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Thread: which way do you cut your fabric?

  1. #1
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    I was reading the new quilt books I got for Christmas--all by Judy Martin. She suggests cutting fabric along the selvage, rather than folding selvage to selvage. I think I've been doing it the other way for too long to change now. :roll: Besides she says usually it's a half yard so is 18 inch strips--I often buy more than a half yard. She says to layer 4 fabrics flat--no folds and cut through all of them. Yikes. Sounds like trouble to me.

    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Diamonds's Avatar
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    I do my cutting the same way you do.. I fold my fabric salvage to salvage x2 and cut my strips.. I have no problems with that method....

    Does she say why it should not be done that way?

  3. #3
    Super Member nanabirdmo's Avatar
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    interesting, barnbum.
    i always cut selvage to selvage also.
    i learned that material is stretchier selvage to selvage than lengthwise. therefore we should cut borders parallel to the selvage, and straight (non bias) binding should be cut selvage to selvage. i don't always follow those rules but the stretchy part is true.
    i hadn't heard that we should make all cuts along the selvage. what was her reasoning?

  4. #4

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    There is a TEENSY TINY bit more stretch across the width of your fabric. Not enough to worry about, unless you are cutting borders. Even then, I only cut lengthwise if seams will show (in solids or directional patterns, for example)

    I wonder why she says "it's usually 1/2 yard". Is she talking specifically about cutting fat quarters??

  5. #5
    Super Member sewmuch's Avatar
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    I still cut selvage to selvage, thats the way I was originally taught.
    Borders are cut lengthwise, less seams. My thought was if you cut
    the material at the fold it would be 22 inches, as most is 44/45 wide.

  6. #6

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    I cut selvage to selvage. Unless I'm cutting vines for applique, then I cut on the bias. When I cut on the Bias their is alot of stretch in the fabric for creating vines with curves and tendrils.

  7. #7
    Super Member zyxquilts's Avatar
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    Selvage to selvage for me too. I often fold it one more time too, and then cut from the bottom fold up.

  8. #8
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    Here's what she, Judy Martin, said
    ",,,Lengthwise strips are not only more stable and follow the print better, but they are also less stretchy. This is an especially important consideration for Log Cabin quilts because you want to cut the long sides of the rectangular logs following the more stable grain."

    And from the other book: "...Your grandma would marvel at your fancy sewing machine and your rotary cutter and all the wonderful fabrics you have. And they she'd wonder what in tarnation you are doing cutting crosswise strips! If you are not already doing it, the time has come to rediscover the wisdom of your grandma and her peers. Gran would say, 'My lands, girl! Lengthwise strips would give you more stable grain....'" Later she says "Still not sure? Try these tests. Hold a piece of fabric with your hands 6" or 8" apart on the crossgrain. Bring your hands together, then quickly pull the fabric outward with a snap. Now repeat on the lengthwise grain. Even with the selvage removed, the lengthwise grain is significantly firmer, as you will note by the crisp snap on the lengthwise grain as opposed to the dull thud on the crosswise...."

    And "Lengthwise strips have the long side of the strip parallel to the selvedge. Strips can be any length, but I generally use 18" strips, which can be cut from fat quarters or half yard lengths...."

    I cut out many pieces for my barn quilt tonight--and tried cutting some lengthwise. It was convenient because they were small pieces.... I'll see if I notice any improvement.

  9. #9
    Senior Member annmarie's Avatar
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    I'm an old timer - have sewed lots of clothes. Took a class when I was 16 & learned that the length of the fabric along the selvage was much less stretchy than the width.

    Started quilting 2 years ago & could never understand patterns that said to cut WOF. I always cut parallel to the selvage. Can't teach an old dog new tricks I guess!

    And I never fold the fabric to get more with one cut. More time intensive but I think, much more accurate 1 cut at a time. Of course, I always was a slowpoke...........

  10. #10

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    I don't think I would bother, except, as I said, for borders. And not even all of them.

    Our grandmothers didn't have the consistent quality of fabric we work with now. I like Judy Martin's books a LOT, but I think this is one "tip" I will ignore.

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