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Thread: How do you begin to start cutting your fabrics - say a two yard piece?

  1. #1
    Senior Member chickadee_42us's Avatar
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    I am self taught quilter from reading books and watching quilting show. This is what I try to do.

    Wash and dry the fabric. Iron it and spray starch on it. Fold it in half with the selvages on each side, trying to find the 'straight of grain'. Level the bottoms then fold back to where there is a folded side and the other is the twin selvage side then begin the cuts.

    Do you cut a two yard piece into a small unit; do you cut your borders first if they are to be from the same fabric swatch?

    Just curious to see how others work it and I do realize that each choice is unique to each person.

    Thanks in advance for your replies.

  2. #2
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    I'm self-taught, too. I cut the largest pieces first -- NOT the border. I save the borders until the end, whether it's the same fabric as in the pieces or different. Then I cut the borders, that way I'm assured I'll have enough. And call me crazy, but I always buy more fabric than they say you need for a pattern......because I was burned once, ran short of one of the fabrics and never did find it again (that was before I discovered this forum!! :lol: ).

  3. #3
    Super Member Iluv2quilt's Avatar
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    I cut my borders last only because when the piecing is finished I may decide to place alternate borders or patchwork borders on the quilt. I now purchase more material than what the pattern calls for only so I do not run out of any color and find the store has no more. I prep my fabric similar to how you do.

  4. #4
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    i typically base my decision on whether i want the border to be one piece or not. if it needs to be one strips the borders are the first thing that i cut.

    the quilts for myself, i don't mind if i have to join 2 strips together in order to achieve a length long enough for the border.

    the quilts that i sell or enter in competitions, i never join 2 strips together to achieve the length unless its a pieced border and a design element.

  5. #5
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    For me it depends on the fabric. If I am using a large print that I don't want to have to match, I will cut the borders lengthwise first, then cut the remaining pieces out of what's left. I always work it out on paper first so that I know what cuts I am making. I usually buy extra fabric, so I don't often have a problem with running out. Once when I did run short, what I did was to put a coordinating square in the corners of the quilt. It looked planned, so no one knew I screwed up but me!

  6. #6
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    It depends on the fabric.
    I like cutting the borders first, if I know what they are going to be.
    I also buy extra fabric, in case I screw up cutting, which I do on occasion.

  7. #7
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    If I use a pattern it tells me what order to cut the pieces in. If not I cut my borders last unless it is a pattern fabric and I need long pieces.

  8. #8
    Super Member pittsburgpam's Avatar
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    I don't usually have the border fabric in the quilt so I buy that seperately. I like striped or floral borders. I do the same... wash, dry, starch and iron, fold and even up the ends and grain then cut strips for the size of the pieces.

  9. #9
    Super Member shaverg's Avatar
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    I also cut the borders first if I want them to be one piece.

  10. #10
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
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    I also cut borders first if I want them in one piece and I'm sure that's the fabric I want to use. And, yes, I ALWAYS buy more than needed!!! Don't ask how many times I've cut something the wrong size :oops:

  11. #11
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I generally remember that I should have cut my border first after the center is done and I realize I'll have to piece the border. lol

    If I have a limited amount of fabric and I can't get any more, I spend a lot of time doing the math to make sure there will be enough. The old saying: measure twice cut once comes to mind...... Inadvertantly, I'll miscut, mismeasure, or missew, and that's where creativity and a visit to the fabric store come in. :lol:

  12. #12
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I usually by border fabric separate even if it's the same as what I'm going to use in the quilt blocks. This way I know that piece is for borders. I try not to buy more than 1/2 yard cuts of any fabric unless it's for backing. It's easier to have the smaller size to work with. I may buy two yards of one fabric but have it cut into four 1/2 yards. Fabric cost so much I don't mind asking the shop to cut it the way I want it.

  13. #13
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    usually with a rotary cutter, but sometimes with a scissors, very occasionally I'll tear it -

    Seriously, if the whole piece is going to be cut into - say four inch squares -
    I would probably tear off an 18 inch length and cut my pieces from that -
    It is just so much easier to handle shorter lengths.

    I make my first cut on the lengthwise grain - and allow the extra length for if the fabric had an off-grain beginning cut.

    I also try to buy extra.

    And to plan ahead before cutting if I only have a small piece available.

    GREAT tips have been given here - such as drawing out the pieces on graph paper before cutting, etc.




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