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Thread: cutting strips

  1. #1
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    cutting strips

    Does anybody know how to cut strips quickly? The only way I know how to cut them straight is to pull threads. I could make a top in the time it takes to cut the strips.
    Thanks

  2. #2
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    I use a "T" ruler, it has a lip on it to keep it straight, and cut with rotary cutter. You can put the thread once to get your straight edge and then use the ruler and cutter.
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  3. #3
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I rip to get the straight of grain then line up the fabric using top and bottom lines of the mat. Do note that often the manufactures fold is not on the straight of grain and needs to be pressed and refolded ..salvedge to salvedge. The use the ruler and rotary cutter.

  4. #4
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    I did not know that you need to open and press your fabric and then refold it and press it. I never would have thought of that. I've just lined my ruler up at the top of the fold and cut the left edge and then started cutting my strips. I never thought about it not being folded correctly.
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  5. #5
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Use a June Tailor Shape Cut Plus ruler. Here is a link to one on Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/June-Tailor-12...dp/B0001DUMTA/

    All you need to do is line up the fold of the fabric with a line on the ruler. The smaller Shape Cut is not as good because you need to fold the fabric twice and line up both folds. With this ruler, you can stack fabrics as long as the folds are lined up an equal distance from each other and at least one of the folds lines up with a line on the ruler.

    The slots really help with keeping the cuts straight. What determines whether or not you get the dreaded "V" in a strip is how accurate you are cutting 90 degrees from the fold. It actually has nothing to do with pulling threads or cutting on the straight grain of a fabric. You can cut straight bias strips from fabric -- which is about as far from on-grain as you can get!

    Edit: I should add that cutting exactly on the grain is not actually that important for quilting. The only reason to be concerned about grain is if your strips are going to distort while you are sewing and ironing. If I heavily starch fabric before cutting, I find that even totally bias cut strips do not distort on me while I work with them. Grainlines are much more important when sewing clothing, as it affects the drape of the clothing.
    Last edited by Prism99; 05-07-2012 at 11:21 AM.

  6. #6
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    The June Taylor Shape Cut Ruler that Prism99 recommended is a really useful tool to own

  7. #7
    Senior Member Earleen's Avatar
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    DITTO on the June Tyalor Shape Cut Ruler, use mine all the time... also ahs directions for diamonds and hexagons.
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  8. #8
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    I think I am the only person that doesn't like the June Taylor Rulers. I just use a 24" ruler and don't have any problems.
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  9. #9
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    For most strips I use my 24" ruler. I line a square ruler up to the fold onmy right and the long ruler up against the side of the square one and make my first cut to get it straight. Then I cut the strips I want and even up again every two or three cuts, this keeps them straight.
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  10. #10
    Super Member Helen S's Avatar
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    The instructor in the class I took earlier this year said today's fabrics are straight enough to not worry about it, but I've found differently. Out of a hundred or so pieces of fabric I've bought in the past six months, only ONE of them was cut on the grain!

    I've found that even the very best quilt shop fabrics are not cut on the straight of the grain, so EVERY piece I buy goes directly into the washer and dryer before I do anything else. EVERY piece! Some are off as much as a couple of inches, while others are off by fractions, but still...they are ALL off.

    AND, what IF you don't wash and dry them and they shrink after your quilt is all beautifully done if you haven't heavily quilted it? I shudder to think of what the outcome would be and I don't want my quilts to look puckered up after all that work.

  11. #11
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helen S View Post
    ...
    I've found that even the very best quilt shop fabrics are not cut on the straight of the grain, so EVERY piece I buy goes directly into the washer and dryer before I do anything else. EVERY piece! Some are off as much as a couple of inches, while others are off by fractions, but still...they are ALL off.

    AND, what IF you don't wash and dry them and they shrink after your quilt is all beautifully done if you haven't heavily quilted it? I shudder to think of what the outcome would be and I don't want my quilts to look puckered up after all that work.
    ditto here!
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helen S View Post
    The instructor in the class I took earlier this year said today's fabrics are straight enough to not worry about it, but I've found differently. Out of a hundred or so pieces of fabric I've bought in the past six months, only ONE of them was cut on the grain!

    I've found that even the very best quilt shop fabrics are not cut on the straight of the grain, so EVERY piece I buy goes directly into the washer and dryer before I do anything else. EVERY piece! Some are off as much as a couple of inches, while others are off by fractions, but still...they are ALL off.

    AND, what IF you don't wash and dry them and they shrink after your quilt is all beautifully done if you haven't heavily quilted it? I shudder to think of what the outcome would be and I don't want my quilts to look puckered up after all that work.
    I agree with Helen S wholeheartedly. Now, I personally like the crinkly look, so that part's okay. But today's fabric being on the straight of grain - not on your life.

    Pulling threads to find straight with quilting cottons is just torturous. And that's how I learned to get to straight edges as well. I'll do it home dec fabs but not quilting cotton. I pre-wash / dry / iron with starch and refold. Then use my 24 in. ruler and go for the gusto. My feeling is that my piecing is not accurate enough to have the 2-3 threads that may not be straight to be a factor.

  13. #13
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    I would recommend the June Taylor Shape Cut Ruler. Others have recommended it also, I see, but I want to re-recommend it. I could not possible cut straight strips without it. I did have to be shown how to fold the fabric before I understood how to use it, but once I learned that, I would not turn back. I cut with confidence now, and I did not before. I am fairly new to quilting thought, so that may make a difference in that I don't have years and years experience with another method of cutting strips.

    Dina

  14. #14
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Fabrics shrink differently when washed alone compared to being washed as part of a quilt. Quilting binds the fabric to the batting. When there is enough quilting, the batting controls the fabric shrinkage. In other words, the fabrics cannot shrink more than the batting shrinks.

