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Thread: How to true up fabric for cutting?

  1. #1
    PTM
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    How to true up fabric for cutting?

    My apologies if this has been addressed. I did a search but couldn't find anything. Then I got sidetracked reading all of the other interesting tutorials!

    I've seen YouTubes on truing up fabric using the fold/selvedge "wiggle" method. I can kinda do that. But what if the fabric is longer than 1 yard or longer than a person can hold up comfortably? How do I do that, then? I swear, truing and measuring are so hard for me!

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    Wash and dry the fabric to get rid of finishes that can distort the grain. Press well, then pull a thread on an uneven end. Trim off the amount on the uneven side of the little space left by pulling the thread. Now you can fold the fabric in fourths and line up the end edge, trim off a smidgeon to make a superclean edge, then measure and cut. Large amounts like backings, I clip and tear.

    I have eyeballed the edge and did the wiggle and shake, but it's not as reliable as taking the time to pull a thread, IMO.

  3. #3
    Senior Member 4dogs's Avatar
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    I usually resort to tearing it..............but does that REALLY make it even on the ends? not sure...........

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    and yes, that REALLY makes the fabric straight...it goes along ONE thread in the woof.... do i do this for quilting? no... i tear anything i need to be straight (like borders) but for piecing.... fold (holding the fabric with thumb and forefingers approx a yd apart ON the selvedge sides... straighten this area (by this i mean shift one side of the folded fabric back and forth till the fold on the bottom is straight and flat), pin on both ends of this yard and the straighten the next area, which will be easy as you have begun the straightening. When folded for cutting with no ripples, i trim the end square with the ruler... square to the folded edge and the selvedge...they should be parallel... that's what happens when you get rid of the ripples. now that the end is square... cut your strips and squares and triangles... they will be flat and the right shape... the tiny amount offgrain a small quilt piece is off is simply not pertinent. square up and then cut...they will lay flat and you are working in a few minutes instead of wrestling with a fabric that has been heatset offgrain (or you wouldn't be having problem, and don't kid yourself, they heatset cottons as well as synthetics... it's part of the finishing process) and will take you a ton of time and still will not lay completely flat because you are trying to make it do something it does not want to do....

  5. #5
    PTM
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    Thanks! These are good advice. I didn't know that about the pulling/tearing. Doesn't tearing leave little fringes? Or does that not matter?

  6. #6
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    If it will be cut up for piecing, just straighten a little as you go. I take a straightening cut sometimes every 18". Those dang rulers slide sometimes. I always do a straightening cut with one fold. I will fold it a second time and use a shorter ruler when I cut strips that will then be cut into pieces. The shorter ruler doesn't slip as much.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PTM View Post
    Thanks! These are good advice. I didn't know that about the pulling/tearing. Doesn't tearing leave little fringes? Or does that not matter?
    i've never had the 'bruised' edges show outside the seam allowance... i do it all the time when making my borders and i like lots of borders...

  8. #8
    Super Member lizzy's Avatar
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    I tear my fabric every now and then and I found that some of the better fabric does not tear well. The weave will stretch out of shape and I lose as much as 1/4 inch so I always cut my better fabric. If it is a large piece, I straighten my fabric as I go, never the entire length at once.
    Lizzy in La.

  9. #9
    Super Member Arleners's Avatar
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    I straighten out as I go, sort of using the wiggle method. After I while, you get a feel for if the fabric is straight, even if I don't hold it up in the air. I used to do the two ruler thing to get a straight edge, but then saw a Fons and Porter thing where they just cut the first strip oversized and trim the uneven strip in a second step. Then the fabric edge is straight. I agree that you need to check every 18 inches and might have to realign the fabric.
    Arlene

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