by Step

Of course! Notching is an essential part of sewing, and it’s important to do it correctly. That’s why you must know things to do before you cut notches in your sewing project.

Step 1. Choose and Cut

Start by choosing the fabric for your dress and then cut out the pattern of it. Make sure you use sharp scissors or a rotary cutter for a better result in cutting.

Choose and cut
Choose and Cut

Step 2. Mark The Notches

Examine your pattern pieces and sketch out the seamline. It’ll help you to identify the area for notches. Then select your notch model: triangular, inward, or upward and mark them through the fabric edges.

Mark the notches
Mark the notches

Step 3. Apply The Notches

Once your notch marking is done on the sloper or on your demo pattern, it’s time to recheck them before you cut them out.

Apply the notches
Apply the notches

Step 4. Cut and Pin 

Now place your sloper or demo pattern on your fabric and cut out the notches. Make sure you keep the pieces together by clipping them by pin or other relative materials.

Cut and pin
Cut and pin

Where Do You Put Notches on a Sewing Pattern?

Let’s start our brief on the practical fundamentals of notches by knowing where to place them and how. Well, in each step of sewing, there’s a difficulty, but with proper guidelines, everything in this journey becomes a challenging pleasure. Notches are no different from that.

It is necessary to mark the notches on the Front and back pieces of the pattern. The notches should be about 1/4 inch apart.

Make sure that the notches on the back and front pieces of your pattern overlap by about 1/4 inch. Ensure that all the edges are perfectly aligned, so there are no gaps or wrinkles.

Using a waistband buttonhole machine, sew together the two pattern pieces, and trim away any excess fabric afterward.

Trim the extra threads off your notched piece before attaching it to your garment.

How to Cut Notches in Sewing?

How to cut notches in sewing
How to cut notches in sewing

There are 2 main ways you can cut sewing notches:

  • Outward
  • Inward

There are other methods for cutting notches on your fabric, but the most popular around the world and suggested by sewing experts is, Outward. They say it has less chance of making a mistake and cutting too far in and distorting the seam.

Simply cut outwards in a “V” shape. If the notch on your pattern points in, then just cut out from it.

To cut inward notches correctly, follow the pattern’s angular lines very carefully, and always keep in mind that they should only be cut at about halfway through.

Notes on Cutting Different Notches

You can cut out triangular notches both upward and inward. It is as simple as it sounds. Just be careful and observant while cutting them. Remember, always cut using just the top of the scissors. 

Outward Cut Triangular Notch

Cutting the notch outwards creates an outward triangular fabric extension and is better for sewing. It has no chance of accidentally cutting too far into the seam allowance or too close to it. This notch-cutting consumes a bit of time, but it is worth the purpose to fit the garment pieces together. They take you a bit of extra time to cut, but they are certainly worth it when it comes time to actually put the garment together.

Inward-cut triangular notch

Cut the seam allowance into a triangular shape for cutting these notches. Keep in mind that notches should only be marked at about halfway through the seam allowance from the edge of the fabric inwards- never too close to the actual seam line. When cutting triangular inward notches.

Why are Notches in Sewing Important?

Since we already know what a notch is and its purpose of it in sewing, let’s have a brief look into why it is important. Notches are just small marks you’d make on your pattern pieces and fabric to help you sew correctly, right? But it serves your sewing and dressmaking more than that. The notches make sure your finished garment looks professional and fits you well.

Marking and cutting notches in your fabric maintain the accuracy of your pattern pieces matching. Even it ensures that your seams and curves meet up seamlessly. In patterns that have multiple pieces or complicated shapes, even the smallest error in alignment can cause an entire garment to become distorted.

As a result of notches, the sewing process becomes easier and more efficient. You can easily see where and how pieces need to be aligned and how they fit together by marking your fabric pieces with notches, saving you time and frustration during sewing and preventing mistakes and errors.

7 Uses of Notches In Sewing

There are several points where notches are used across the whole dress. However, it depends on the dress and its pattern too. Here’s a quick overview of them:

  • Balance points
  • Centre back & Front
  • Gather Notch
  • Grainline Notch
  • Pleats and Tucks
  • Pocket placement
  • Stitching line

1.   Balance Point Notches

It gives you the flexibility you need while sewing, such as armholes, hems, necklines, etc., by providing access to the fabric to stretch whilst sewing.

Balance point notches
Balance point notches

2.   Centre Back and Front Notch

You’ll find them on pants and shots back, necklaces, etc. You’ll see them on all back pattern pieces showing where the center back is.

When working with pattern pieces that go beyond the center front, such as skirt fronts or pants fronts, you can use one to indicate where the center front is.

Centre back and front notch
Centre back and front notch

3.   Gather Notches

The beginning and end of the gathering on a sewing pattern are indicated by a wavy line.

Gather notches
Gather notches

4.   Grainline Notch

Using grainline notches at the edges of patterns can help you place the pattern on the fabric, in addition to showing the direction of the grainline arrow on patterns.

Grainline notch
Grainline notch

5.   Pleats and Tucks

It is also a good idea to use notches to mark each notch and fold the line for pleats and tucks. This ensures that pleats and tucks are evenly spaced and attractive.

Pleats and tucks
Pleats and tucks

6.   Pocket Placement

In pattern pieces, notches can be used to indicate the location of pockets when they are sewn at the edges.

Pocket placement
Pocket placement

7.   Stitching Line Notch

It is important to note that the notch for the stitching line is used as an indication of where the stitching line should begin and end.

Stitching line notch
Stitching line notch


Tools for cutting notches in sewing?

There are plenty of sewing cutters available for notches. Ensure the cutter or scissor you pick cuts 14 inch/6mm.

What is the most common type of notch for cutting?

The outward notch is the most popular notch cut in the fabric for any type of dress. It is traditional and better serves its purpose.

What do notches do?

Notches in sewing a fabric keep the seamline straight along the critical areas like the hemline and other bends of a dress.

Final Thoughts

The notches in sewing are essential for sewing enthusiasts, fashion designers, or anyone who does it as a hobby. Its ability to ensure a better fit is essential for any garment maker. As a sewer, learning how to cut and identify notches will not only help you create garments that look professionally finished but also help you save time from having to make multiple adjustments. With these benefits in mind, it’s important to learn the basics of cutting and applying notches when first starting out with making clothes or other fabric projects.


Hey I’m Sherry Howes an expert in sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. With a passion for fiber arts and a talent for crafting, I Have spent years improving my skills and sharing knowledge with others. Whether teaching a class or creating a new project, I’m always excited to share my love of crafting with the world. I like researching new techniques and trends in the crafting arts community.

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