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Thread: folding and cutting a large piece of fabric

  1. #1
    Super Member annesthreads's Avatar
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    Help please. I'm spatially challenged and just can't work out how to cut a backing from a large piece of fabric. The fabric is approx. 108in by 80in. I want a backing measuring 72in x 61in. My largest cutting board is 35in x 23in. I have a ruler that will allow me to cut the length of the board. I've been trying to work out how to fold and cut the fabric, but it's beyond me, and I'm worried that I'll ruin it by making the wrong cut - have managed in the past to end up with 2 pieces! Folding the fabric is also proving difficult, as I'm on my own, don't have enough space to lay it out and I think it's not been cut anything like straight.

  2. #2
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Measure off about 80 inches along the selvedge and snip it and tear it. Yes you'll get strings and fraying but it will be straight and on grain. Do the same for the other direction and give yourself about 6 inches extra.

  3. #3
    Super Member hobo2000's Avatar
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    Scissor Queen is right. Tearing saves time and gives you the straight grain and solves your space problem.

  4. #4
    Super Member annesthreads's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobo2000
    Scissor Queen is right. Tearing saves time and gives you the straight grain and solves your space problem.
    Thankyou both! - will take a deep breath and try this.

  5. #5
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    tear it don't try to cut it. The back will then be streaight both ways.

  6. #6

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    OK - I'm going to ask this question. If there is no salvage on the fabric, how do you know which way the grain is? Is it stretch or not stretchy? Can you tell I am really new to this quilting/sewing thing???

  7. #7
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    The selvedge (straight of grain) side will not stretch. The crosswise cut will stretch, even if only slightly.

    Don't forget to cut the backing several inches larger on all sides than what you think you need.

  8. #8
    Super Member annesthreads's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annesthreads
    Quote Originally Posted by hobo2000
    Scissor Queen is right. Tearing saves time and gives you the straight grain and solves your space problem.
    Thankyou both! - will take a deep breath and try this.
    OK - have done it and I now have a nice piece of fabric for my backing, with a good margin all round. And I've learned something: the person who taught me always cut, even if it involved complicated folding - which I can never figure out. Tearing will be a great help.

  9. #9
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    Measure off about 80 inches along the selvedge and snip it and tear it. Yes you'll get strings and fraying but it will be straight and on grain. Do the same for the other direction and give yourself about 6 inches extra.
    exactly!

  10. #10
    Super Member feffertim's Avatar
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    good tip, I needed to know that

  11. #11
    Super Member TonnieLoree's Avatar
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    Thank goodness I'm not the only relic that believes in tearing. :-)

  12. #12
    Super Member Raggiemom's Avatar
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    I've never heard of tearing it instead of cutting. I will have to try this next time. Thanks for the tip!

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the reminder! Some times you get so involved with the 'other way' that you forget the 'easy way' LOL!

  14. #14
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    I went to Paducah once for the quilt show. Shopped at the Quilt in a Day tent. They tore the fabric and gave a little extra to make up for it. Would be a good workout if you had to tear fabric all day.

    When I was a kid, not only did we tear fabric, we also used razor blades instead of seam rippers. Never owned a seam ripper until I was an adult.

  15. #15
    Super Member Glassquilt's Avatar
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    My first job was in the fabric department at Marshall Fields. We tore or pulled a thread. Guess which I liked better?
    I will add that all the fabric was natural fiber and could easily be straightened.

  16. #16
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonnieLoree
    Thank goodness I'm not the only relic that believes in tearing. :-)
    I still rip. Just like in prehistoric times

    :lol:

  17. #17
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    I rip too!
    Debbie

  18. #18
    Senior Member Unique Creations's Avatar
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    I tend to forget about ripping the fabric to get the straight of the grain, am just so use to using the rotary cutter and ruler to cut everything.

    Instead of "old fashioned" single edge razor blades, I use a small box cutter with the retractable blade. It is much easier to hold on to and more ergonomic when you have to unsew seams.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Moedeenie's Avatar
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    Snip and Rip!

  20. #20
    Senior Member canuckninepatch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annesthreads
    Quote Originally Posted by annesthreads
    Quote Originally Posted by hobo2000
    Scissor Queen is right. Tearing saves time and gives you the straight grain and solves your space problem.
    Thankyou both! - will take a deep breath and try this.
    OK - have done it and I now have a nice piece of fabric for my backing, with a good margin all round. And I've learned something: the person who taught me always cut, even if it involved complicated folding - which I can never figure out. Tearing will be a great help.
    The way I understand it is that the ONLY time you tear is for a backing. Correct??? C9P

  21. #21
    Senior Member Moedeenie's Avatar
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    Great for sashing and borders, too!

  22. #22
    3699quilter's Avatar
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    I have never ripped fabric before, but it does make sense when working with a large piece. I will try it the next time I have to make the backing.

  23. #23
    pontiac46750's Avatar
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    When I was first learning to sew in High School they gave us a list of things we needed. My Mom looked at the list and asked the lady at the store "What is a seam ripper ?" The lady looked at her so funny. Mom goes we have never used them and my daughter will use it at school but she won't at home.
    Well needless to say until I started to quilt in 1984 I never did use a seam ripper.
    Ann W. in Indiana

  24. #24
    Super Member annesthreads's Avatar
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    Can I have your comments on what a friend has said to me today? I was telling her how pleased I was with the advice I received here about tearing fabric, as it solved my problem so easily - and she said she was told not to tear because it warps the fabric and because (I think) the pattern is often not directly lined up with the grain of the fabric, so it won't tear exactly along the line of the pattern (but surely that would affect cutting too, as it would mean the pattern wasn't straight on the fabric? I don't really see what she means there).

  25. #25
    Senior Member kwilter's Avatar
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    Glassquilt wrote:
    Quote Originally Posted by Glassquilt
    My first job was in the fabric department at Marshall Fields. We tore or pulled a thread. Guess which I liked better?
    I will add that all the fabric was natural fiber and could easily be straightened.
    OMG! In my past life, I would take the EL to the Loop especially to shop Field's fabrics! My mental images of that section of the store are amazingly clear...guess I was meant to be a fabriholic! I remember that they had the most astonishing selection and the prices for quilting cottons was often $.50 to $1 per yard...and their sales were wonderful! Ahhhh, thanks for the memories (sigh).

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