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Thread: Do we have a beginner's forum?

  1. #1
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    Do we have a beginner's forum?

    Do we have a dumb question section for beginners? How to square up and cut fabric with patterns.

    If the pattern has a small checkerboard or polka dot pattern and you cut it like the below video shows and the pattern isn't square to the fabric being square, is that an issue?

    I know that I didn't say that very well. After squaring should the lines of polka dots be square too? I hope that you get what I am trying to ask.

    I watched a Leah Day video on squaring here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcpzwJMVTbc


  2. #2
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    This is all dependent on the 'look' you are after. I am weird and HAVE TO cut my stripes, dots, repeat prints, plaids etc. exactly on the print. But that's just me (I usually don't buy them I obsess so much!). Although the ideal is to cut the fabric exactly on grain, cutting along the print usually won't skew it too much. If it's really printed off, I starch the fabric before cutting.
    If you look at the quilts in the pictures section, you can see that most folks don't share this view. It produces a quilt pattern that's a bit less ridged.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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  3. #3
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaperPrincess View Post
    This is all dependent on the 'look' you are after. I am weird and HAVE TO cut my stripes, dots, repeat prints, plaids etc. exactly on the print. But that's just me (I usually don't buy them I obsess so much!). Although the ideal is to cut the fabric exactly on grain, cutting along the print usually won't skew it too much. If it's really printed off, I starch the fabric before cutting.
    I agree with PaperPrincess. I can NOT understand why plaids or panels can not be printed SQUARE! No, there isn't any section for beginner quilters.

    I carefully cut plaids so the print follows the cut line as much as possible. It is just sometime you learn as you go along. Directional prints I always consider which direction to cut. Good Luck.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  4. #4
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    I don't buy a lot of directional prints. Sometimes you can cut with the grain lines to square the strips, rows of dots or plaids but sometimes they are printed off grain. There isn't much you can do about directional prints that are printed wrong but cut your pieces the way they suit the pattern the best.

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    Do you find it less of a problem with higher end fabric? In other words if you buy fabric from Wally World do you find that the prints are off of square more than the fabric you buy from the quilt shops?

  6. #6
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clay View Post
    Do you find it less of a problem with higher end fabric? In other words if you buy fabric from Wally World do you find that the prints are off of square more than the fabric you buy from the quilt shops?
    Not really, because it's easy for fabric to get skewed when rolled onto its cardboard. Directional fabric from any source can have this problem. I avoid directional prints when buying fabric. However, I do not obsess with the pattern being squared after cutting. There are even quilting books out there that point out how skewing plaids creates a more interesting quilt. I agree with that; however, I find that small polka dots and some stripes just do not "play well" when cut any which way.

  7. #7
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    I kind of like the wonky lines. It seems a little more comfy homey feeling. And there are no dumb questions here. We have just asked sooner than you as a newby. We were all there at some point

  8. #8
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    There isn't a beginners section, but do not worry about asking questions here. This is where the answers are and the quilters here don't mind answering. When I began quilting 5 years ago, I had tons of questions, and there were always answers....and soon. I remember the first time I tried to change the blade in my rotary cutter. I had taken it apart and not paid attention to what I had done. I was panicky but within 2 minutes someone soothed my mind and told me how to put my rotary cutter back together.

    The point is, we all started once and we all had questions. Ask away!

    Dina

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    Thanks everyone for the answers. Much appreciated. I did find the Leah Day early video interesting, but needed to know about how the directional patterns fit into this whole thing.

    I've increased my vocabulary during this thread: "Directional Patterns"

  10. #10
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    I did use small polka dots in my current quilt. I squared up the fabric & then cut strips & then squares from the strips. The polka dots were straight. It really just depends on how carefully the fabric was printed. It works with some prints & not with others.

  11. #11
    Super Member Jeanne S's Avatar
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    I guess I am not that exacting---I make an effort to have my directional prints in line, but they often aren't and I use them anyway! It seems once the quilt is finished, quilted and washed those wonky little prints are not noticible.
    I just want to spend the rest of my life laughing.

  12. #12
    Super Member Bluebonnets's Avatar
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    I try to keep those pesky little plaids, dots, and stripes lined up but the little guys keep getting wonky anyway... and I still buy them. I marvel at those who manage it.
    Emily

  13. #13
    Senior Member ruby2shoes's Avatar
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    Yep, learning to look real close at fabric patterns before purchasing!