    How much is enough quilting? Not sure. Certainly doing SID quilting around 12" blocks is not enough quilting to prevent uneven fabric shrinkage in a quilt. In my experience, a large meander is sufficient quilting. I do not consider this to be heavy quilting; just moderate quilting.

    I was fortunate enough to be able to take a class from Harriet Hargrave years ago. HH advocates not pre-washing fabric, although she does advocate pre-testing every fabric for color fastness before using it in a quilt. She brought a flannel quilt she had made as proof of the shrinkage thing, because flannels shrink more than other fabrics and also shrink in different amounts among themselves. She made a quilt out of unwashed flannel, quilted it, measured it, washed it, and measured it again. It shrank about 3%, the amount that the batting was supposed to shrink. It did not shrink the horrific 10% or 20% one might expect from unwashed flannel. And the quilt was beautiful.

    The same thing applies to grain. You could make a quilt out of squares that all had bias edges IF you could keep those bias edges from stretching and distorting while working with them. I find that heavily starching fabric before cutting is enough to keep even bias-cut strips from distorting while I am sewing. Once they are in the quilt and become part of the "quilt sandwich" by means of the quilting, anything off-grain is not going to be affected by washing. Again, there has to be "enough" quilting for this to work, and I would estimate "enough" at a large meander.

    I do not pre-wash fabrics. I do not bother to straighten grain on fabrics before cutting. However, I do test for color fastness of suspicious fabrics before using them in a quilt, and I am careful to cut fabric at a strict 90-degree angle to a fold. This approach may not be for everyone, but it saves me tons of time and makes quilting a lot more fun for me!

  15. #15
    Super Member audsgirl's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Helen S;5200408]

    I've found that even the very best quilt shop fabrics are not cut on the straight of the grain, so EVERY piece I buy goes directly into the washer and dryer before I do anything else. EVERY piece! Some are off as much as a couple of inches, while others are off by fractions, but still...they are ALL off.

    The problem stems from the way the fabric is rolled onto the boards at the factory. I'm sure they don't go to the trouble of lining up the grain line before they roll them. In fact, it probably saves some wear and tear on the fold in transport. I always wash my fabric before cutting it up, because I don't like the thought of critters or dirt being in it. Also, I don't like the chemicals left on the fabric from the finishing.

  16. #16
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    Use a June Tailor Shape Cut Plus ruler. Here is a link to one on Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/June-Tailor-12...dp/B0001DUMTA/

    All you need to do is line up the fold of the fabric with a line on the ruler. The smaller Shape Cut is not as good because you need to fold the fabric twice and line up both folds. With this ruler, you can stack fabrics as long as the folds are lined up an equal distance from each other and at least one of the folds lines up with a line on the ruler.

    The slots really help with keeping the cuts straight. What determines whether or not you get the dreaded "V" in a strip is how accurate you are cutting 90 degrees from the fold. It actually has nothing to do with pulling threads or cutting on the straight grain of a fabric. You can cut straight bias strips from fabric -- which is about as far from on-grain as you can get!

    Edit: I should add that cutting exactly on the grain is not actually that important for quilting. The only reason to be concerned about grain is if your strips are going to distort while you are sewing and ironing. If I heavily starch fabric before cutting, I find that even totally bias cut strips do not distort on me while I work with them. Grainlines are much more important when sewing clothing, as it affects the drape of the clothing.
    I have this and I love it! I use it for all my strip cutting. I have a Go and all the strip dies (because I HAD to have them!) and I have yet to use them. I just always pull out my June Taylor. I agree with Prism, I don't straighten up my fabric either. I just make sure that the I line up the ruler with the fold line; otherwise you will get those awful wonky cuts in your strips! I am a steadfast prewasher. The chemicals in the fabrics make my hands itch and break out so bad if I don't. I do enjoy washing the fabrics and ironing them and I have never had an issue with bleeding because I know before I put a fabric into my quilt whether it will bleed or not.
    Last edited by auntpiggylpn; 05-07-2012 at 04:27 PM.
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  17. #17
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    Love the June Tailor ruler for strips!
    Linda

  18. #18
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    June Tailor's shape cutter, very fast and accurate. Best ruler ever

  19. #19
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Keep in mind the large one only cuts 2 1/2" while the small ones cut in 1/2 in increments. Its not that hard to fold fabric to get the advantages of more increments. I use it all the time and have not had a hard time folding fabric

  20. #20
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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  21. #21
    Super Member franc36's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gollytwo View Post
    The June Taylor Shape Cut Ruler that Prism99 recommended is a really useful tool to own
    That is what I use. I love, love, love it. It is a real time saver and my cuts are always straight.

  22. #22
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    I have the larger June Taylor ruler and mostly really like it. However, I've still encountered the deadly "V's" when I had to fold the fabric more than once to cut it. And I tried so hard to get the folds right!

  23. #23
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    Yes, I just ordered a June Taylor 12x18 ruler (on sale for $25.) from Amazon. I had answered a survey from Snapping Shoals EMC in Dec. and they sent me a $25. gift certificate from Amazon!! Also Amazon had orders over $25. got free shipping! I am a happy camper--had been waiting to get the ruler. (I have the 12x12 one, great one too)

  24. #24
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    I, too, do not care for the June Tailor Shape Cut Ruler. I just use my 8.5x24 inch ruler.

  25. #25
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    . I get perfectly straight cuts now because I use the Go Accuquilt with strip die. I have all the strip dies sizes. I like the Shape Cut ruler too but not for cutting strips. I use it to cut large squares which are a pain to cut.
    Got fabric?

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