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Conserving Fabric While Cutting - Tips?

Conserving Fabric While Cutting - Tips?

Old 08-01-2020, 07:56 AM
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Default Conserving Fabric While Cutting - Tips?

Fabric is so expensive these days! I remember, not that long ago, I could get high quality, cotton, quilting fabric on sale for only $2.99/yard. Now, I'm lucky to find it at $5/yard and regular prices are way beyond my budget. I'm careful with every cut I make, so as to not waste any fabric unnecessarily. How do you make the most of the fabric while you are cutting pieces?

My tips:

-When cutting off chunks of fabric from a larger piece, I always measure first, so that I get just the right amount to make up a certain number of squares/pieces out of the piece.
-I always start cutting a folded strip of fabric from the unfolded edge and continue to cut towards the folded edge, so that if I have any leftovers at the end of the strip, there is a greater chance that I'll have some usable pieces left, once they are unfolded.
- I always trim off the selvedge first, so that I don't find it surprisingly in one of my squares, which I would then have to throw away.

~ C
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:23 AM
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When cutting various sizes try to cut the largest pieces first. Excess fabric from those strips can be used for smaller squares/strips
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:35 AM
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I have learned to fall in love with crumb quilting. it's a great way to use up all those small pieces you just can't stand to throw away
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:51 AM
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The first thing I do is make sure every piece is straight! I have less waste that way especially with strips where you can end up with humps that cannot be used. I cut my pieces as close to each other as possible. Now with my Accuquilt I am finding I have less waste. Those little pieces are are cut into pieces to be used with another DWR quilt and the pieces that are even smaller than that are now being collected for an animal rescue to make bedding for the animals. The larger pieces end up in my scrap baskets for future scrappy quilts. Nothing is wasted.
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:38 AM
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A couple times I have cut the wrong size strip and had to re-cut. Praying that I have enough. I would say engage your total focus while cutting and that way you won't waste any precious fabric.
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:43 AM
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If the strips are 1.5” or wider, I will sometimes sew them together to make bigger pieces of fabric.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:29 AM
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If you need width of fabric strips for something and think you may need to buy more material for a project, check your fat quarters first. You can often cut strips and sew them together end to end to make a strip long enough and it won't ever matter that there is a little seam in there and you can often cut around it anyway, if you are sub-cutting the long strip.

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Old 08-01-2020, 11:39 AM
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I've seen older blocks that the pieces were pieced.

I do not like to do that - but if that's the only way to eke out a block - i will do that.

For conserving fabric - before buying it - I try to remember to check to see if it has been pulled off-grain. I really have to be in love with the fabric to buy off-grain fabric. If it is a print - has it been printed on-grain? Sometimes it has been printed on-grain, and been pulled off-grain. That can be straightened. If it has been printed off-grain - it is off-grain. Deal with it - or not.

I do "assume" about two inches of shrinkage per yard of fabric - I am not sure if it will be lengthwise or crosswise, but many fabrics have shrunk about that much. So - even though I am not "saving" by buying a couple of inches extra, I am building in "enough" - assuming the pattern is correct and I don't mess up.

If I actually know what I am going to be doing, I try to lay the fabric out and "survey" it before starting to cut - especially if working with something that needs to be fussy cut or is directional or has big pieces.

Maybe for me, the biggest "conserving" is to plan ahead - at least as well as I am able to.
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Old 08-01-2020, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by tropit View Post

My tips:

-When cutting off chunks of fabric from a larger piece, I always measure first, so that I get just the right amount to make up a certain number of squares/pieces out of the piece.
-I always start cutting a folded strip of fabric from the unfolded edge and continue to cut towards the folded edge, so that if I have any leftovers at the end of the strip, there is a greater chance that I'll have some usable pieces left, once they are unfolded.
- I always trim off the selvedge first, so that I don't find it surprisingly in one of my squares, which I would then have to throw away.

~ C
I do this too. I don't buy expensive fabrics, nor do I use old clothes.
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Old 08-01-2020, 03:52 PM
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I have been known to use wide backing fabric to cut pieces. And the edges that are trimmed from the backing. And scrappy binding. And piece the back.

With an extensive stash, I seldom buy fabric any more. I did buy some Tula Pink for my Tula Pink, but it was on sale.

Last edited by Krisb; 08-01-2020 at 03:55 PM.
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