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Thread: Ripping vs Cutting fabric

  1. #1
    Super Member Eddie's Avatar
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    I went to a LQS that I don't ordinarily go to today at lunch. I wanted to get some off-white background fabric for a quilt I'm contemplating, and the LQS I normally go to is closed on Mondays. This shop I went to today is more of a sewing / smocking kind of place, although maybe 1/6th of the store footprint is the quilting area. The lady at the quilting counter was helpful and showed me various fabrics to help me make a selection. I told her I wanted 2 yards so she measured it out and make a small cut in the selvedge. I figured she was marking where she was going to cut. She then picked up the fabric in both hands and RIIIPPPPED is from side to side. :shock: :shock: :shock: I know I probably visibly cringed when she did it.

    It seems like fabric ripped like this would be likely to be skewed in the process? Yes? No? I've only been to like maybe a half dozen LQSs, but at all of them they simply rotary cut the material, or even at Wal-Mart they just use scissors. Do other places rip fabric before your very eyes like this?

  2. #2
    MsSage's Avatar
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    LOL Mary Jos does that too and I about fell over too....
    The girl said that it rips straight since its on the grain.....

  3. #3
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    Am I the only other person who hates to have my fabric ripped? Seems like that practice went out years ago. Do they really do this anymore....other than that one place?

    June in Cincinnati

  4. #4
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Some of the shops around here will rip the fabrics. Most of them cut. I did have a vendor at the International Quilt shop rip my 1 yard cut.
    I rip my fabrics for the backing, but then I use a 5/8" seam to get away from the stretched ripped edge. It does distort the edge a little. I will also frequently rip off a smaller piece (ie 1/4 or 1/2 yard) from a much larger piece when I am going to use it for piecing. I cut the actual pieces, I just separate a workable size piece from larger, 3- 12 yard pieces that I may have. The leftover piece between the cut edge and the rip goes into the scrap pile for .....It does rip along the grain line.

  5. #5
    Super Member Minda's Avatar
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    It does rip straight, but it also stretches and distorts the edge that's ripped. I wouldn't want my fabric ripped.

  6. #6
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    The shop I went to last week rips too. I did ask her if she could cut it, and she was very willing to do that for me.

  7. #7
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    I will NOT purchase fabric that has been ripped...if they say that's the only way they do it...then great...let them keep it.... the threads for at least " are pulled into an unusable condition. I also understand that when you try to straighten fabric & then rotary cut it...you "lose" an inch or two...& it really shouldn't happen...but it does....

  8. #8
    Super Member shaverg's Avatar
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    I always rip long pieces, and it never distorts. I get more distortion when I wash fabrics. My borders and backing are exact everytime. I have been quilting over 25 years. I know when they cut sometimes it is really hard to straighten the fabric when I get it home. If it looks distorted just press it and it is fine. You get a truer straight when it is ripped. I just took a class and mentioned ripping and the instructor also hadn't ripped in years and we all started ripping our large straight pieces and everyone was really surprised and excited and how easy and perfect each strip was. I rip for any long strip 3" and over.

    I am attaching a photo of one of my recent quilt tops both the narrow and wide border are ripped.
    Attached Images Attached Images


  9. #9
    Super Member shaverg's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention I did not have to trip either one except for a few and very few long threads.

  10. #10
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    i don't let people rip my fabric either - i understand the straight of grain blah, blah, blah but it just rubs me the wrong way.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Roben's Avatar
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    I actually prefer to 'tear' (gently, not a ferocious 'rip') for long pieces - a press and, rarely a trim, and I'm good to go. I like border prints, and this is the best way I've found to get them as accurate as possible. I only tear lengthwise grain, tho - I think it could possibly stretch the crosswise grain.

    Eddie, here is a site that talks about fabric grains: http://www.sewaquilt.com/fabric-grain.html It might help to understand, at least :D

  12. #12
    Super Member shaverg's Avatar
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    Boy so much for typing trim not trip. LOL

  13. #13
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    I almost always rip lengthwise, seldom from selvedge to selvedge. Considering how out-od-whack fabric is cut sometimes, I don't notice any loss from ripping. I wash my fabric before using, and iron it, so it is fine before I use it.

  14. #14
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    I want my fabric cut! I haven't been anywhere that they rip for years. Every place I have been they use scissors or rotary cutters. I think my jaw would drop if they ripped my fabric! I think I would take a really close look at the ripped edges. I think they used to rip when we washed our fabric before sewing and then the ends would kind of self heal. I seldom launder my fabric anymore, so I don't want the edges ruffled! :?

