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Thread: Help with cutting fabric

  1. #1
    Senior Member Dingle's Avatar
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    When I get ready to cut my fabric, I iron it and fold it once. I iron the fold flat but when I lay it on my cutting mat you can see a slight bow in the middle of the fold. Why would this happen if it's only folded once? I know you can get the bows if the fabric is folded more then once. I have tried ironing with starch and without but it still happens either way. How can I stop this?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member magnolia's Avatar
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    I cut mine the same way. I just use a little starch if it bows I just hope no one will notice. But it is frustrating. I do find the less folds the better.

  3. #3
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dingle
    When I get ready to cut my fabric, I iron it and fold it once. I iron the fold flat but when I lay it on my cutting mat you can see a slight bow in the middle of the fold. Why would this happen if it's only folded once? I know you can get the bows if the fabric is folded more then once. I have tried ironing with starch and without but it still happens either way. How can I stop this?
    Thanks
    Are you folding it selvage to selvage? This makes a big difference!

  4. #4
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Also be very careful when you are ironing your fabric. If you iron to aggressively, you can distort it :wink:

  5. #5
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    Also you can't just "fold" it you have to make sure it's folded on the grain.

  6. #6

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    If you're having trouble folding from selvage to selvage, fold and then hold it up with the fold and match the selvage as closely as possible. Sometimes the selvage edge can have a little wave in it so if you hold it on the fold and match it, you can get the bow out of the folded edge. If it is a large piece of fabric you made need a helper to hold one end for you.
    Good luck, Pam

  7. #7
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    I fold salvage to salvage. and I Iron it, without any steam.
    If I am cutting smaller pieces, I will cut one yard off , and just work with it. Makes it easier to work with. Also, I will stop every 3rd cut and make sure it is still even on the edge.
    Some times I need to trip just a little before continuing.

  8. #8
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninnie
    I fold salvage to salvage. and I Iron it, without any steam.
    If I am cutting smaller pieces, I will cut one yard off , and just work with it. Makes it easier to work with. Also, I will stop every 3rd cut and make sure it is still even on the edge.
    Some times I need to trip just a little before continuing.
    this is what I do too.

  9. #9
    Senior Member pam1966's Avatar
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    I starch it nearly to death. Then I fold it selvage to selvage, smooth it out, and fold it again, smoothing it again. I also keep checking to make sure it's even on the edges while I'm cutting.

  10. #10
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I have resorted at times to gluing my selvages together and then pressing to get exact straight folds. My cuts were always off so I knew to buy extra fabric. That's why I was first in line to buy the fabric die cut machine.

  11. #11
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I fold my fabric down the center and don't worry about how the selvages look and even up the left side and start cutting it up and evening after so many cuts. I read to do this in some quilt book, somewhere along the way. If you fold selvages even you will notice your center fold will not look right.

  12. #12
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Every quilt class I have taken each instructor has showed a different way to fold and cut fabric. Some used two rulers to line up the fold, some said only one fold, some said selvages had to be even, some said re straighted after two cuts, some said rip for a straight line, some say pull a thread. I tune out that part of a class now, I've seen every possible way to cut.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Candela59's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo
    I have resorted at times to gluing my selvages together and then pressing to get exact straight folds. My cuts were always off so I knew to buy extra fabric. That's why I was first in line to buy the fabric die cut machine.
    I'm curious about that machine. How do you like it? It seems that no matter how careful I am I can't get all my cuts to come out accurately.

    I have looked at the machine online and in stores...it is soooooo expensive! Do you feel that it is worth it?

    Thanks!

  14. #14
    Super Member MistyMarie's Avatar
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    Obviously, many of those who cut the fabric at the store are not worried about getting a perfectly straight cut that will make the fabric line up on the cutting table. I have had fabric that, lined up selvage to selvage be off by more than six inches, straight from the store. So, I always buy more than I need because I hate getting a project started, only to find out that I am a couple inches shy of what I needed and have to make a trip back to the store, or worse yet, not find the fabric again to continue.

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    How do you like the fabric die cut machine? Is it an Accuquilt?

