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Thread: Border question - a little confused.

  1. #1
    bearpaw's Avatar
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    I bought the border fabric for the BOM I finally finished. The instructions say to cut the fabric lengthwise. This is the largest quilt I have made so far, so I've never had a border this long before. I've always cut from selvage to selvage and then pieced them together to get the length I want. I'm just afraid that if I cut the fabric lengthwise that I will end up with a zigzagged cut (from not folding the fabric straight). I read in another post about ripping the fabric, I've never done that before, can you rip it lengthwise? I'm a little afraid about ripping this fabric, it was pretty expensive. Help - I'm confused!! :(

  2. #2
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    Cutting a straight border has always been my fearful task also. I'd love to know how to take the fear out of this step too.

  3. #3
    Senior Member humbird's Avatar
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    I know some people will cringe when I say "I rip!" but I do. I rip the strips a bit wider than called for, then trim off the "ripped" edge with my rotery cutter and ruler. This has always worked for me.......... I'm sure you'll get lots of advise on this. Hope what ever you do works well.

    Phyllis

  4. #4
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    ripping is a valid approach. if that idea makes you swoon, though, try doing a folded cut about a half-inch too wide. straighten one side at a time, a bit at a time going from bottom to top, using your ruler and rotary cutter. the first side will required the most care to straighten. the second side will be a snap.

  5. #5
    Super Member b.zang's Avatar
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    If your hands just won't grab that fabric and rip, try pulling a thread. If you make a small snip into the fabric and separate one thread, you can pull it out of the fabric. You need to work carefully so as not to break the thread, pulling a little then flattening the gathers. The pulled thread will create a line in the fabric that is completely straight as it is the line made by one straight piece of the grain. Sometimes I will cut as I go to shorten the distance of the pull or if the thread breaks, you will need to cut up to the broken piece in order to pick it up again.

    Really, though, ripping is easier.

  6. #6
    Senior Member crashnquilt's Avatar
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    I most always have my borders on the lengthwise grain. When your fabrics are on the crosswise grain you can get some stretching. Fabric will "stretch" more on the cross grain than length grain.

    I take the finished width of the border and add 1 inch. I will clip the fabric and rip to the other end. Then I will fold up the border fabric to trim off the ripped edge. Usually this edge will curl just a bit. Then I apply my borders to the quilt. At this point I have not taken off the whole inch that I added for the ripping. This little bit of extra fabric gives me enough room to square up my quilt top and have my borders lay flat.

    The stretch of the cross grain border really shows up when you load the quilt on your longarm frame in prep for quilting.

    Also, ripping on the lengthwise grain you will get a straight line.

    Hope this helps.

  7. #7

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    You all may not like me for this but I will NOT tear. It does not straighten the fabric and as the others have said, they have to trim anyhow. What a waste of fabric!
    Here is what I do. I unfold the fabric and press out the fold line. Then bring your cut edges together, keeping your selvedges even (sometimes I have to pin every so often) fold to a manageable length, cut off your selvedge then cut the width you need for your borders.

  8. #8
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    I learned by ripping, so I am not intimidated. There is something satisfying and attention-grabbing about the sound, and my strips are straight. I do cut an inch or so to get it going. Occasionally, you get fabric where the print was not aligned to the grain, and then I have to cut bit by bit. Sometimes for the outmost border, I leave extra and fold it over to reinforce where it will get the most wear.

  9. #9
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sspingler
    You all may not like me for this but I will NOT tear.
    silly girl. we love you whether you rip, cut, or chew the fab to get your borders. :wink:

  10. #10

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    AAAHHH bless your heart Patrice. Does a body good to hear things like that after a hard day at work.

  11. #11
    bearpaw's Avatar
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    All right, I tried ripping some scraps that I had and I didn't do very well. :( I was too scared to try it on the border fabric, so I folded cut end to cut end, lined up the selvages (like sspingler suggested) and cut away. The border strips turned out ok, they may be a little crooked, but not bad. I can live with it.

    Thanks everyone for your advice, I think I'll try ripping again with fabric that isn't so expensive. :wink: Then maybe I'll be more comfortable with it.

  12. #12
    Super Member Butterflyspain's Avatar
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    B.zang´s idea was a good one to help you get started, about pulling a thread. I have to say I rip and have ripped always. Wouldn´t rip with raw silk and would probably use the folded method. Glad you got it sorted. Try practicing and do it as fast as you can. Iron it after ripping and you will find it will do just great.

    Elle

  13. #13
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    And only rip the lengthwise grain, not the crosswise.

  14. #14
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    The pulled thread method has worked for me. Tedious, but it works.

    I'll tear the fabric for the backing with no hesitation.

    Something I learned/observed from a Quilter's Newletter cover.

    Some fabrics that appear to be all-over prints actually have "stripes" in them. This quilt on that cover had three sides that had the same "band/strip" of fabric and the fourth side was different and appeared "off"

    So - if the border fabric has a design, kind of watch for that.

    Did this make sense?

    Way back when the dinosaurs walked the earth, we were told to straighten fabric if it was off-grain. I've now decided that after machine washing and drying the fabric, to let it do what it wants to.

    I much prefer to cut my strips on the lengthwise grain. At least I have a straight grain going in one direction.

    Doreen Speckman cuts her sashings on the crosswise grain - she says it gives one wiggle room if one has to ease a block in. She's right about that.

  15. #15
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    I just wanted to say that for long border pieces, I always use a walking foot - makes them come out much more even.

  16. #16
    Super Member retrogirl02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterflyspain
    Try practicing and do it as fast as you can.
    Elle
    LOL. Yeah, like a bandage covering an owie you know will be painful to remove....THAT fast.

    It still makes me queasy each time I do it, but it does come out straight when you're using 100% cotton.

  17. #17
    Moderator tlrnhi's Avatar
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    I too am scared to do the ripping thing. I will use the cutter. I just take my time at it.

  18. #18
    bearpaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonpi
    I just wanted to say that for long border pieces, I always use a walking foot - makes them come out much more even.
    That's a great idea. I've never thought of that.

  19. #19
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    I also measured and marked the borders before attaching them - I either used straight pins or a chalk pencil.

    If I was attaching this to 12 inch blocks, I would mark the border at 12 inch intervals, etc.

    When I just sewed a border on, it tended to come out unevenly.

    I have learned so much the hard way. So now I spend a few extra minutes in preparation and save myself hours of unsewing and resewing.

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