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Thread: Cutting a straight strip?

  1. #1
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    I did a search on this topic but didn't see an explanation that I "get."

    Whenever I fold my fabric and cut strips I end up with them looking kind of like v's in the middle, instead of a straight strip. What I do is on one side I fold selvage to selvage, and line up what I would call the raw edge. And then cut off a strip to get an even edge and cut from there.

    Can anybody help me?

  2. #2
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    your raw edge may not be straight

  3. #3
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    My tips for getting rid of the dreaded V cut.
    1. prewash the fabric to get rid of the manufacture "center" crease. I suggestthis because badly folded fabric will "remember" and go back to that crease , and you will need to fight against it for all of your cuts.
    2 The refold selvage to selvage . make a "new" not hard center crease. ( note at this point it is very likely that the raw edges will not at all match up, that is the purpose of this step to re- establish a new correct line). The fabric should lay flat selvage to selvage. It is usually easier to do this allowing the selvages along the entire fabric to hang perpedicular to the floor.
    3. Line both selvages along a horizontal line on the cutting mat.
    4. At this point you will most likely see the raw edge is at a diagonal showing how it was not straight to start.
    5. Using your ruler make a perpedicular ( 90degrees from the selvage) cut to square of the raw edge.
    6. Use the new edge as your starting place for your strips, keeping equal pressure on both the ruler and the cutter all the way through cutting of the strip.
    Note : sometimes when cutting the person cutting lets up a bit on both the ruler pressure and/or the cutter at the end of a long strip. this will give a smaller V depending on how much the ruler and or cutter was allowed to "drift" at the end of the cut.

    When I got my first rotary cutter I was making V's and W 's. I think we all have done it more than we like.

  4. #4
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    So I should be lining up the selvage edges instead of the raw edges along one side. Right?

  5. #5
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ammorgan
    So I should be lining up the selvage edges instead of the raw edges along one side. Right?
    Yes line up selvages first, then line up selvages along a line ( horizontal) on the mat. The raw edges are most likey not going to match at this point. You will need to make a trim cut.

  6. #6
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Make sure your selvages are both on the same straight on a line on the mat before any cutting. The raw edge will likely not be straigth ...make a trim cut , cutting on the vertical ( 90 degrees from the salvege). To check to see if you are ready to cut project strips , both the selvage and the raw edge should line up perfectly on lines on the cutting mat , or a perfect 90 degrees( selvage to raw edge) .

    This site has two great videos, the second one is for cutting.
    http://www.quiltfabric.com/

  7. #7
    Senior Member MamaHen's Avatar
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    Hold your fabric up-salvage to salvage, now move the front salvage piece left to right- right to left, until the fabric looks straight from side to side. If you see little waves in it, it is not straight. It takes a little practice, but it helps. I find that more than a yard or so is a bit much to hold. I also found that if I press out the middle fold, the fabric will fall straighter. Good luck.

  8. #8
    Super Member CoriAmD's Avatar
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    You have gotten some great suggestions (I sure do love this board!) - one more - are you starching your material before you iron? I have found this helps SOOOO much! Can't believe I haven't always used starch! :)

  9. #9
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    When I cut strips, 99% of the time, I cut with the grain line (lengthwise), then I don't get the V's.

  10. #10
    Senior Member sew_lulu's Avatar
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    Thanks for asking the question. I've been having trouble with mine as well.

  11. #11
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    I've also been having this trouble too. Thanks for the tips. I might get to cut my strips without them looking too much like a boomerang in future.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pocoellie
    When I cut strips, 99% of the time, I cut with the grain line (lengthwise), then I don't get the V's.
    I never thought of that. Thanks, I will try it. Another thing we used to do in home ec, back in the dark ages - we would pull diagonally on our piece (opposite corner to corner) and that will help square it.

  13. #13
    Senior Member OdessaQuilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MamaHen
    Hold your fabric up-salvage to salvage, now move the front salvage piece left to right- right to left, until the fabric looks straight from side to side. If you see little waves in it, it is not straight. It takes a little practice, but it helps. I find that more than a yard or so is a bit much to hold. I also found that if I press out the middle fold, the fabric will fall straighter. Good luck.
    This is a wonderful tip that is never covered! As a quilt teacher, I use this all the time....

    You need to look at the BOTTOM of teh fabric as you shift the top layer left/right ... when it appears to fall straight, your threads are likely straight.

    Also, check to insure that you are not angling your rotary cutter either toward OR away from the ruler. This can cause waviness in the edge, too.

    Make a very narrow trim cut to remove any excess, then if you want to check, make a cut about 1/4" wide from this trim cut. oopen it out and look at the fold(s) for the dreaded v's and w's. If there are none, you're good to go. If you see some, you need to do the "hang test" again until it comes out straight.

    HTH,

    Odessa

  14. #14
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I never wash my fabric. You can iron out the center crease with Best Press. Then hold your fabric by the selvedges until it hangs in a nice straight U. The cut end may or may not match. The other thing you need to do is make sure your rulers is at a 90 angle to the folded edge.

  15. #15
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    I watched that video tutorial, thanks for posting it.