  14. #14
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    Interesting question. I come from a background of garment sewing. When I square up fabric I pull a crosswise thread across the width of the fabric, cut along that line and then stretch the fabric on the bias until it is straight. Measure that on the table edges of fold in the center and see if the ends match. If you buy printed plaids they are never going to be printed on grain.If you cut according to the print they can cause difficulty in the piecing process-remember, starch washes out and pieces can relax to the pre-starched dimension. Polka dots can be printed in rows, staggered rows or random and are easier to use. I personally think grain is important-other quilters do not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quilterpurpledog View Post
    Interesting question. I come from a background of garment sewing. When I square up fabric I pull a crosswise thread across the width of the fabric, cut along that line and then stretch the fabric on the bias until it is straight. Measure that on the table edges of fold in the center and see if the ends match. If you buy printed plaids they are never going to be printed on grain.If you cut according to the print they can cause difficulty in the piecing process-remember, starch washes out and pieces can relax to the pre-starched dimension. Polka dots can be printed in rows, staggered rows or random and are easier to use. I personally think grain is important-other quilters do not.
    A lifetime ago, actual a few lifetimes ago, in Middle school, we made place mats in a class that was called Home Economics. I still remember pulling threads until we had a continuous edge one way and then I think that we actually pulled the other thread until it was continuous on the edge that was 90 degrees to the first. Forgive me in that was a few years ago and I could be remembering the process incorrectly. I don't remember pulling or stretching along the bias, but it all makes sense.

    Sometimes going back to the basics and getting a reminder of the foundations of the art that people that sew practice, is a good thing. Like in so many hobbies out there, the advanced techniques are sometimes being able to apply the basics with consistency and efficiency.

    I'm trying to put this in my perspective so I can wrap my head around it. Thanks for letting me ramble a little this morning before work.

  16. #16
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    years ago when I was sewing shirts for my husband and son, the fabric seemed to be more even. the plaids matched and I never had a problem. Then, I noticed I couldn't match up the plaids like I used to do. I bought fabric from all kinds of places and the expensive stuff was just as uneven as the cheaper cuts. When I asked about it, I was told that that was how the fabric was being made. No one seems to know why so I just live with it and do the best I can. Whether it's quilting or clothing sewing, just do the best you can. If the fault is with the fabric there is nothing you can do about it.
    The joy of the Lord is my strength.

  17. #17
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I think those who come to quilting without a background in garment sewing have some advantages. Quilting requires a different skills set, and some of the requirements learned in garment construction can hold back a quilter.

    Unless possibly if you quilt specifically for shows (I am thinking of Sharon Schamber), it really is not necessary to pull threads or make sure you are absolutely on-grain for quilting. Shrinkage/distortion from fabric is not an issue in a quilt as long as there is a moderate amount of quilting. Quilting binds the fabrics to the batting, at which point the batting takes over control of shrinkage.

    The purpose of starch is to stabilize fabric so edges don't distort from handling while piecing. Once the fabric is quilted, it doesn't matter that the starch washes out. The batting (as long as the fabric is quilted to it) will not allow fabric to shrink more than the batting shrinks. There can be a problem if the quilting lines are far apart (especially something like 10" apart) or if the quilt is tied rather than quilted. In those cases, the unquilted fabric areas are so large it is possible for them to shrink more than the batting shrinks. However, for quilts that have quilting lines 4" apart or closer, it really is not a problem.

    It's important to understand that fabric shrinks differently when washed on its own and when washed after it has been quilted to batting. Washed on its own, fabric will shrink as much as it can. Once it is quilted, the batting will control how much the fabric is allowed to shrink.

    The only issue with cutting fabric pieces on-grain or off-grain has to do with distortion of the edges during piecing. Cutting slightly off-grain does not affect fabric edges very much. Cutting completely on the bias does present the quilter with an edge that becomes easily distorted with handling. In the latter case, heavily starching fabric (even if the fabric was not pre-washed and thus retains some of the manufacturer's stabilizers) before cutting bias strips helps keep the edges undistorted while piecing. Unwashed fabrics have enough stability that you can cut slightly off-grain and it is not a problem while piecing. Washed fabrics benefit from being starched before cutting, but it doesn't have to be the very heavy starching that helps with totally bias cuts.

