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Thread: Best way to get large yardage to cut straight

  1. #1
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    Best way to get large yardage to cut straight

    I have washed, dried and ironed my 6 yards of fabric. I know that you are supposed to hold/fold the fabric salvege to salvege and slide the salveges until no wrinkles show on the fold. I can do this in 1 yard increments somewhat without getting "bendy" strips when I need to cut accross width of fabric. I do run into problems when yardage goes beyond my initial 1 yard (or less) cut plane. Should I just cut up my yardage into 1 yard increments, or struggle with the remainder in order to keep the yardage on the straight-of grain? This has bothered me for years! Looking forward to the talented and wise advice from this board.

  2. #2
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    I can usually manage 1 to 1.5 yds max. However, in order to maximize my fabric
    usage, I plan how many squares and strips I will need. Make a little diagram and
    see how many strips/squares fit in one yard. Then I can adjust a little more or a
    little less. I always add one or two inches for safety. Does this makes sense?

  3. #3
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I also cut my yardage down to make it more manageable. Usually a yard; sometimes 1-1/2 yards.

  4. #4
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I always cut my yardage into half yards to sub cut. I have better control and can keep the fabric perfectly aligned. When I use my Go to cut strips I use a yard of fabric at a time.
    Got fabric?

  5. #5
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    I always cut large amounts down to manageable pieces. I find that anything more than 1.5 yards is too hard to handle and make sure it straight on the grain when I cut.
    -Chris-
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyPeezy View Post
    I can usually manage 1 to 1.5 yds max. However, in order to maximize my fabric
    usage, I plan how many squares and strips I will need. Make a little diagram and
    see how many strips/squares fit in one yard. Then I can adjust a little more or a
    little less. I always add one or two inches for safety. Does this makes sense?
    This is our method also. I say OUR because DH and I do most of the cutting together. He runs the rotary cutter.
    Cheryl Robinson
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  7. #7
    Senior Member petthefabric's Avatar
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    I wouldn't want to have cut it into 1 yd pieces only to find that I need borders 1 1/2 yard long. And I like to cut binding the length of fabric with the fewest joins possible. Therefore, I leave it in 1 large piece. When folding, I put the selvages together every 1/2 - 3/4 yd & keep holding the previous segment in one hand, the fabric folds accordian style. When I'm all the way through the yardage, I hold it up and let it drop into a fold at the other side. Then I gently lay it down and pick it up again along the fold about every 1/2-3/4 yard. While holding the total yardage this way, I shake it so the grain will straighten out. Then lay it down again and either fold it accordian style or in half, then in half, again and again until its the size I want to store.

  8. #8
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    Surely if you are planning kaleidoscope quilts you can't cut down .how would it be to use the clips or clamps to hold in place or just fold in half and rinse dry before using again. I would not be in favour of cutting in case I need a longer length.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  9. #9
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i keep my yardage long. i do it the same as petthefabric. if my queen quilt needs borders, i want to be able to cut them LOF in one piece.
    Nancy in western NY
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  10. #10
    Junior Member Suzette316's Avatar
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    Since I too like my borders (and sashing, when applicable) cut as one whole strip rather than pieceing them, I usually take large cuts of fabric and cut them down into 2 yard pieces. This way, it's manageable to fold, but if I want a long cut from them, I have plenty of fabric to do so. The way I line up the selvedge and fan-fold is the same as PetTheFabric.

  11. #11
    Senior Member bunniequilter's Avatar
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    I tear my borders first then cut the fabric into smaller pieces.
    Quilt outside of the box!

  12. #12
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    I recommend the same method as bunniequilter. Tear your fabric, and you'll always have a straight edge! This is also good to remember when making backs. My friend is a longarm quilter, and she doesn't appreciate getting backs that aren't "square up"!
    psumom

  13. #13
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    I do as petthefabric and QuiltnNan do. It's not hard to manage at all. I also resquare the cut edge every so often as I'm cutting. I never cut fabric into smaller pieces than I need at that particular moment.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  14. #14
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    Thank you all for your advice. I have learned several things here.
    1. Know what size quilt you intend to make before you cut.
    2. Know the cutting instructions of the pattern you intend to use in order to make best usage of yardage. Some patterns call for cutting border strips "length-of-fabric" first, before cutting other strips the width of fabric.
    3. It is "OK" to cut large lengths of yardage down to workable lengths. 3 yards is long enough for a king size quilt!
    4. After getting the fabric on the straight of grain with salvege to salvage, I think I will pin every half yard through the salveges to keep it from shifting as I go to the next yard and the next. I might even pin at the fold line also.
    Then I can fold the whole piece in half lengthwise bringing the fold line up to the salveges. From there, I can fold accordian style as Petthefabric suggested.
    Again, thank you all for your suggestions. Very insightful for me.

