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rotary pinking blades to prevent fabric raveling - question for users

rotary pinking blades to prevent fabric raveling - question for users

Old 09-03-2012, 08:20 AM
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Default rotary pinking blades to prevent fabric raveling - question for users

I spent many minutes trimming raveling threads from the back of my quilt before getting ready to make the quilt sandwich. I hate all that raveling, not to mention the chance of cutting into the quilt while doing that trimming. I know there was a post awhile ago about using pinking blades in rotary cutters and I wondered how that is working for quilters who are using them to cut fabric for their blocks.
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:57 AM
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I think the biggest problem with pinking blades is confusion over how to sew a 1/4" seam with pinked edges. Where do you pink the edges - right on the block lines, or do you leave a little extra, and if so, how much? When you sew it, do you measure 1/4" from the tip of the points, or the valleys, or somewhere in between?

I think it can be done, but you'd have to be very meticulous about your cutting and measuring.
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:58 AM
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I haven't heard of anyone using the pinking blades for cutting their blocks. Wouldn't the pinked edges make it harder to line up the blocks while piecing, and harder to get a <scant> 1/4" seam?

I have found that some fabrics ravel a lot more than others, and they're usually the fabrics with a looser weave. Homespuns do this a lot. I wonder if starching helps prevent the raveling. Fray check works for applique, but you wouldn't want to put it on every seam in a quilt.
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:14 AM
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You could try it on a small sample and see how it goes.

I've had some fabrics that hardly ravel at all - and some that are terrible. Also, if I've had to handle the pieces a lot, that seemed to encourage the fraying.
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:25 AM
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I pink both edges of the fabric before washing it. Then there is no problem. When the fabric has been washed, dried, and ironed, it is ready to cut. I trim the pinked edges and continue.
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:33 AM
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I bought a pinking blade for my rotary cutter and had a very hard time using it. You have to hold it in a certain position to get it to cut. I put it away and have never used it since then.
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:37 AM
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pinking blades are (generally) used on the raw edges of yardage before pre-washing- such as a large backing- to help keep the tangling/fraying down to a minimum- you would not be able to get accurate cuts for piecing blocks with a rotory pinking blade.
one way to make it easier to (deal) with the loose/frayed threads on the back of a quilt top is to clean up the back of each block as you make it- instead of waiting until the whole top is together.
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Old 09-03-2012, 10:24 AM
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Thank you for your responses. I guess a pinking blade isn't in my future for cutting fabric for blocks. I think I'll try more starch in the fabric for the next project and try trimming each block as I go, as ckcowl suggested. As bearisgray noted, the more handling of the block, the more raveling
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Old 09-03-2012, 10:29 AM
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When you buy your next washer get one that has the handwash cycle. It's not the same as the delicate cycle. I never have threads or fabric tangles or unraveling on my fabric, even precuts using the handwash cycle. I know any washer I buy from now on will have the handwash cycle. I don't dry my fabric in the dryer, I let it air dry or iron it damp dry. I put finished quilts in the dryer.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:06 AM
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The only time I trim raveling threads from the back of a quilt top is if the threads are underneath a light or muslin fabric where they might show. Usually if my light fabrics are good quality, even this is not necessary as once the quilt top is layered on the batting the underneath threads no longer show.

Are you pre-washing your fabric? If so, do you starch before cutting? I'm wondering because I do not pre-wash fabrics and I usually don't have a lot of ravelling anyway. (Except my current 30's repro fabrics fabric, which seems to ravel a lot.)

Those who use the pinking blade usually use it on the edges of fabric before washing, to cut down on ravelling from pre-washing. Some sellers of jelly rolls pink the edges to prevent ravelling. However, I don't know of any home quilters who use a pinking blade to cut out pieces for blocks. I think you would lose too much in accuracy.
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