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Thread: Cutting question

  1. #1

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    How do you cut your fabric? Do you lay the fabric out with the fold close to you? Or away from you? I've always done it with the fold away from me, but just now I wondered if there would be an advantage to doing it the other way. I know I can trust you to give me the right answer!

  2. #2
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    Try both ways and see which way works better for you.

    I try to make my first cut(s) parallel to the selvage - I figure that way I'll have at least two edges on grain -

    And because I tend to goof up, four layers is about my absolute maximum to cut at one time.

  3. #3
    Super Member Barb_MO's Avatar
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    First of all, I line up the selvages and press a new fold, then I cut my selvage off. If I am cutting lots of strips, I double up the fabric end to end so I have four layers.

    I have drawn a line on my cutting mat about 1/2in from one side. I lay the fold on that line, that way I can see the markings at the sides that I can line up my ruler. I cut from the folded side.

  4. #4
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    I fold salvage to salvage until there is a smooth line at the bottom, and put the botton close to me. I line my ruler with the fold and cut on the right of the ruler. I then turn my mat around and measure whaever width I need and always cut at the right of the ruler. At his point the fold is away from me, but now I only use the straight edge to align the ruler.

    Is this clear as mud?

    Maria

  5. #5
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    When I can, I like to leave the selvage that has the info on the fabric.

    I usually try to avoid using it in the project, though - unless it's laying nice and flat -

    I will sometimes snip the selvage edges to make them lay flat if they shrank when I washed the fabric.

  6. #6

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    I just wondered if there is an advantage to doing it one way vs. the other. Any opinions about that?

    Also, I have had trouble getting a bend when I cut my fabrics--near where the fold is. I tried finding information about that and was under the impression that ironing a new fold could cause the grain to be crooked, which causes the bend. Maybe I'm misunderstanding that. Can someone enlighten me?

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  8. #8
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    I fold and iron my material until it is flat, then lay the fold on a line and make sure it is straight.

  9. #9
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray
    That is a great tute!!
    It took me a long time to avoid the bend in the folded area. I think having a big enough area to lay out the fabric while folding was what my problem was. It is still a struggle when using fabrics longer than 1 1/2 yards.

  10. #10

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    Thanks for the link to the tutorial. That was very helpful.

  11. #11
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    Glad it may have helped.

    I find pictures and drawings to be very helpful.

  12. #12
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bstanbro
    How do you cut your fabric? Do you lay the fabric out with the fold close to you? Or away from you? I've always done it with the fold away from me, but just now I wondered if there would be an advantage to doing it the other way. I know I can trust you to give me the right answer!
    The ruler needs to be perfectly perpendicular to the fold in order to get straight strips. If the ruler is even a couple of degrees off from perpendicular to the fold (say, 92 degrees instead of 90 degrees), there will be a bend at the fold when you look at the entire strip. For this reason, you will likely get more accurate cuts if the fold is near you. This allows you to monitor closely the angle of the ruler in relation to the fold.

    I use a second ruler to keep my cutting ruler perpendicular to the fold. (A medium-sized square ruler works well for the second ruler.) I make sure a line on the secondary ruler is lined up with the fold, then butt my cutting ruler against the secondary ruler. This keeps my cutting ruler perpendicular to the fold. It would be much more difficult to do this with the fold away from you.

  13. #13
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bstanbro
    Also, I have had trouble getting a bend when I cut my fabrics--near where the fold is. I tried finding information about that and was under the impression that ironing a new fold could cause the grain to be crooked, which causes the bend. Maybe I'm misunderstanding that. Can someone enlighten me?
    The bend has nothing to do with the grain of the fabric. The bend is caused by the ruler not being a true 90 degrees from the fold. You can cut folded fabric into bias strips and not have bends -- but only if the ruler is perpendicular to the fold.

    I do not like folding fabric twice before cutting because it is so hard to get the two folds exactly parallel to one another. If they are not exactly parallel, then one of them will not be cut at a true 90 degrees from the fold and you will get a bend there.

