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Thread: Elenor Burns - riping fabric

  1. #1
    Senior Member cminor's Avatar
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    I have seen and heard her talk about tearing her fabric to be sure she is starting with a straight line. I finally just saw her do it on one of the shows I Tivo.

    Does anyone alse do this? And does it work well for you?

    I am always amazed as I watch the shows at how easy it all seems when she does it. :)

  2. #2
    Pam
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    When you tear the fabric, it kind of "bruises" the edge of the fabric, and it must still be cut, it gets kind of ruffly and makes a soft fringe, but it is useful if you have lots of yardage that you want to cut some off from. I often buy a bolt of black, and tear off just a yard or two when I want some.

    If you decide to tear fabric, make a small cut, and tear fast! You will have to tug on it twice, but if you go slow, it seems to make the fabric stretch worse on the torn edges.

  3. #3
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    As a teen in the early 60's when I worked in a fabric department we were taught to tear some fabrics and cut others. I still tear my 100% cotton fabrics sometimes. And Pam's advice in the post above is right.

  4. #4
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I tear large yardage pieces all the time. Smaller cuts like fat quarters etc. I prefer to be cut.

  5. #5
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    I tear if the piece is noticeably uneven, then I square it up on the cutting mat to get rid of the fraying.

  6. #6
    Super Member Rebecca VLQ's Avatar
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    Yup. I *do* tear, and then when I'm making strips, I trim off the little 1/4" that's furry. It's scary at first, but if you have a piece with no selvage it's worth a try.

  7. #7
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    When I lay out the fabric for my backing, I will tear it. It's much easier than trying to cut straight.

  8. #8
    Super Member lalaland's Avatar
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    I'm with Candace, I tear large pieces all the time as well. I always measure a little more than I need, then tear it. That way I have a smaller piece to work with and can then cut it to the measurement I need.

    I never tear small pieces of fabric either since there isn't that much to begin with and don't want to end up with less yardage than I need.

  9. #9
    Senior Member cminor's Avatar
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    Thanks! I tend to not know all the time which way the grain actually is. I think I just need more practice. I have a ton of scrap pcs with no salvedge (sp) and it seems for the life of me I can't cut straight :)

  10. #10
    Super Member burnsk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lalaland
    I'm with Candace, I tear large pieces all the time as well. I always measure a little more than I need, then tear it. That way I have a smaller piece to work with and can then cut it to the measurement I need.

    I never tear small pieces of fabric either since there isn't that much to begin with and don't want to end up with less yardage than I need.
    ditto

  11. #11
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    I tear if I have lots of fabric to divide. I hate to wash more than 2 1/2 yd pieces because it tends to wind up so badly in the dryer. I usually make about a 1/2" cut in the fold and tear from there to the edge of the selvage then clip.

  12. #12
    Gal
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    Tearing cotton gives you a good straight of grain in spite of the furry edge, some fabrics are not put on the blocks straight to begin with and also some designs are not printed following the straight of grain, so tearing helps to see through all this. Polyesters do not tear well and in some cases do not tear at all.

    Gal

  13. #13
    Pam
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    Gal, got that right. Polyester is it's very own beast! LOL

  14. #14
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I have never tried tearing fabric, but I can see how it would work better than cutting on the wide backing fabric.

  15. #15
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    You can tear as far as your arms reach, place your knee on the rip and finish tearing, without having to reposition your hands. Is fun.

  16. #16
    Pam
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    Scares the living dickens out of the dogs and cats!! THAT alone makes it fun.

  17. #17
    Super Member Honchey's Avatar
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    The straight Grain of the fabric is called the WARP, it runs up and down - the same direction as the selvedge (sides). If you were to pull (stretch) the straight grain of the fabric, you will see that it won't give. Now, if you were to pull on the fabric sideways it will stretch. This is called the WEFT of the fabric. left to right-WEFT. Have you ever noticed that when you are sewing cut squares of fabric that some sides will stretch and some won't? Thats because you are sewing the sides that have been cut on the weft side. side to side, left to right along the width of the fabric not the length. Hope this helps. I learned this in a textile class when I was in high school. Anne

  18. #18
    Senior Member spinnergs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honchey
    The straight Grain of the fabric is called the WARP, it runs up and down - the same direction as the selvedge (sides). If you were to pull (stretch) the straight grain of the fabric, you will see that it won't give. Now, if you were to pull on the fabric sideways it will stretch. This is called the WEFT of the fabric. left to right-WEFT. Have you ever noticed that when you are sewing cut squares of fabric that some sides will stretch and some won't? Thats because you are sewing the sides that have been cut on the weft side. side to side, left to right along the width of the fabric not the length. Hope this helps. I learned this in a textile class when I was in high school. Anne



    This is why alot of teachers recommend using the length of the fabric for borders, doesnt stretch as much.

  19. #19
    Super Member shaverg's Avatar
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    I tear length wise all the time does not hurt the fabric and you donot need to cut after you do it. I tear all my borders long strips, and backing. Have for 27 years, without one distortion.

  20. #20
    Pam
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    Well, there you go!!! I have only torn it crosswise.

  21. #21
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    I just put together a quilt my mother started years ago -- ironically from an Eleanor Burns book. Mom had already torn the strips for a log cabin quilt. I will NEVER tear fabric again!!! #1 reason -- I don't believe it saves you ANY time. It's just as fast to use the rulers and rotary cutters.

    #2 reason -- an INCREDIBLE amount of threads are the result!!! I battled those babies all the way thru and now that it's on the quilting machine, I'm STILL pulling threads.

    Nope -- I don't recommend it...

  22. #22
    Senior Member gail-r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaverg
    I tear length wise all the time does not hurt the fabric and you donot need to cut after you do it. I tear all my borders long strips, and backing. Have for 27 years, without one distortion.
    I have always been afraid to tear my borders, especially border prints even though I buy quality quilting fabric. I've seen many times that the designs aren't always printed straight on the fabric, so I wondering what kind of fabric you usually use? I could save a lot of time if I could tear my borders. Does it make a difference if you are doing mitered border corners? Do you get good mitered corners with torn fabric?

  23. #23
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    i'm a member of the ripit club.

    i very often tear my fabric in half lengthwise. it helps me see the straight of grain and it's easier to fold for cross-cuts without elbows. it also gives me a good idea of how the fabric will behave and hold up over time.

    like others have mentioned they do, i also tear across when i want a quick hunk off the end of a long stretch of fabric.
    i'll tear a rough-estimate lengthwise for borders and then trim to size.

    because it does often result in fringey ruffles at the end that have to be trimmed back, if i'm not sure i can afford to waste even a half-inch, i take the time to measure and cut.

    i also find that trying to tear a fabric is a more reliable test of whether or not it contains polyester. as others have pointed out, poly is either difficult to tear or won't tear at all. i can't always tell the difference from a burn test.

  24. #24
    Senior Member pennijanine's Avatar
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    I used to watch my mother rip, now I know why she did it. I am definitely going to try this for myself. Thanks for the tip... Penni

  25. #25
    Senior Member cpfrog's Avatar
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    Some quilt stores will rip their yard goods... many will cut.

    As much as I don't like those dangling threads, and stretched edges, I have to say I really don't like uneven cuts since they usually short you on true fabric size. If there is any distortion from manufacturing and being on the bolt, at least I can start with the straight ripped edge; and then I wash all my cottons, damp dry and iron before using.

    If there are too many dangling threads, I believe that's a sign of a cheaper quality weave. Before washing I cut several 1/4 inch cuts on that "rip" (or cut) edge and that prevents long tangling threads in the washer.

    Good luck.

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