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Thread: beginner question about squaring fabric

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    beginner question about squaring fabric

    Sometimes I get a piece of fabric that doesn't square up, selvage to selvage and then ripped edge to ripped edge. When that happens, do you use the ripped edge or the selvage as your guide for the straight grain? (please forgive if terms are messed up)

  2. #2
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
    Blog Entries
    If both ends have actually been ripped, then you can pull it into square. If the ends have been cut, then I press the crease in it with the selvedges meeting (like it came off the bolt) and square it with the crease.
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  3. #3
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    I was taight that it is not really important that fabric grain be straight when cutting for quiilting unlike ctuuing for sewing for clothing. The cut peices for quilting are usually small so the straight of grain does not matter. I do not like to tear fabric due to i think that it really distorts the fabric. I place salvage edges together, fold fabric in half and straighten the left edge using using the folded edge as a guide.

  4. #4
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Bigsister63 is right, grain isn't as important for quilting as for clothing. But, I still like the fabric to be pretty square. I'm afraid that the blocks will get wrinkled looking if things aren't at least a little square. Washing the fabric will remove a lot of the sizing (starch) that is put on the fabric in the manufactureing process. When they fold and wrap the fabric it can get twisted. And, you can stretch (corner to corner) to help as well. The salvage edge is the true lengthwise line but the crosswise is the grain that gets off square.

  5. #5
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Wine Country-Southern California
    I would trust more the torn edge, and never the printed design which is usually never printed square.....
    and yes the fabric can be pulled back into square by pulling on opposite points......
    my personal best advise is doing spend too much time on this, just the best you can do with a mininal amount of time. Squaring up the finished blocks is so much more important, and sewing a true 1/4" seam.
    I personally like to have my blocks finish oversize, so I can square down to a perfect finished size.
    Yes that is a real picture of my hometown Temecula, California. We feature premiere Wineries, World Class Golf Courses, Pechanga Indian Casino and Hot Air Balloons

  6. #6
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Texas, USA
    I would wash it, before cutting! After you wash and dry it, it'll have assumed it's "permanent" shape and then you can decide how to cut.

    By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.
    ~Richard Dawkins

  7. #7
    Senior Member cmw0829's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Boston, MA area
    I don't rip as I think it distorts the fibers where ripped and there could be some fabric loss if trimming to get to undistorted threads.

    I fold the fabric selvage to selvage and then hold it up horizontally. I shift the selvages between my fingers until there are no "wrinkles" or appearance of shift of fabric to the left or the right. When done, the fabric appears to be hanging straight down to the fold. This usually works well but then I usually add this step:

    I continue to hold the selvages together in one spot with one hand, as per above step, and grab the fold in the other hand and then hang the fabric vertically. If the selvages meet down the length of the fabric, I'm golden. If not, I do a little more shifting of the selvages until they meet. Once I've done this, I continue to hold the selvage as earlier and then shift my hand holding the fold to another point on the selvage and lay the fabric on my cutting table.

    Hope this is clear and that it helps. Let me know if it's not clear.

    ETA: If the fabric length is longer than I can hold, I will fold it in half holding it in the center point and examine the meeting of the selvages on both sides.

    ETA2: What Neesie says. I always perform the above steps after washing.

    ETA3: Sorry folks...I think this is an important step as cutting "off-grain" results in more fraying - IMHO.

    I promise - done now.
    Last edited by cmw0829; 09-19-2012 at 06:47 AM.

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