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Thread: accurate cutting

  1. #1
    Super Member quilter1's Avatar
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    I have just finished cutting the pieces for Sawtooth Square blocks, and despite my best and carefull cutting, some of the squares are not accurate. Does anyone have tips for cutting? It seems like such a simple thing when I have been quilting for years. Do I need to go back to a beginner class?

  2. #2
    Super Member lisalovesquilting's Avatar
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    Maybe your ruler is slipping. Try "walking" your hand up the ruler as you cut. Like this: cut, move your hand, cut, move your hand... Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Did you prewash the fabrics? Prewashing removes the manufacturer's sizing, which helps stabilize the fabric.

    Whenever I am concerned about accurate cuts, I starch the fabric before cutting (and I don't prewash!). Heavy starching makes the fabric more stable and results in more accurate cuts. It also keeps cut edges from stretching from handling.

  4. #4
    Super Member redquilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    Did you prewash the fabrics? Prewashing removes the manufacturer's sizing, which helps stabilize the fabric.

    Whenever I am concerned about accurate cuts, I starch the fabric before cutting (and I don't prewash!). Heavy starching makes the fabric more stable and results in more accurate cuts. It also keeps cut edges from stretching from handling.

    Question about starching - do you use spray starch and iron the fabric?

  5. #5
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    I put the little sandpaper dots on all of my rulers. It does keep the ruler from slipping.

  6. #6
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Some people spray starch. I always seem to have a terrible time with it, overspraying and having my iron too hot so it scorches the starch and makes the iron gunky. So, I came up with the following method for starching yardage that is faster and easier for me.

    For very heavy starching (say, background fabrics for machine applique) I stir up a 1:1 solution of Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch and water, lay the fabric out on my kitchen island, and "paint" the starch mixture on with a large wall painting brush. When the fabric is saturated, I toss it in the dryer and then iron with starch. The fabric comes out with the stiffness of cardstock and is completely stable.

    For cutting regular quilt pieces, I don't prewash the fabric and get sufficiently accurate cuts that way. If I did prewash, I would use the above method with a 4:1 solution of water to liquid starch (a much lighter starch solution). The fabric won't come out stiff, but will have enough stability for cutting and piecing.

    I have used the heavy starch method when cutting bias strips for binding. It worked great! The fabric doesn't wiggle under the cutter and the cut edges don't distort from handling.

    A different way to get accurate cuts for piecing is to get an Accquilt Go! or studio die cutter. Expensive, though.

  7. #7
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I wasted too much fabric by having bad cuts. That's how my scrap basket filled up. I tired everything. I bought the Accuquilt Go and have never looked back. Also using jelly rolls and the pre cut packs of fabric are excellent for accuracy. Some say they are too expensive. All I have to do is look at my scrap BARREL to think NOT.

  8. #8
    Super Member redquilter's Avatar
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    Prism99 - thanks for the indepth info. Much appreciated. I don't prewash either and don't have much trouble cutting, but you gave good advice in the event I need it.

  9. #9
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Hmmm.... I meant to say I iron with "steam", not starch! I never used to make typos like that when I was younger......

  10. #10
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    I use my own special spray, it's not starch, but it gives a sizing to the fabric.

  11. #11
    Super Member redquilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    Hmmm.... I meant to say I iron with "steam", not starch! I never used to make typos like that when I was younger......
    There's a lot of things I never used to do when I was younger.............

  12. #12
    Senior Member spinnergs's Avatar
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    Sharon Schamber (quilt wizard) has some excellent quilting videos on her web site and on you tube. All quilters need a review from time to time. lol

  13. #13
    Senior Member crashnquilt's Avatar
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    I do prewash all my fabrics. I don't use fabric softner nor dryer sheets. I take the fabric out with a bit of dampness to it, I use Sta-Flo starch with 1to1 mixture, spray it all over very well, use a dry iron and iron until dry. The fabric is almost as hard as paper and cuts very easily.

  14. #14
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    Very interesting articles thanks for sharing!

  15. #15
    ToucanSam's Avatar
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    Good thread! I had some problems with 60 degree triangles-starching helped.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oklahoma Suzie
    I use my own special spray, it's not starch, but it gives a sizing to the fabric.
    You have piqued my curiousity! Would you care to elaborate on this mysterious concoction??

  17. #17
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Starching the fabric and I also found that putting the clear non slip vinyl on the back of my rulers helped a lot, It keeps the ruler from slipping when I press down, but I can still move the ruler around too.

  18. #18
    Tink74's Avatar
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    If it is a quilt that you plan to use daily, is there a unwritten rule to pre-wash fabric first? Or 'can' you not prewash and starch, then wash a daily used quilt once finished and end up with same results?

  19. #19
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bibiche
    Quote Originally Posted by Oklahoma Suzie
    I use my own special spray, it's not starch, but it gives a sizing to the fabric.
    You have piqued my curiousity! Would you care to elaborate on this mysterious concoction??
    I'm curious too. I have read about a 50/50 vodka water solution that people use and they add a drop or two of fragrance. I'm planning to make some without the fragrance.

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