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Thread: Newbie quilter with a question on cutting fabric

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Newbie quilter with a question on cutting fabric

    Hello! I've been reading on this board for quite some time and finally decided to register. I've been an avid embroiderer for many years now and have always wanted to take up quilting. My grandmother and her 5 daughters all quilted so I figure it's just in my blood. My Dad told me how when he was growing up they used to all work on one quilt at a time. The quilting frame was tied to a pulley on the ceiling and they would lower it at night and then raise it to get it out of the way. With 9 people in a 4 room house I can imagine space was at a minimum. I've always been interested in sewing and started making clothes when I was in my early teens and been at it for 25 years now. My first atempt at a quilt a year or so ago I just jumped right in and cut, sewed, quilted, finished. Not real pretty but not totally bad either. Anywho, I decided I'd better learn some about it before I tackle any more projects. I bought a ton of books and have been reading and learning a lot. I find myself constantly saying to myself "well that's how it's done!".
    Anywho I've come across a question I can't seem to find an answer to so I figured this was the place to ask. When a pattern calls for yardage, say 2 yards of this fabric, 1 1/2 of that fabric, etc. do you cut the fabric into managable lengths before cutting it to size? Say for instance, do you cut it into 1/2 yard lengths to get it straight and align the fabric grain?

    Any help and advice is greatly appreciated by this newbie!

  2. #2
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Northern Michigan
    welcome- happy you decided to join in- it is a great place to learn & share
    to answer your question- it really depends on the pattern- before you cut any yardage into smaller pieces you should read through the whole pattern and make sure you won't be 'shorting' yourself somewhere along the way-
    sometimes you are cutting say---7" strips- if you cut your yardage into 1/2 yard lengths (18") you would only be able to cut (2) 7" strips- and would have 4" of (waste)
    or you may need to cut long borders-
    so, always read through the pattern before any cutting- but if it comes out ok- and makes it easier for you to handle- by all means go ahead.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  3. #3
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Southwest Kansas
    I cut the fabric into lengths that are multiples of the size I'm cutting plus about an inch for squaring up. You're less likely to end up short if you make sure your cut is a multiple of the size you're cutting.

  4. #4
    Senior Member breezyquilts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Hi and welcome!! I think the largest size of cut I work with is about two yards. One yard cuts are easier to work with and I wouldn't cut it smaller than that.

  5. #5
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Bosque County, Texas
    Considering the amount of trouble different people have had with shrinkage and fading, I wash, starch and iron the uncut fabric first. Then I cut the largest pieces for my pattern, and so on down to the smallest. I never cut the fabric except to cut out the pieces to quilt. I find it much easier to decided on fussy cuts, etc. when I have the whole fabric to consider.
    Last edited by TanyaL; 01-29-2012 at 03:56 PM.

  6. #6
    Super Member frarose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    St Louis, MO
    Most quilt patterns I have worked with have fairly good instructions on cutting so I just follow the patter and never ever cut my yardage into smaller pieces beforehand.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Brynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    I usually order several yards of fabric, and when I'm working with them I fold them S-wise; meaning, I fold it from side to side starting at one end until I get to the other. That way I have a stack I can gradually unfold as I'm cutting, and I don't ever have to worry about over or undercutting my fabric. It's also helpful in cramped quarters like mine, because I can stack them all up on top of each other and just swap out 'bolts'.

  8. #8
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    I read over my pattern first to see what cuts are needed for piecing. Sometimes you are required to cut the borders from the long pieces first before anything else. I leave all my fabric in it's required length and cut and fold as needed. After cutting the biggest pieces off, I fold my fabric lengthwise to fit the size of my cutting matt. I then fold the length up to fit onto my table at the left of where I am cutting. Everyone has their own favourite way and you'll have to find yours.

  9. #9
    Super Member tjradj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    London, Ontario, Canada
    Blog Entries
    Since you're relatively new to quilting, but not sewing, my recommendation would be to stick to the pattern requirements until you're really comfortable with quilting math. Sometimes the difference in having enough fabric or not is less than a couple of inches. If you loose that by cutting the fabric, it would be tragic. Once you're comfortable with how to calculate how to cut your needed pieces, then go for it
    I used to be "hot", now it's just "hot flashes!"

  10. #10
    Super Member AnnieH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    North Essex, England
    Welcome to quilting, it sounds like it's truly in your blood with your rich heritage.

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