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    I learned something new this morning. Thanks.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Canada Kate's Avatar
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    I buy fabric specifically for backing, so that yardage I never cut down. For other fabrics that are not intended to be backings, generally speaking I buy 3 metres of fabric at a time, and I find I can manage to fold it selvege-to-selvege and then fold it again for storage using the ruler folding method.
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  17. #17
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I also never cut mine. do not want to find out later that I need a longer piece and have to buy more.

  18. #18
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by corklass44 View Post
    I have washed, dried and ironed my 6 yards of fabric. I know that you are supposed to hold/fold the fabric salvege to salvege and slide the salveges until no wrinkles show on the fold. I can do this in 1 yard increments somewhat without getting "bendy" strips when I need to cut accross width of fabric. I do run into problems when yardage goes beyond my initial 1 yard (or less) cut plane. Should I just cut up my yardage into 1 yard increments, or struggle with the remainder in order to keep the yardage on the straight-of grain? This has bothered me for years! Looking forward to the talented and wise advice from this board.
    I hold one hand on the lower left corner, put other a bit over a yard farther in on the top side, then swap, keep moving down the fabric that way. Gets fabric in a little better shape, although some will never get straight.
    Bad Spellers of the World
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyPeezy View Post
    I can usually manage 1 to 1.5 yds max. However, in order to maximize my fabric
    usage, I plan how many squares and strips I will need. Make a little diagram and
    see how many strips/squares fit in one yard. Then I can adjust a little more or a
    little less. I always add one or two inches for safety. Does this makes sense?
    I agree!!!!!

  20. #20
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by petthefabric View Post
    I wouldn't want to have cut it into 1 yd pieces only to find that I need borders 1 1/2 yard long. And I like to cut binding the length of fabric with the fewest joins possible. Therefore, I leave it in 1 large piece. When folding, I put the selvages together every 1/2 - 3/4 yd & keep holding the previous segment in one hand, the fabric folds accordian style. When I'm all the way through the yardage, I hold it up and let it drop into a fold at the other side. Then I gently lay it down and pick it up again along the fold about every 1/2-3/4 yard. While holding the total yardage this way, I shake it so the grain will straighten out. Then lay it down again and either fold it accordian style or in half, then in half, again and again until its the size I want to store.
    This is pretty much what I do too (unless I can get DH or another pair of hands to help me fold).

    However ... If I have say 4 yards of fabric and I only need to cut 1 yard or less ... I'll only worry about folding 1.5 yards properly to make my cutting for the project then refold the remaining fabric to be wrapped onto a core and stored.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  21. #21
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    When I have a piece that long, it generally means that part of it is backing. I measure that piece generously and rip it - then can generally deal with the rest of it without too much of a problem.

  22. #22
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    I never cut up long yardages until I am ready to use in a project. Then plan for what I want to do and then know if I can cut one yard chunks at a time. For cutting I can then do 1 yard at a time so that it stays straight. I do not take a real long time to fold that long yardage precisely selvage to selvage when I am just putting it away. Life is too short - I get it sorta there and put it away. When its time to use it then its time to fuss with it.

  23. #23
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrannieAnnie View Post
    I hold one hand on the lower left corner, put other a bit over a yard farther in on the top side, then swap, keep moving down the fabric that way. Gets fabric in a little better shape, although some will never get straight.
    Hope you all read between the lines. LOL After I place my hands side-goggling I stretch the fabric and then stretch the other way. So much for leaving out inportant info! Duh to me!
    Bad Spellers of the World
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  24. #24
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    if you are cutting from large pieces, you need to realign every half or so yards. One well known quilter/writer suggests checking about every 6" of cut to make sure the ruler hasn't slipped. I have a "big board" and I alighn the ends and lay the piece over the board and then iron. As I go along I check to make sure the fabric has remained straight. this usually works.

  25. #25
    Power Poster twinkie's Avatar
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    I try to square up the selvage with the edge of the fabric, making sure the beginning fabric cut line is straight. Then if I am careful, the cut lines are going to be straight. Good luck

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