  16. #16
    Senior Member gmcsewer's Avatar
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    I fold the fabric in half lengthwise and press lightly. Then I lay a larger square plastic ruler like 12 1/2 square along the selvedge and that gives you a perfect 90 degree angle. if you continue this line across, you should get a perfect 90 degree angle in the center and thus not have a bow in it. If I am cutting smaller lengths, I start at the selvedge and cut my pieces toward the center. Then all that is wasted because of the bow is the small part you cannot use.

  17. #17
    jeammezera's Avatar
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    try cutting the folded side first instead of last, it might help.

  18. #18
    jeammezera's Avatar
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    I have an Accuquilt Go. I love it. I think I have all the dies also. This is how I managed to get all my scraps cut into workable pieces.

  19. #19
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    After I iron my fabric, I fold it selvage to selvage and let it hang freely. You can see by whether it hangs straight or is pulled toward one direction. If it is pulled, then I carefully shuffle it until it hangs straight.

    I then lay it on the cutting mat and smooth it out with my hands, but I do not iron it.

    It sounds like you might not have had the two halves aligned and the ironing emphasized that distortion.

  20. #20
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo
    I have resorted at times to gluing my selvages together and then pressing to get exact straight folds. My cuts were always off so I knew to buy extra fabric. That's why I was first in line to buy the fabric die cut machine.
    If you wash your fabric before you use it, you will find that the selvage edge rarely matches up perfectly. The selvage is usually of a much tighter weave then the rest of the fabric, which is why we're supposed to cut it off instead of adding it into a quilt. If you put your selvages together and then grab the folded top on either end and hold your fabric up (someone already suggested this), match the seamlines up as closely as possible but don't worry about it matching perfectly. It shouldn't 99% of the time. Then when cutting, line up the ruler along the top of the fold line and make your cuts from there down and not from the selvage lines up. This should remove any bowing problems.


    My girlfriend bought the Accucut and she absolutely loves it! She will allow others to use it and when she takes it to a class or retreat, she "rents" it out for use. I haven't rented it yet but from everyone else who has used it, they all rave about how wonderful it is.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Sparky's Avatar
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    Typically I use smaller amounts of fabric so maybe this helps, but I think you are having a problem with the fabric being off grain. Don't assume the fold from the bolt is accurate. To those of you who were horrified when your fabric was ripped at the fabric store, it will ensure a straight grain. The salvages are not what to use. You should use the torn width of the fabric, remove the selvages then fold in half and press the center, it probably will not be the same as how it was folded on the bolt. Hope this helps.

  22. #22
    Senior Member pam1966's Avatar
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    That's why I don't worry so much about the selvages meeting exactly. You can pretty much eyeball the fabric and tell if it's "straight".

  23. #23
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky
    Typically I use smaller amounts of fabric so maybe this helps, but I think you are having a problem with the fabric being off grain. Don't assume the fold from the bolt is accurate. To those of you who were horrified when your fabric was ripped at the fabric store, it will ensure a straight grain. The salvages are not what to use. You should use the torn width of the fabric, remove the selvages then fold in half and press the center, it probably will not be the same as how it was folded on the bolt. Hope this helps.
    I don't remove my selvages because I often may not use all the fabric up and years later I may want to know what type of fabric it is and if I can get more. If I took the selvage off I'd have to pin it to any leftover fabric and with my luck the pins would rust or I'd end up poking myself and bleeding all over it. Just a thought.

  24. #24
    Senior Member KittyGram's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MistyMarie
    Obviously, many of those who cut the fabric at the store are not worried about getting a perfectly straight cut that will make the fabric line up on the cutting table. I have had fabric that, lined up selvage to selvage be off by more than six inches, straight from the store. So, I always buy more than I need because I hate getting a project started, only to find out that I am a couple inches shy of what I needed and have to make a trip back to the store, or worse yet, not find the fabric again to continue.
    I have found this, too. I was taught to line up selvage to selvage - I've seen a big bulge many times in the fold if I don't do this. I just end up wiggling the fold a little one way or the other till the selvages do match, and take it from there.

  25. #25
    jeammezera's Avatar
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    I wonder if this is why Eleanor Burns usually uses only half of the fabric? she also said once that sewing shorter strips you end up with straighter fabric pieces. Just a thought.

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