Cutting Fabric

missflippinsFebruary 23, 2012

I never gave much thought to whether I am cutting the fabric correctly. As you can see in the photo, I line up a line on the ruler with the fold of the fabric to get a straight cut first before I cut strips. I have never removed the selvage edge first and it occurred to me that pherhaps I should.

Thanks for setting me straight.


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Corrine, Your choice.....some do and some don't. I don't cut it off until the fabric is cut.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 6:33AM
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I agree with Sharon

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 7:23AM
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I do as you do... I don't cut the selvedge first nor do I save it. (There are some people that save the selvedges for projects)

[Oh, and CLOSE THAT CUTTER when you put it down! lol Having little children around here, it's something I see/think of all the time!]

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 7:43AM
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Does anyone ever rip and then trim? I was taught that in order to get the grain right, ripping would do that? or was I led down the garden path?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 8:22AM
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I do rip large pieces of fabric. If I know I need six 2 inch strips, I rip a piece 13-14 inches wide, press, fold and trim. I have never ripped my individual strips.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 8:27AM
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It depends if I wash the fabric or not.

If I make my project w/o washing the fabric, I cut w/o removing the selvages.

If I need to wash the fabric first, then iron, I sometimes have a selvage that puckers. I will definitely cut off the selvage in that instance, to allow the fabric to lay perfectly flat.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 9:10AM
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When I do rip, it is only the first edge, as does grammyp, then I know I can cut on grain. But when I have long border strips, I rip lengthwise, then trim to clean the edge. I find it hard to keep on grain on a long strip.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 9:25AM
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With cotton production going off-shore, I find the quality of the weave and printing really degenerated. You bet I rip to find the true grain at least once in each large piece. If you don't and trust it to be true, you could make major parts of a quilt on the bias, but not even a true bias.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 11:14AM
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I remove my selvages as I collect them as well as not having to remember that they are there. I rip. I always straighten the first cut by ripping, then I trim the frayed edge. I agree that I can't trust the grain as it is done in the stores or printed on the fabric.
I almost always rip my borders to keep them even. If they need straightening I press them carefully to put them on track.
I don't rip strips that I will use for piecing unless I plan on re-cutting them into smaller pieces .
From what I see and have seen from your work you are right on track with what you are doing, if it works for you I wouldn't mess with it.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 1:39PM
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I don't rip often, but reading all these responses I'm inspired to get better about doing that. I haven't been burned often by poor quality weave but often enough so I know I should check it each time.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 2:21PM
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I am a ripper - and I agree with calliope, it is even more important to establish an on grain edge if there is a problem, better to find out before it is in the quilt. I had a huge problem with an expensive piece of fabric I bought at my LQS. I had to change the entire pattern because the design was so off grain. I needed a basket weave look or I would have ditched the fabric altogether and not used it. Fortunately, I discovered this problem when I ripped it to get it on grain before cutting.
I try to use the length of the fabric for borders, so I will rip a slightly wider piece, press,& cut the width I really want.
Some people cringe at ripping, claiming it weakens the threads.
Sometimes I wish I had removed the selvages beforehand, but never do - I had to cut a new square the other day as the selvage ended up on the edge.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 2:47PM
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I don't cut the selvage. I don't rip either. May be I should. I am cutting a zillion 2.5" strips from a single fabric and the last few I cut are not looking good.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 3:04PM
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I've never ripped, but after reading all of these, I'm thinking I should start. :-)


    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 3:44PM
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The author of one of my MANY quilting books suggests that after the first strip is straightened and cut, that it is a good idea to check again after every 3rd or 4th cut to be sure the grain is still true. A slight miscut here and there can add up to a problem later.
Do I do that every time? No, but I should.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 4:03PM
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I learned to quilt with Eleanor Burns,long before cutters and mats and even before she became well known.We had to tear all our strips,you don't know how scary that was for us.I took the class with a couple of friends and we couldn't believe that our quilts would turn out well with all that tearing.

Now i just tear the first piece to get it on grain,then rotary cut the rest.

Oh and by the way,please remember to close those rotary cutters when you put them down even if you don't have kids.I worked in a quilt store,and heard and saw lots of results of not closing them .

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 4:27PM
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Thank you all for your input! I think after reading all the posts, and trying the ripping on a couple of pieces of my fabric that I'm going to rip a first strip and then line up the ruler to the fabric the way I have been doing. As far as the great advice to close the cutter - thank you! I should know better, but now I'm sure I'll pay better attention. Those things are very sharp indeed.

Best Wishes - Corinne

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 5:10PM
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