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Thread: Does tearing fabric weaken it.

  1. #1

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    I'm making cafe curtains for a great grandchild's nursery and the only way that I know to get exactly 6 panels the same length is to tear the fabric, which I did. This was expensive fabric from my LQS but when you finish a bolt she will discount it by 30 % so I bought it. When I tore it I cold see where some of it snaged and it frayed quite a bit. Any thoughts on this?

  2. #2
    Super Member nursie76's Avatar
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    I used to think that tearing was the best way to get it straight, but I think it distorts the fabric and that part needs to be trimmed off, so there may be a little more waste.

  3. #3
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    Sometimes it is worth it if I am dealing with lots of yardage. Just plan for some waste.

  4. #4
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I don't tear mine. I think it does distort the fabric.

  5. #5
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    I usually tear my fabric. If I am making a lot of strips or have to cut long pieces for borders etc it is the only way I can keep them straight. The stings are a pain but keeping the grain straight is very important. Some LQS in my state only tear their fabrics. It is also a dead giveaway if the print is not straight.

  6. #6
    Power Poster dkabasketlady's Avatar
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    I also tear mine if I'm using it for borders. I don't like to cut long lengths of fabric.

  7. #7
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Almost all fabric used to be torn when you bought it. The stores had a measuring thing they pulled the fabric thru and when it was the amount you wanted they'd push on it and it would cut a notch and then the clerk would tear the fabric.

  8. #8
    skpkatydid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    Almost all fabric used to be torn when you bought it. The stores had a measuring thing they pulled the fabric thru and when it was the amount you wanted they'd push on it and it would cut a notch and then the clerk would tear the fabric.
    I remember that.

  9. #9
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    I tear mine when getting strips for my backing. I then will use a 3/4" seam allowance to avoid the part that is stretched a little. I find it is much easier to get 2 or 3 panels around the same size, there's a tiny bit of waste but sure work the time savings.

  10. #10
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    I saw an article about this many years ago. A quilter compared torn fabric edges to cut fabric edges under a microscope. She was horrified to find damage to the torn fabric that extended at least 1-inch, often 2-inches, and occasionally 3-inches in from the edge. These areas would be the first to weaken and give way in a quilt, and she wanted her quilts to last for many decades, so she went to her stash and cut off all the torn edges of her fabrics 3-inches in.

    Does anyone here have a microscope? I'd be very interested in checking this out myself if I had a microscope!

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