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Thread: Cutting Fabric on the Lengthwise Grain

  1. #1
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    How do any of you cut your borders on the lengthwise grain? My quilting instructions say to cut the border on the lengthwise grain because the fabric is a one-way design. Any suggestions sure would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Junior Member roseville rose's Avatar
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    Iwould like to know too. Is it better to cut lengthwise rather than across the width?

  3. #3
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    For big quilts, I like to cut the borders lengthwise, but I don't bother for smaller quilts. If the abric's pattern is printed directionally, you will want to consider that, of course.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    The lengthwise grain is more stable (less stretchy) than crosswise grain. That's why it can be better to cut long borders on the lengthwise grain.

    Some people even cut their strip pieces on the lengthwise grain for greater accuracy when strip piecing.

    I think you can achieve much the same stability by starching fabric heavily before cutting.

    Mary

  5. #5
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    You don't have to piece the borders when you cut them lengthwise, before you cut any strips for piecing.

  6. #6
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    If your question is about how to cut lengthwise, the answer is that you do it the same way you would if you were cutting across the fabric. you just have to do it more carefully.

    you could try to fold it several times until you have a stack that will fit under your ruler. this is a pretty risky method since you'll most like end up with those lovely hills and valleys in your strips.

    if i have to cut border strips down the length of the fabric, i sacrifice a bit of fabric and tear them down the length. i usually tear my strips at least two inches wider than i want them to end up. then, i start at one end and cut carefully along the ruler, moving it up a bit at a time, doing my best to keep the whole thing going in a straight line.

    if you do it this way, make sure to leave at least one inch extra on each side of your border print. that way, you'll be able to cut it back to the print plus your seam allowance on either side.

    may the force be with you and your ruler. :wink:

  7. #7
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    Since reading a book by Marti Michelle I try to cut everything lengthwise.

  8. #8
    alimaui
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    I feel like this is a stupid question. I have always cut selvate to selvage....

    but anyway...

    I have a charm square, it is recommended to cut on the lengthwise grain.

    So I am holding the charm square with two hands, finger and thumb. I give it a tug, and there is a little give. I understand that this is the crosswise grain that is tugging....

    If I turn 90 degrees and give it a tug, no give....I know this is the lenthwise grain. Am I cutting on the imaginary vertical line between my thumbs?


    Or another way to ask the question, do I want the short side or the long side to be the stretchy side?

  9. #9
    Senior Member OdessaQuilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alimaui
    I feel like this is a stupid question. I have always cut selvate to selvage....

    but anyway...

    I have a charm square, it is recommended to cut on the lengthwise grain.

    So I am holding the charm square with two hands, finger and thumb. I give it a tug, and there is a little give. I understand that this is the crosswise grain that is tugging....

    If I turn 90 degrees and give it a tug, no give....I know this is the lenthwise grain. Am I cutting on the imaginary vertical line between my thumbs?


    Or another way to ask the question, do I want the short side or the long side to be the stretchy side?
    My suggestion here is that if you are told to cut "on the lengthwise grain", then cut on the non-stretchy side. That way, what should have give will have give, and what should not, will not.

    I hope this makes sense ...


    As for cutting my borders on the lengthwise, that is my preferred method. In this fashion, I do not generally need to piece. I love long areas of no seams to quilt in, especially since I prefer to hand-quilt. I will very carefully fold my fabric, first letting it hang until the bottom edge isn't "warped" by being off-grain. From there, I carefully bring the two shorter ends back to this fold, and again make sure the fabric is not hanging off-grain. I repeat this process until I have a piece that will fit under my ruler.

    Then I go about "slicing" the narrowest strip off the selvege of my fabric, checking for "peaks and valleys". If I have some, I adjust accordingly and begin again. These slivers of fabric I am removing from the selvege are sometimes no more than 1/2" to 1" in width, but they are really important in getting the border pieces straight.

    With practice, as with anything, you can cut lengthwise border strips quickly and with little waste. The beauty, for me, is that if I have enough length to cut my borders, I usually have plenty of that same fabric for my piecing, too, without too much waste. I may even have enough to cut bias strips for binding, if I have planned correctly.

    Then again, there never seems to be enough fabric in my stash ..... :roll:

  10. #10
    alimaui
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    so, if you are pulling the fabric with both hands, no tug means the lenghtwise grain, am I cutting parallel to my tug or perpendicular?

  11. #11
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    I always rip or cut my borders on the lenthwise grain and I believe it gives a more stable edge and less ripling of the quilt when binding is put on. I have a super big cutter, fold and cut. YOU MUST NOT let the ruler slide if you cut. Good luck

  12. #12
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    By the way, I cut my sashing on the lengthwise grain also. I think it stabilizes the blocks

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DollyQuilt
    How do any of you cut your borders on the lengthwise grain? My quilting instructions say to cut the border on the lengthwise grain because the fabric is a one-way design. Any suggestions sure would be appreciated.
    My first response was: with a scissors or rotary cutter - sorry (a little)

    All the suggestions given are good.

