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Thread: Charm Squares - why are they cut that way??

  1. #1
    Super Member LucyInTheSky's Avatar
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    So I have charm squares and rather than a straight rotary cut, they are cut with what my mom called a fabric scissors, but so it makes it so you get a bunch of little triangles on the edges (we know what I mean, right?). And the 5" is measured from a point to a point, so some of the nonexistent cut out fabric is included in that.

    Why are they cut that way??? I like straight edges! Much easier to work with. There must a reason, since it's a common practice... so I was wondering if any of you know.

  2. #2
    Senior Member momto4's Avatar
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    I was wondering that EXACT thing about my layer cakes just yesterday. Unfortunately I do not have an answer. I have never used anything that was cut that way before so im not even sure how to start lol.

  3. #3
    MNQuilter's Avatar
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    My guess would be that they are cut with pinking shears type dies so that there is not the unraveling that you would get from a straight cut. Withthe pinking cut, you only get the little triangles coming apart and still keep the majority of the fabric, as there is no way that all of those little triangles are coming apart enough to cause the actual square to come apart. I know that is why pinking shears are used on clothing.

  4. #4
    Senior Member momto4's Avatar
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    That makes sense. When cutting them up do you cut from the points on the edge?

  5. #5
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    It keeps the fabric from raveling and I agree that it is annoying (the size issue, not the raveling)

  6. #6
    Super Member Chele's Avatar
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    I think the squares are cut that way to avoid fraying. The scissors are called pinking shears. Obviously the fabric companies die cut them, but they are "pinked."

  7. #7
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    What they said. I use my pinking shears now and then and like the look. It really does cut down on the fraying and strings.

  8. #8
    Senior Member BDor's Avatar
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    I recently had a lady that owns a fabric shop tell me that "charm packs"
    were orginally what was (and still are) sent to the store owner to show the new line of fabric a company had and what they ordered from. She showed me a pack she had just recieved and there was a card on the back
    that had numbers and that was what you ordered by. The numbers were in the order that the fabric was stacked, so she told me if I took one piece out to be sure I put it back in the same place so the fabric and the numbers would match up.

    The were pinked on the edge so they would not fray.

  9. #9
    Super Member LucyInTheSky's Avatar
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    Okay, but most of my fabric doesn't fray that much. I lose a few lines of threads, maybe a few more on a bad day, but this is essentially helping me to lose all those little triangles.

    I made the mistake of using those in my border (thankfully only in 2 spots), and I had to re-sew over the binding 3-4 times because I kept catching the fabric ends but not the inner triangle stuff.

    Give me slightly frayed squares over missing fabric any day :D

  10. #10
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I use charms alot and just line up my straight cut fabric with the tips of the points. It works fine but would rather have a straight cut.

  11. #11
    Super Member LucyInTheSky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rose Marie
    I use charms alot and just line up my straight cut fabric with the tips of the points. It works fine but would rather have a straight cut.
    Though that seems easy enough, mine don't always work out that way :D

  12. #12
    Senior Member momto4's Avatar
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    Good to know. Thank you ladies for all of the info!! :) It is so nice to get answers straight away to our questions!!! Ya'll are always so knowledgeable :D Thanks again.

  13. #13
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    yep pinking shears is what i call scissors like that. don't know their reason, probably after cutting 1000 of them, they get a tad extra fabric back in the bargain. i'm sure it is a monetary reason. or is that monatary? can't spell.

  14. #14
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    yep pinking shears is what i call scissors like that. don't know their reason, probably after cutting 1000 of them, they get a tad extra fabric back in the bargain. i'm sure it is a monetary reason. or is that monatary? can't spell.i've actually gotten 1 1/2 inch square samples. try sewing those together!!! i did.

  15. #15
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNQuilter
    My guess would be that they are cut with pinking shears type dies so that there is not the unraveling that you would get from a straight cut. Withthe pinking cut, you only get the little triangles coming apart and still keep the majority of the fabric, as there is no way that all of those little triangles are coming apart enough to cause the actual square to come apart. I know that is why pinking shears are used on clothing.
    That would be my guess too. I hadn't really thought about it til now.

  16. #16
    Super Member ScubaK's Avatar
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    I hadn't really thought about that really, since I was facinated with my Mothers' pinking shears and the cool edges they cut on my paper... :lol:
    However, I believe that they are cut with the edges like that to prevent unravelling.
    Kirsten

  17. #17
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    Just wondering -

    How are the charm squares measured? From point to point?

  18. #18
    Super Member DA Mayer's Avatar
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    My mother used to reupholster furniture and the heavy fabric came in different sizes with the edges pinked, I never put together that charm squares were that same type of samples. Thanks for the information

  19. #19
    Super Member LucyInTheSky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray
    Just wondering -

    How are the charm squares measured? From point to point?
    Yeah, which is my problem with them since if you get a 5" square, there's not 25 sq in of material. And so if you clean up the edges (as I want to do, since those points don't work wonderfully for me :oops: ) you lose that material

  20. #20
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    My mom had given me a stack of charm squares that she had gotten either from Connecting Threads or Keepsake Quilting (this was maybe over 10 years ago) and being the compulsive sort, I washed them.

    A couple of them shrank over 1/2 inch one way. A few of them became diamonds. Some of them stayed the same way they were before washing.

    They were cut with straight edges.

    I understand pinking the edges to minimize fraying threads.

    So, you are saying that if you cut off the pinked edges, then the piece would be less than five inches square?

  21. #21
    Super Member LucyInTheSky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray

    So, you are saying that if you cut off the pinked edges, then the piece would be less than five inches square?
    Yes

  22. #22
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    Oh, ****. That's what I thought - that the pieces were measured from outermost point to outermost point.

    I generally prefer to cut my own - I like to prewash before cutting - and definitely before sewing - and I like to check the grain-lines.

    Of course, the down side to that, is that it's hard to get a variety of squares without spending a fair amount of money.


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