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Thread: Help! I'm trying to cut a 2 1/2 'strip the width of the fabric, but....

  1. #1
    Super Member Ms Grace's Avatar
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    every time I try it comes out all crooked! :cry:
    How can I get it to cut straight? Is there a trick to cutting these fabric strips?? :roll:

  2. #2
    Senior Member mamabird3's Avatar
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    I have to pay close attention ot how I fold my fabric when cutting strips. Sometimes folding it directly in half doesn't work because it isn't cut straight. Trying to figure out how to put it into words. After I fold it, I work from the fold up smoothing it out to see how it lays. Ugh.. does that make sense at all?

  3. #3
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    I cut my strips with the grain line, then I don't have a problem.

  4. #4
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    The only way I found to cut strips and know with out a doubt there won't be a V in the middle is to cut one layer at a time. At quilt congress we were showed to iron out the fold line, line up the selvage edges perfectly pin or baste them together. Re iron the fold in the fabric, then bring the fold end up to the pinned selvage edge, use the widest ruler edge we had lined up on the bottom fold and then cut the strips. :shock: :shock: :shock: Uh no thanks. I just cut the V out of the strip and go on like nothing was ever crooked to begin with. :wink:

  5. #5
    Super Member gcathie's Avatar
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    Great ideas everyone ...and I second them!!....:-)

  6. #6
    Cookn's Avatar
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    If you don't square your ruler with the fabric there is absolutely no way to cut a strip correctly. I use the two ruler method. First I align the fabric selvage to selvage and fold it once and then again length wise, giving me a long strip of folded fabric. VERY IMPORTANT once you have started the process and placed your ruler on the fabric DO NOT move the material until you are through cutting strips. I take the largest ruler that I have , which is a 20" square, place it on the fabric fold line where I can set it on let's say the 1" line all the way across the fold for the full 20". I leave approximately 1" of fabric showing on the left side of the ruler, very carefully without moving the 20" ruler while holding it very securely, I place another ruler on the left side of the 20" ruler. While holding the new ruler secure, I remove the 20" ruler because I have squared the fabric with the new ruler and 20 " is no longer needed. I can now trim the fabric along the right edge of the new ruler. After trimming the edge of the fabric without moving the material I set the new ruler on the fabric aligning it with the fabric at the 2 1/2" marks on the ruler and cut a perfect squared strip. If, at any point in this process, you have moved the fabric, you have to start all over again. The actual process takes only seconds to do once you understand how to do it. If you are left handed you have to reverse everything but it would still work for you.

  7. #7
    Senior Member key4unc's Avatar
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    I have given up on trying to cut long strips without getting a V at the fold. Plus I find them a pain to work with--especially at the ironing table. So, usually I just cut the fold off so I have 2 short strips instead of one long one. If I need subcuts that would make it impossible to cut the fold off (like 8" strips), I will cut the 8" pieces leaving the last one at the fold for later. Then I take those pieces to the ironing board, spritz them with water and press them into shape. If one is really wonky, it goes into the scrap bin.

  8. #8
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    I cut my fabric the same way as you esplained an never have a problem with a V in the center. Works every time. And I never fold the fabric more than once. Marge
    Quote Originally Posted by Cookn
    If you don't square your ruler with the fabric there is absolutely no way to cut a strip correctly. I use the two ruler method. First I align the fabric selvage to selvage and fold it once and then again length wise, giving me a long strip of folded fabric. VERY IMPORTANT once you have started the process and placed your ruler on the fabric DO NOT move the material until you are through cutting strips. I take the largest ruler that I have , which is a 20" square, place it on the fabric fold line where I can set it on let's say the 1" line all the way across the fold for the full 20". I leave approximately 1" of fabric showing on the left side of the ruler, very carefully without moving the 20" ruler while holding it very securely, I place another ruler on the left side of the 20" ruler. While holding the new ruler secure, I remove the 20" ruler because I have squared the fabric with the new ruler and 20 " is no longer needed. I can now trim the fabric along the right edge of the new ruler. After trimming the edge of the fabric without moving the material I set the new ruler on the fabric aligning it with the fabric at the 2 1/2" marks on the ruler and cut a perfect squared strip. If, at any point in this process, you have moved the fabric, you have to start all over again. The actual process takes only seconds to do once you understand how to do it. If you are left handed you have to reverse everything but it would still work for you.

  9. #9
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    So far very few fabics fold straight. I always end up cutting off a good inch or more from the selvage end. Its the way they are put on the bolt.
    Spend a little time making sure the fabric folds even and irons nice.
    Some fabrics just have alot of waste on the end and if you fold it the way it should be you wont have a problem cutting.

