Sewing & Pattern making Terms

Clip / Notch

Clip and notch are fundamental techniques employed by seamstresses and pattern makers to achieve precise seam allowances, ensure proper fabric alignment, and facilitate smooth assembly during garment construction. These techniques play a crucial role in creating professional-looking garments with accurate fit and finish.

Purpose and Importance: Clipping and notching serve several purposes, including:

  • Easing fabric around curves: Clipping and notching allow the fabric to adjust smoothly around curved seam lines, preventing puckering or bunching and ensuring a clean and even appearance.
  • Aligning seams accurately: Clipping and notching aid in aligning seams accurately, helping to match different fabric pieces seamlessly and achieve proper seam allowances.
  • Reducing bulk: By removing excess fabric or creating small wedges at specific points, clipping and notching help reduce bulk in seam allowances, leading to smoother and flatter seams.


Clipping involves cutting small, triangular-shaped incisions into the seam allowance along curved areas of the fabric. This technique allows the fabric to spread and lay flat, preventing strain on the seam and ensuring a smoother finished edge. Clipping is typically done on concave curves, such as armholes or neckline curves.


Notching entails cutting small, V-shaped incisions or wedges into the seam allowance along curved or angled areas of the fabric. This technique helps eliminate excess fabric and reduces bulk in seam allowances, allowing the fabric to lie flat when the garment is turned right side out. Notching is commonly used on convex curves, such as princess seams or waistlines.

Proper Technique

To ensure accurate and effective clipping and notching, follow these guidelines:

  • Use sharp scissors: Sharp scissors are essential for clean and precise cuts. Dull scissors may result in frayed or jagged edges, compromising the quality of the fabric and the final garment.
  • Cut only into the seam allowance: It’s crucial to limit the clipping or notching to the seam allowance and avoid cutting into the garment’s main body to maintain the garment’s structural integrity.
  • Space evenly and strategically: Space the clips or notches evenly along the curved or angled area, considering the fabric’s weight, thickness, and the degree of the curve. Strategic placement ensures even distribution and effective easing or reduction of bulk.
  • Use markings as a guide: Align the clips or notches with the pattern markings or notches to maintain accuracy and facilitate precise fabric alignment during assembly.
  • Test on a scrap fabric: It’s always advisable to practice clipping and notching techniques on a scrap fabric before working on the actual garment to ensure a confident and controlled approach.

Clipping and notching are indispensable techniques for achieving professional-looking garments with accurate fit and smooth assembly. By incorporating these techniques into your sewing and pattern making process, you can ensure clean curves, reduced bulk, and precise alignment, resulting in well-constructed and visually pleasing garments.

Got Questions?

Melissa Villegas
Pattern Maker &


Melissa Portrait

Villegas Patterns

Recent Patterns

Need A Tutorial?

For detailed and in-depth instructions, watch my pattern tutorials on YouTube