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Thread: Cut or tear the fabric....

  1. #1
    neonparrot's Avatar
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    Last week I was in a really nice quilting store, loads of fabrics and things, plus they give dozens of classes. I had picked out a couple bolts of fabric I wanted and the lady proceeded to measure it for me. Then she started to tear the fabric. I told her to stop & I asked why she was tearing it & she said they never cut the fabric. My comment back to her was then I wanted an extra inch or two because when it is torn, the edge is pulled and puckered up, and I have to trim that off with scissors. She said she would not give me the extra inch of fabric, and if I wanted my fabric cut with scissors, I had to pay $1.00 to have it cut, that was their store policy. There was no sign posted anywhere around that this is what they do. When I asked her why I had to pay the extra $1.00 to have it cut, she said it was because it never cuts straight and it would not be an even yard cut for the next customer. I told her never miind, and did not buy the fabric. Have any of you run into this?

  2. #2
    Super Member Murphy's Avatar
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    No, but I would not shop there again.

  3. #3
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    I'm surprised they were so unwilling to accommodate you. I can see why you wouldn't buy the fabric.

  4. #4
    Super Member clem55's Avatar
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    No, but I would rather have my fabric torn, at least it is on grain and the little wasted by distortion is less than you might get from bad cuts. I've had fabric cut and ended up losing several inches when I tried straightening it. When I learned sewing, I was taught to tear a inch strip across grain before trying to cut pattern pieces. ZI always do.

  5. #5
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    My mouth dropped!

    I can't believe she would not cut it for you. Or give you just a bit more.
    I have had fabric 'cut' both ways. When they tear it it does assure it is straight on the grain, but if they measure it correctly they can make sure it is straight for the next customer.

    I have a customer who prefers hers to be torn, the rest we just cut, but we also give just a bit more as we know it will either be trimmed or shrink and if you need a full yard for a project and it isn't quite enough you are sunk.

    I know MaryJo's in NC tears there fabrics and I have and no problems with it.

  6. #6
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I don't mind torn fabric but prefer cut. If the LQS would not accommodate my request I would go elsewhere.

  7. #7
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    When I learned to smock I was told to tear the panel strip to get a straight grain to pleat. Tearing fabric used to be a common practice when you bought fabric. I think the practice went out when knits became popular.

  8. #8
    Super Member hobo2000's Avatar
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    I agree with you Carol. I prefer mine torn so I get the exact amount. Every time they cut, when I go to straighten I lose 1-3 inches. Generally, the fabric is not folded evenly on the bolt. So you have to even it up and then you will have to trim both bottom and top to get it right. When torn, you pull slightly on the bias and it straightens itself and then I do a minor trim, if necessary, of 1/4".

  9. #9
    Super Member julia58's Avatar
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    Tear mine any time. If it upset you that much, find another place to shop. But they should have done as you wanted. Poor customer service will not keep anyone in business for long. Sorry you didn't get what you wanted. Everyone's loss.

  10. #10
    neonparrot's Avatar
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    Julia...it didn't upset me that much that she tears her fabrics. It is her shop and they can do what they prefer. But, I think it was mainly her attitude. It wasn't "customer" related...it was "if you want it cut you have to pay me $1.00". I wish I owned that shop, it is beautiful. But I would have handled the explanation about not cutting the fabrics a little bit kinder to the customer. Oh well, maybe it was a bad day for her.

    I appreciate the comments about preferring to have the fabric torn, not cut. That is very interesting and I can understand why it should be done that way. I guess some of us are "used" to JoAnn's, etc., that cut everything.

  11. #11
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I would have walked out without the fabric too.

    Tearing damages the fabric edge up to 2 inches. (I've always wanted to get a microscope out to check that, but so far no microscope handy.....) The damage is largely invisible to the naked eye, but the fibers are weakened that far in. A yard would have two sides torn, which means you lose 4 inches on a purchase. That might be okay if you are buying 5 continuous yards, but it would not be okay on a 1/2-yard cut!