  10. #10
    PrettyKitty's Avatar
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    I am doing exactly the same thing at the moment for strips for a braided border.

    I fold the fabric once, then line up the short end of the ruler exactly on the fold of the fabric. This makes sure that the long side of the ruler that you cut against is perpendicular to the folded edge of the fabric, and the strips come out fine. Hope that makes sense. I can take a pic later if you want, PM me.

  11. #11

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    I have solved that problem. Bought a accucut cutter. Perfect 2.5 strips every time. Cut 10 layers at a time two.

    Linda D MI

  12. #12
    Super Member omak's Avatar
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    I fold the fabric twice (make sure your rotary cutter is big enough to handle more than three layers of fabric).
    The first fold is the way it is put on the board, and it may or may not be straight. If the fabric was loaded with a bunch of wrinkles, you have a choice of ironing it out, or throwing the whole fabric into the dryer with a wet towel and tumble for twenty minutes or so. Take out immediately and start the folding process. As mentioned before, get the selvages as close together as possible, along the length, but rest assured, your chances of having them line up exactly are pretty slim ... that is the first fold - - go to the folded side and begin smoothing the fabric so that it is laying straight and flat (at which point, you may or may not have selvedges matching) - - not to worry, your goal is to have your fabric straight and flat. I then fold the fabric a second time. If it is a great length of fabric, I go get help, but the point is to not allow the first fold to get away from its determinded correct position. If you practice on a fat quarter first, in time, you will move up the size frame until you are adept at any length you can get help with or handle on your own.
    Some might ask: But, aren't you afraid that you are going to get across the grain? Well ... no ... since many old quilts that have lasted more than a hundred years have been found to have squares made on almost the bias ... just treat your fabric with respect, encouraging it to lay flat and smooth, don't pull on it while it is trying to sew through the machine, and you won't notice the off grain at all ... two inches is two inches, no matter what direction it get there.
    There is no grain god waiting to strike you down because you got cross of it .

  13. #13
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    I press the fabric first so I don't have the crease any longer. Then I fold the fabric with the selvages together but I keep the sides from touching at first so I can check that it hangs straight. (You can tell when it doesn't because either side will pull. It almost looks like a huge hammock.) Then I let the fabric touch and smooth it out on my cutting surface and square off one side.

    I generally cut a multiplied value of my strip width. Example: @2.5" I would probably cut 20" at a time, and then cut that into 8 2.5" strips.

    Happy cutting.

  14. #14
    Junior Member gangles's Avatar
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    I solved the straight strips by cutting a 1/2 in slit in the edge of the fabric and tearing across the fabric, it will always tear on the straight of grain. If the fabric tears off before going to the other side, start on the other side with your slit and tearing. We were taught this in Home Ec. back in 1963, tells my age doesn't it. I even tear strips for quilts, allowing an extra 1/4 inch for the ravel edges then trim off after the first
    sewing. I have done this many many times and turn out perfect straight of grain strips, squares etc., just always check your cutting line after a few cuts to see if your are staying straight or have slipped if cutting.
    Hope this helps.
    Gangles

  15. #15
    Super Member omak's Avatar
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    aren't you the clever one, Gangles!
    I had forgotten about that tearing the strips thing, but Elenor BUrns used to teach that method all of the time.
    And, you are right - - straight of grain with the minimum of hassle.
    However, I have always resisted it because of: What size to tear if I have to clean up those ragged edges? What size to tear is I keep the ragged edges (with all of those strings that happen as the fabric gets on straight of grain)?
    Now, thanks to you - - I know ... tear the strips a quarter inch wider and trim the rags ... thank you ... that helps a lot!

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the cutting tips !!! I sometimes get that dreaded " v " when cutting strips , drat ! People on this board are so helpful :thumbup: :thumbup:

    I think my biggest pet peeve is : buying remnants at walmart , open them up and it looks like a 2yr old cut it ! Jagged , loose as much as an inch at times straightening it up !

    Annie

  17. #17
    Super Member omak's Avatar
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    Quilters! :!:
    one NEVER loses fabric when the cut edges do not line up.
    One has simply been given the added bonus of the seed fabric for your next scrap quilt!
    Of course, if you had your fabric cut to the exact size you think you needed, you might be a little short, but even that is an opportunity to do something different than you started out planning.
    isn't it wonderful how quilting encourages us to let go of pre-conceived ideas?

  18. #18
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I did the same as Linda D MI, I bought the die cut machine. Best thing I've bought since my sewing machine. :D

  19. #19
    Junior Member gangles's Avatar
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    I wish I had told you that you should try an extra 1/4" and if that isn't enough sometimes go almost half an inch larger just to make sure I have enough to trim up to the size I need.
    2 of the last 3 tops I have made have been by the "Tear" method.

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