  15. #15
    Super Member shaverg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roben
    I actually prefer to 'tear' (gently, not a ferocious 'rip') for long pieces - a press and, rarely a trim, and I'm good to go. I like border prints, and this is the best way I've found to get them as accurate as possible. I only tear lengthwise grain, tho - I think it could possibly stretch the crosswise grain.

    Eddie, here is a site that talks about fabric grains: http://www.sewaquilt.com/fabric-grain.html It might help to understand, at least :D
    I agree rip does sound more ferocious than tear. I tear my long strips.

  16. #16
    Super Member alaskasunshine's Avatar
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    nope I wouldn't like my fabrics ripppppped either...no way! I know about the straight of grain but if you are buying quilt shop quality fabric it should be printed straight! Will you go back for another ripping?

  17. #17
    farscapegal
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    Ripping doesn't bother me at all. Whichever way they want to do it is fine with me. I love to buy fabric at Mary Jo's and that is the only way they do it. I have one quilt shop that rotary cuts it and the other one rips.

    I wash my fabric before I use it so I really can't tell the difference.

    Sybil

  18. #18
    Super Member pittsburgpam's Avatar
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    I absolutely hate to cut long border strips of fabric. It never comes out perfectly but tearing it DOES. I started tearing border pieces after a discussion here and if at all possible I will. The last couple of quilts have been very definate border prints so I cut following my selected point in the print.

    The two that I did by tearing I was very happy with.

  19. #19
    Super Member omak's Avatar
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    Read a few posts and figured it out!
    If they want to cut it three inches longer than the three yards I ordered, by all means - - rip away, but consider this!

    If you rip it from selvedge to selvedge, you will definitely skew the fabric ... it may be straight somewhere along the line, but selvedge to selvedge is not the most stable part to rip.

    If you are going to rip your borders, then you have a really good chance of having little waste, little distortion, since the lengthwise of a bolt is more stable than the selvedge to selvedge.

    I am not professional enough to tell the warp from the weft, but one of them is touchy, and the other one is stable.
    Which explains why (when I tried ripping my backing straight while it was on the quilt frame, and I was NOT using the length) ... my backing was skewed, and I did some fancy piecing to make it all blend.

  20. #20
    Senior Member gramqlts's Avatar
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    My grandmother quilted for over sixty years and always, always ripped her fabrics. After getting ahlzeimers and going to nursing home, she started ripping all her gowns to pieces. She would bring the bottom up and bite it with her teeth to get it started and then stretch her arms out to rip it. She had all the nurses baffled as to why she was doing it and after I walked in and saw her, I instantly knew that in her mind she was quilting again. lol

  21. #21
    Super Member azdesertrat's Avatar
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    there is a fabric store in town that sells fabric by the pound,been here for years.They rip the fabric.My friend went in to buy and about had a heart attack when they ripped the first piece.She asked the girl not to do that,she wanted it cut,the girl proceded to rip again and my friend turned and walked out,left the fabric there.

  22. #22
    Super Member peaceandjoy's Avatar
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    I do think ripping gives you a more straight of grain edge - but ripping selvedge to selvedge will likely leave a half inch or so unusable. So my instinct is to say that they need to allow for that, and give an inch or two extra. In thinking about it, though, I often have to cut that much off to straighten the edge anyhow, and getting it to the point of knowing where the straight edge in can be challenging, esp. for longer cuts.

    This reminds me of waaayyy back when I started sewing - in 4-H. We were doing garment construction and after buying fabric at the Ben Franklin, we had to pull a thread up with a pin and then pull it from edge to edge to get the straight of grain for our pattern. :shock:

  23. #23
    Piedmont Quilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsSage
    LOL Mary Jos does that too and I about fell over too....
    The girl said that it rips straight since its on the grain.....
    Ripping doesn't bother me at all. Whichever way they want to do it is fine with me. I love to buy fabric at Mary Jo's and that is the only way they do it. I have one quilt shop that rotary cuts it and the other one rips.

    I wash my fabric before I use it so I really can't tell the difference.

    Sybil
    I too go to Mary Jo's (quite often). There are several of the girls there that "rip" the fabric, but not all of them do. I have purchased several fabrics that I did not want "ripped" and they were more than happy to cut those fabrics for me. ANY fabric shop should honor the wishes of the customer, (within reason) - that is - if they want to stay in business.

  24. #24
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    I also go to Mary Jo's and I have never had my fabric ripped. I do tear mine for borders, it is so much easier to get a straight line with long borders that way . If I am buying good quality material, it doesn't bother me if they tear it.

  25. #25
    Super Member Yarn or Fabric's Avatar
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    I hate when they rip fabric. I cringe. I don't like the fabric all stretched out. Sirs in Fayetteville rips it and they act like I'm putting them out when I tell them I don't like it ripped.
    It's faster for them to rip it so they hate using the scissors...

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