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Thread: cutting or tearing

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Some friends stopped by this morning while I was getting ready to make strips for a child's quilt which then I press and cut into squares They are quilters and and were shocked to see me do this. Told them I've been doing that since I worked in a variety store some 60 years ago...now that is giving away something. We always added on two inches and ripped. When I cut strips for the quilt and need a 5 1/2 inch square I rip a 6 inch of washed fabric, iron them and then cut the 5 1/2 inch strip and then into squares. Never have I had a problem with this unless it was some striped fabric or border fabric but then it hasn't happed often as I make a practice rip. Have had perfect stipes doing it this way and they couldn't believe it and showed them on a piece of stripe fabric I had. This does not always work as printing is sometimes off on the fabric...not on grain. Are there other rippers here?

  2. #2
    Power Poster
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    If I have a long piece of fabric, and I only want a half yard or so off it to cut into smaller pieces, I will rip off that half yard.

    Then I press the ruffles down. If I'm cutting small pieces of the 1/2 yard, I just "cut" - it seems to me that tearing first and trimming would waste fabric.

    I will also tear the selvages off before sewing backing pieces together. My LAQ suggested making 1/2 inch seams on the backing. So I can live with the torn edges there.

  3. #3
    Power Poster dkabasketlady's Avatar
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    I try to only "rip" fabric if I need a very long piece for a border(I don't usually like to piece borders if I can help it). That's how my DM taught me & she's been quilting 50+yrs., so I guess it can't be all bad. It also depends on how "lazy" I am that day, do I want to take the time to cut a long border! The small pieces I cut.

  4. #4
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    If you look at the ripped edges under a microscope, you will see that there is damage to the fibers extending about a half-inch in from the rip. This damage won't show up immediately, but over time seams along those edges will be more likely to pull apart and fray. This means a utility quilt might not last as long as it otherwise would, and is of particular concern to quilters interested in making heirloom quilts that are to be passed down through the generations.

    I would have no problem ripping fabric along the length of grain for a border, but I would rip it at least one or two inches wider so I could cut off any damage from each side.

  5. #5
    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    My opinion is that it's a wasted step to rip and then cut. I just cut once.

    But Hey! That's why we're here - to see all the options that are out there.

    One thing I've always said:
    Ask, listen, read, learn . . .then make your own decision.
    After all you have to live with it.

  6. #6
    Pineapple Princess's Avatar
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    I rip backing, but I hesitate to do it on the top.

  7. #7
    Super Member Melinda in Tulsa's Avatar
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    The one and only time I ever ripped, it came out crooked as all get out! Now I just cut.

  8. #8
    Luckynumber7's Avatar
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    I cut because that's how I was taught, but I read that one reason for ripping is to get the fabric edge straight with the grain. I guess it's stronger that way or something...

  9. #9
    Power Poster ann clare's Avatar
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    I cut but I think that the choice is yours. Both are okay.

  10. #10
    shaverg's Avatar
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    I also am a ripper. I even rip my printed borders to make sure the print comes out right and even around the fussy cut border. I never cut afterwards. If I need a 2 1/2 strip that is what I tear. Been doing it for over 25 years, never with a problem. No wavy borders, the threads aren't a problem. In fact I cut 4 1/2 borders yesterday. I had more little treads than when I tear. Once you tear you can pull one sring the length and that is is. I have a bunch on long eyelashes on my border from the ones I cut, after you have worked with them a while. I always shake my quilts after finishing to shake off loose threads. Boy that is when I saw all the loose little threads on my rotary cut border, not so on the ones I have torn.

    Ripping borders does not do anymore damage than the threads that are broken when you sew a seam. Where do most garments and quits wear? Around the seam. Sewing does a lot more damage than tearing. Don't be afraid. LOL My grandmother tore all her strips. She has been dead 40 years and died at 80. I still have her quilts no more wear than any quilts I have made in the last 20+ years.

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