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Does tearing fabric weaken it.

Does tearing fabric weaken it.

Old 02-06-2010, 11:47 AM
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I'm making cafe curtains for a great grandchild's nursery and the only way that I know to get exactly 6 panels the same length is to tear the fabric, which I did. This was expensive fabric from my LQS but when you finish a bolt she will discount it by 30 % so I bought it. When I tore it I cold see where some of it snaged and it frayed quite a bit. Any thoughts on this?
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:49 AM
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I used to think that tearing was the best way to get it straight, but I think it distorts the fabric and that part needs to be trimmed off, so there may be a little more waste.
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:55 AM
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Sometimes it is worth it if I am dealing with lots of yardage. Just plan for some waste.
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Old 02-06-2010, 12:08 PM
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I don't tear mine. I think it does distort the fabric.
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Old 02-06-2010, 12:23 PM
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I usually tear my fabric. If I am making a lot of strips or have to cut long pieces for borders etc it is the only way I can keep them straight. The stings are a pain but keeping the grain straight is very important. Some LQS in my state only tear their fabrics. It is also a dead giveaway if the print is not straight.
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Old 02-06-2010, 05:18 PM
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I also tear mine if I'm using it for borders. I don't like to cut long lengths of fabric.
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Old 02-06-2010, 05:27 PM
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Almost all fabric used to be torn when you bought it. The stores had a measuring thing they pulled the fabric thru and when it was the amount you wanted they'd push on it and it would cut a notch and then the clerk would tear the fabric.
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Old 02-06-2010, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
Almost all fabric used to be torn when you bought it. The stores had a measuring thing they pulled the fabric thru and when it was the amount you wanted they'd push on it and it would cut a notch and then the clerk would tear the fabric.
I remember that.
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Old 02-06-2010, 06:15 PM
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I tear mine when getting strips for my backing. I then will use a 3/4" seam allowance to avoid the part that is stretched a little. I find it is much easier to get 2 or 3 panels around the same size, there's a tiny bit of waste but sure work the time savings.
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:22 PM
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I saw an article about this many years ago. A quilter compared torn fabric edges to cut fabric edges under a microscope. She was horrified to find damage to the torn fabric that extended at least 1-inch, often 2-inches, and occasionally 3-inches in from the edge. These areas would be the first to weaken and give way in a quilt, and she wanted her quilts to last for many decades, so she went to her stash and cut off all the torn edges of her fabrics 3-inches in.

Does anyone here have a microscope? I'd be very interested in checking this out myself if I had a microscope!
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