    I do my cutting with the ruler really differently than she does! I have my fabric folded in half twice, because my mat is only 18x24, but I overlap the 0 on my mat a little bit, line my clear ruler up with that 0 and cut there to get my fabric even. Then I look for say the 5 on my cutting mat, line my ruler up with that 5 and then cut to the right of the ruler, where it looked like she was using the 5 on the clear ruler to see where to cut. But I'm also sliding my ruler from right to left, instead of left to right like she was doing.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoriAmD
    You have gotten some great suggestions (I sure do love this board!) - one more - are you starching your material before you iron? I have found this helps SOOOO much! Can't believe I haven't always used starch! :)
    Every time I've tried to use starch I end up with a coating on the bottom of my iron!

  17. #17
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ammorgan
    Quote Originally Posted by CoriAmD
    You have gotten some great suggestions (I sure do love this board!) - one more - are you starching your material before you iron? I have found this helps SOOOO much! Can't believe I haven't always used starch! :)
    Every time I've tried to use starch I end up with a coating on the bottom of my iron!
    Let the starch really soak in , I walk away for at least 15 minutes, sometimes overnight. it may be dry ( if left overnight), but the starch will be in the fabric not on the iron.

  18. #18
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ammorgan
    I watched that video tutorial, thanks for posting it.

    I do my cutting with the ruler really differently than she does! I have my fabric folded in half twice, because my mat is only 18x24, but I overlap the 0 on my mat a little bit, line my clear ruler up with that 0 and cut there to get my fabric even. Then I look for say the 5 on my cutting mat, line my ruler up with that 5 and then cut to the right of the ruler, where it looked like she was using the 5 on the clear ruler to see where to cut. But I'm also sliding my ruler from right to left, instead of left to right like she was doing.
    I slide mine the same as you do( that part is personal preference). I had a mat the same size as yours and I made more V and W cuts because I could not always see the lines as well. It is important when you are lining up the fabric on the mat to have it line up all the way down the line ( when you first put it on the mat , if your mat is 24 inches use as much of the mat to make that first "line -up". Using only a few inches really can get the fabric off - of a "true" straight.

  19. #19
    Super Member clem55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virginia Smith
    Quote Originally Posted by pocoellie
    When I cut strips, 99% of the time, I cut with the grain line (lengthwise), then I don't get the V's.
    I never thought of that. Thanks, I will try it. Another thing we used to do in home ec, back in the dark ages - we would pull diagonally on our piece (opposite corner to corner) and that will help square it.
    I sure remember doing that in Home Ec.! I still do it now if it needs to be done. Lots to be said for the dark ages.LOL

  20. #20
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    After I do the 'lining up' thing with the selvage and before I fold in half again (fold to selvage) I hold my fabric by the pressed fold and shake a little bit. This helps the fabric get the true grain. Then I lay on the cutting mat, fold in half again. I also am able to cut with both hands and never use the lines on my cutting mat. I cut my first strip with my left hand with the ruler line on the fold and the edge to cut, then switch to cutting with my right hand and do the same thing. I line up one of the lines on the ruler with the fold line and the cut edge with the width I need to cut my strip/block.

    Clear as mud? I'll try and get some pics up this weekend to help.

  21. #21
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Actually, it doesn't matter how the edges of the fabric are lined up. All that matters is whether your ruler is a perfect 90 degrees from the fold. Any deviation from 90 degrees will result in a "V" at the fold.

    Once I line up my cutting ruler, I check its trueness to the fold by butting up another ruler to it. If the first ruler is true, the second ruler should line up perfectly with the fold for its entire length. If it doesn't, I adjust both rulers until my cutting ruler is perfect.

    If you think about it, you realize that you can also cut bias strips this way. How the ends of the fabric line up don't really matter in terms of getting a straight strip without the "V" at the fold. Grainline is a separate issue from the dreaded "V" at the fold.

  22. #22
    Super Member quilterguy27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MamaHen
    Hold your fabric up-salvage to salvage, now move the front salvage piece left to right- right to left, until the fabric looks straight from side to side. If you see little waves in it, it is not straight. It takes a little practice, but it helps. I find that more than a yard or so is a bit much to hold. I also found that if I press out the middle fold, the fabric will fall straighter. Good luck.
    This is basically the way I do it and I've never (knock on wood) had a 'v' cut. Works every time.

  23. #23
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    I beg to differ on grainline and 'v' being different issues. The object of both is to have the cut be straight on grain.

  24. #24
    Super Member plainpat's Avatar
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    I tried several ways of cutting & always had too many V strips.Then...started using my June Taylor slot ruler.Poor thing had been waiting a couple yrs to be needed.Shame on me! It works great & my strips are straight !

  25. #25
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mom-6
    I beg to differ on grainline and 'v' being different issues. The object of both is to have the cut be straight on grain.
    I thought the question was how to prevent the dreaded "V" in a cut strip. I can cut a strip from fabric folded on the bias and not have a "V" at the fold. The strip is perfectly straight, but not on the straight-of-grain.

    If the question had been how to cut a strip on the straight-of-grain, my answer would have been different.

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