    With a pattern that is printed off-grain, there is honestly no problem with cutting pieces off-grain *as long as you know what you are doing*. The more off-grain the cut is, the more you should consider using some degree of starch to stabilize the edges during piecing.

    If you think about garment sewing, the pieces of fabric that need to drape over your hips are relatively large and are not quilted to a batting. In order to drape properly, those pieces need to be cut with the grain going in the correct direction. This is simply not an issue with quilts that have a moderate amount of quilting in them.

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    Thanks again for the great replies and advancing my skill set with solid information.

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    If there's a beginner's forum, not many experienced quilter's would be on it to answer questions for the beginner.

  20. #20
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManiacQuilter2 View Post
    I agree with PaperPrincess. I can NOT understand why plaids or panels can not be printed SQUARE! No, there isn't any section for beginner quilters.

    I carefully cut plaids so the print follows the cut line as much as possible. It is just sometime you learn as you go along. Directional prints I always consider which direction to cut. Good Luck.

    The greige goods (base fabric) is stretched taut prior to printing. No way will any design printed be perfectly lined up once printed. The eye corrects the image. Just cut on grain and don't obsess.
    Sandy
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  21. #21
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    I have been quilting for about 5 years and still consider myself a beginner! There are simply so many things I don't know yet, so I still ask lots of questions....and get lots of great answers in a variety of different methods. About using Plaids and dots in fabrics...I try not to because I don't like the look when the cut doesn't match the line in the fabric. I have had a hard time with the trendy chevron fabric because it never follows the grain, nor will it be printed straight (you can run your ruler along the points ok for a few inches, then the points go uphill) causing me immense grief. So this quilter tries not to use those fabrics.....and quality/cost doesn't matter.

  22. #22
    Senior Member DonnaFreak's Avatar
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    The only advice I have for you is a tip my nephew who quilts gave me a few years ago. That tip was, "It'll all come out in the wash. If the puckering from washing doesn't hide a mistake, then that mistake will send a message to the recipient that you loved them enough to keep going no matter what difficulties you had in the making of it!" That's pretty sound advice if you ask me. ☺

    As far as there being a "beginner forum", every section of the board matches that description! There are people here with every level of expertise, and from the moment I started on my second quilt and discovered this board, people have been patient, kind, and more than willing to help with advice, links, and encouragement. You've definitely come to the best place! 😃

    Donna

  23. #23
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    There are no stupid, "beginner" questions. Just questions someone wants to know but are too shy to ask. I am sure you helped several people who had the same question but were afraid to ask!
    Better to do something imperfectly, than nothing perfectly.
    Done is better than perfect.

  24. #24
    Super Member patski's Avatar
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    There is no such thing as a dumb question. Beginners are always welcome, you'll get lots of wonderful advice from the more advanced quilters here. Enjoy quilting, check out craftsy for free or low cost classes! Enjoy the process and let the mistakes not bother you.
    Patski
    always learning

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlgh View Post
    If there's a beginner's forum, not many experienced quilter's would be on it to answer questions for the beginner.
    I've posted on forums since 1995, OK official old guy. While I don't post on many quilting boards - just two different sewing related forums. I did notice on the other forum that I am on, that one of the most popular sections is the beginners section. There are many kind people out there that like to help out the younger or in my case less experienced people in the craft. I thank those of that ilk.

    I have, what I refer to as, a Strange Twist on this hobby. It's not my hobby. It's my wife's. She has been quilting for 30 years. We have dozens upon dozens of quilts in our home and several dozen more have been gifted, just like most of you. I probably said this earlier in this thread but I think many advanced techniques are really executing the fundamentals of the hobby with precision and efficiency.

    My wife just isn't into forums. She sews / pieces / quilts and I type. We are usually in the same room together, I'm on the computer, she is on her sewing machine. Like I said, strange twist on the hobby.

    Some of you that have been around a while can probably relate to this, but just because you have been doing something for a long time, doesn't necessarily mean you know what you are doing. Some want to keep doing just what they have always done. If you have an open mind and want to advance your skill set, you can still learn.

    I want to thank everyone on this forum for making me feel welcome here and for openly sharing your thoughts and experiences.

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