    Sometimes if I have a particularly "fussy" line I'm following, I'll cut one layer at a time - moving the fabric on the mat as necessary.

    I tend to get wavy edges when I fold the fabric - as careful as I try to be.

    Tearing and then trimming "works" - but if one has a very limited amount of fabric, then I'd probably "cut" the first time.

    A lot depends on the design of the print, and how much fabric one has available.

    I personally prefer to use the lengthwise grain (parallel to the selvage) for most of my first cuts.

  14. #14
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I actually don't fold my fabric when I don't cut across. I measure how much I need and cut that much off the yardage (with a little extra in case of wonkiness). Then I clear my table and using the appropriate ruler, I cut the width I need along the edge until all is cut. I usually don't cut the selvage until my strip is cut so I have to figure the selvage into the strip width. Lastly, I trim the strip to length.

    Jeez - that sounds way more complicated than it is.

  15. #15
    Senior Member OdessaQuilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alimaui
    so, if you are pulling the fabric with both hands, no tug means the lenghtwise grain, am I cutting parallel to my tug or perpendicular?
    If your instructions say to "cut on the lengthwise grain" (or something like that), then you will cut the long way/lengthwise. In the case of a scrap, FQ, whatever, use the direction that has no stretch as the lengthwise.

    If you are cutting a particular piece/shape of fabric, and one particular edge is to be cut on the lengthwise grain, then you cut that edge as if it is the lengthwise (non-stretchy) grain.

    Does this help at all?

    Odessa

  16. #16
    alimaui
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    Quote Originally Posted by OdessaQuilts
    Quote Originally Posted by alimaui
    so, if you are pulling the fabric with both hands, no tug means the lenghtwise grain, am I cutting parallel to my tug or perpendicular?
    If your instructions say to "cut on the lengthwise grain" (or something like that), then you will cut the long way/lengthwise. In the case of a scrap, FQ, whatever, use the direction that has no stretch as the lengthwise.

    If you are cutting a particular piece/shape of fabric, and one particular edge is to be cut on the lengthwise grain, then you cut that edge as if it is the lengthwise (non-stretchy) grain.

    Does this help at all?

    Odessa
    Maybe I am just confused on the termnology.

    So when you cut selvage to selvage..... Are you physicall cutting the crosswise grain, or are you cutting the lengths grain.?I know this action is called cutting crosswise width of fabric.

    I know when you cut parallel to the selvage, you are cutting "lenghtwise grain of fabric. So with this cut are you just cuttng the ccross grain?

    I am so confused. I am trying to cut charm squares so no selvage to reference, and I feel like an absolute idiot. I just need to cut the charm square in half (to make a 5x5 square, a 2.5 x 5 square). If I am holding the charm with fingers and thumbs, and I tug, with no give, do I cut parallel to my tug, or perpendicular?

    Does it really matter that much?

  17. #17
    Super Member bebe's Avatar
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    Hehttp://quilting.about.com/od/straigh...rders.htm?nl=1

    Here is a link also this site has good info sign up for the weekly newsletter. Hope this helps
    :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink:

  18. #18
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alimaui
    so, if you are pulling the fabric with both hands, no tug means the lenghtwise grain, am I cutting parallel to my tug or perpendicular?
    Good question!!

  19. #19
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alimaui
    Maybe I am just confused on the termnology.

    So when you cut selvage to selvage..... Are you physicall cutting the crosswise grain, or are you cutting the lengths grain.?I know this action is called cutting crosswise width of fabric.

    I know when you cut parallel to the selvage, you are cutting "lenghtwise grain of fabric. So with this cut are you just cuttng the ccross grain?

    I am so confused. I am trying to cut charm squares so no selvage to reference, and I feel like an absolute idiot. I just need to cut the charm square in half (to make a 5x5 square, a 2.5 x 5 square). If I am holding the charm with fingers and thumbs, and I tug, with no give, do I cut parallel to my tug, or perpendicular?

    Does it really matter that much?
    It won't matter at all for what you are doing!

    The lengthwise grain runs with the selvedge; if you are cutting from one cut edge to the other cut edge, parallel to the selvedge (so you are not cuttin through the selvedge), then you are cutting on the lengthwise grain. If you have a piece of fabric with the selvedge on, and you hold the cut edges of the fabric in each hand and tug, this lengthwise grain will have the least stretch in it.

    The crosswise grain runs from one selvedge across the fabric to the other selvedge. When you cut from selvedge to selvedge, you are cutting along the crosswise grain. If you hold fabric with a selvedge in each hand and tug, this crosswise grain will have more stretch than the lengthwise grain.

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