    Grainline isn't as important in quilting as it is in clothes construction (because it affects the hang of the garment). I always work with pre-starched fabric when I quilt, so I don't worry if grainline is a little off in my pieces; the starch keeps them stable during cutting and sewing.

  12. #12
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I think tearing is more prevalent in some areas than others. Up here in the PNW I have never seen them tear fabric, it is all rotary cut.
    Pros and cons either way :wink: but good customer service is always appreciated :D:D:D

  13. #13
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    When I went fabric shopping for the first time I had the nice personal experience from the LQS, I continued on my way to garment district and was taken back with the coldness of the merchants and in shock when they too tore my fabric

  14. #14
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i know of many shops with the same policy. when the fabric is torn it stays on grain, you get a much straighter edge than when it is cut. i have one lqs that cuts...with scissors (absolutely refuses to use a rotary cutter even though she has a cutting mat on the table) and it is normal for the cut to be so far off...crooked that when you square up you loose up to 3" of fabric. it really is a savings to have the fabric torn instead of cut, then if you prewash and trim you only have to trim a sliver instead of inches. i know looking at it the fabric seems ...wonky...but it tears straight on the grain line. if you visit design houses and mills you will find they ALWAYS tear large pieces of fabric. it's really the only way to ensure you have a straight edge, cutting you cut across grain lines...which is why it frays when you wash it.

  15. #15
    Super Member franie's Avatar
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    Tearing does make it on grain and sraight but I only tear large pieces like for backing.

  16. #16
    Power Poster CarrieAnne's Avatar
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    I think $1.oo tocut is crazy!
    I really dont care either way, cut or torn, but I wouldnt pay the extra dollar!

  17. #17
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    In my area, the only fabric that I have seen torn is muslin or other fabrics that are very wide. It is way too difficult for these to be cut straight.

  18. #18
    Super Member kriscraft99's Avatar
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    everywhere I go the fabric is cut (Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, Hancock Fabric's).. but it seems it is never cut straight.

    I do venture out of SC to a store in North Carolina called Mary Jo's (they are also online).. they tear their fabrics. It scared me the first time I saw them do it ~ but I had much rather my fabrics be torn that cut crooked... but asking you to pay $1 to cut it is insane.. I would have demanded to see the manager!

  19. #19
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    I prefer to have my fabric torn. If you are getting a geometric print or plaid it reveals how crooked the printing was etc. It does make a difference in quilting. If you have wavy borders it might just be because the fabric is off grain. If I am making strips for peicing I always tear the fabric it is the only way I can get a long strip without having that fold bump in it. I know that the strings are a pain but it does make a difference.

  20. #20
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    My LQS uses a rotary cutter, mat and acrylic ruler, so it is always straight. I wonder why more places don't do that? I would think it would be easier.

  21. #21
    Senior Member humbird's Avatar
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    I didn't think so many people prefered tearing. I prefer to tear, especially long pieces, but seems that sales person was a bit out of line with her charging more to cut it! I just don't understand people I guess. I am from the old school where "the customer is always right!" And it was always with a smile :-)

  22. #22
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    Same here.
    Quote Originally Posted by clem55
    No, but I would rather have my fabric torn, at least it is on grain and the little wasted by distortion is less than you might get from bad cuts. I've had fabric cut and ended up losing several inches when I tried straightening it. When I learned sewing, I was taught to tear a inch strip across grain before trying to cut pattern pieces. ZI always do.

  23. #23
    Junior Member oldhag's Avatar
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    Ok, am I the only one who pulls a thread about 1/2 inch from the end and cuts along that gap? I was taught that way back in the time machine and I still do it. It is less damaging than tearing. Time consuming yes but then I usually do it while I'm watching TV.
    Back on topic though, I would have walked out without my purchase also when the clerk refused to prepare my fabric the way I wanted it. An extra buck on a yard of fabric is too much!(No I don't ask them to pull a thread).

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy
    No, but I would not shop there again.
    I agree with her I would never shop there again

  25. #25
    Super Member jbj137's Avatar
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    Cut "ONLY" for me.
    If you "TEAR" I won't pay.
    J J

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