  14. #14

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    Thank you very much. That helps. I actually feel more secure when I have my ruler butted up against another one. I'm hoping for one of those handles for Christmas (and if I don't get one, I'll buy my own). I have arthritis in both hands, and so it's hard for me to really hold the ruler tight.

  15. #15
    Super Member Barb_MO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bstanbro
    I have arthritis in both hands, and so it's hard for me to really hold the ruler tight.
    I have started laying my hand flat on the ruler and hold it down with the heel of my hand instead of using my fingers. I can kind of lean down on my hand flat like that where I couldn't with my arthritic finders holding the ruler.

  16. #16
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    If it's a long cut - and I have a high cutting table - I'll lean my whole arm on the ruler.

  17. #17

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    Yes, unfortunately, I can't do that either. I had carpal tunnel surgery a while back and it has taken me a long time to heal from that. I'm thinking in another year I might be able to do it again. In my experience it takes about three years to COMPLETELY recover from orthopedic surgery so that there is no pain at all and the limb is completely mobile.

  18. #18
    Super Member Carol W's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tute.

  19. #19
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I usually have the fold closest to me. But I have done it the other way too. Both work for me.

  20. #20
    Super Member weezie's Avatar
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    I have serious issues with the selvages. They are wibbly-wobbly (no translation forthcoming for "wibbly-wobbly" and not in the dictionary I think) and they also go from skinny to wide, etc. In short, they are very unreliable! So, I square up and smooth my fabric as best I can and line up on the fabric a 20-1/2 inch square ruler with what I determine to be the center fold. Than I butt a 2-foot long, 6"-wide ruler up against the large square one and use the edge of that to cut off the selvages. Having started cutting from that side, I just continue to cut toward the fold, rather than starting at the fold side. Having said all that, I think there's no reason for you to choose the open side over the folded side if you feel secure that your fabric is folded as straight and evenly as possible. Getting rid of the selvage edges first just happens to be a personal preference for me.

  21. #21

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    it make sense with the fold away from you..that way you have the folded part for either one extra priece if you need it and its big enough, or you can save it for a scrappy quilt!!!! but there are times when i just iron out that fold and cut one layer at a time...very time consuming but if its got to be just right and i only have a limited amount with no room for mistakes, then thats what i will do!

  22. #22
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    Great tutorial! we call the "bend"..The dreaded V!

  23. #23
    Super Member weezie's Avatar
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    I just read the tutorial and wish to add a p.s. to my earlier post. I almost always have several yards of fabric to square up and trim so I lay it out lengthwise on an 6' long cutting mat. Once I get an entire 6' length lined up exactly straight, I put plastic buckets of smooth deco. rocks as weights in strategic spots to keep the fabric in place. This way I can cut long strips (for borders or binding or whatever) lengthwise, once I get the selvedge cut off. I never double fold ... I've learned that a single fold in the middle of the fabric is all I can accurately manage. Also, my rotary cutter does much better with only 2 layers of fabric to cut through.

  24. #24
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    Hi,

    The bend is from the two layers of fabric not being aligned to each other on straight of grain.

    If you hold the fabric up and match selvage edges, both sides hanging down will hang straigth, or with slight ripples as you look down the sides. The ripples are the straight of grain being pulled out of whack (off straight alignment).

    Holding the fabric up in the air, the selvages together, slide the two layer edges against each other (left or right) until you see the ripples in the sides disappear.

    You can now lay the fabric down and press a crease/fold if needed.

    You should cut the selvages off at this point and cut a test strip the width you need for your porject, or at least 2-3 inches wide.

    Open the cut strip and look at the crease/fold. Does the strip lay straight from end to end with now dip or curve in the fold area? If so, you are good to go and your fabric is now folded straight of grain and can be cut for your project. If not, look for smaller ripples and shift layers until they disappear.

    Good luck. This is easier to watch than tell!!!

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