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Thread: Square Quilt Pieces

  1. #26
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    I prefer tearing my lengthwise strips. I usually allow a few threads more to allow for the threads. Once the two or three threads have pulled off, they're done. I press before stitching and the "little fringes" don't bother me. But tearing on the WOF is not always so good. If the fabric has been heatset at the factory off grain, then there is no pulling it back into shape. So I just square off the ends and cut across. I don't look at quiliting as rocket science, so as long as my pieces are fairly decent, I'm happy.

  2. #27
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    I have ripped for long borders too...can't say it hurt any

  3. #28
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darlene
    I have never seen a store rip fabric but it would go against what I would like. It does seems wasteful to do this and leave a messy edge.
    I'm a ripper from way back. I WISH my local shops would rip. It seems like every time they cut, it is uneven and ravels in the wash. When I've mentioned that a piece was being cut crooked, the clerk stretched it to match. I just shook my head. If cloth is woven well, ripping will give you an edge that is true. No waste at all.

  4. #29
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonpi
    Quote Originally Posted by Darlene
    I have never seen a store rip fabric but it would go against what I would like. It does seems wasteful to do this and leave a messy edge.
    I'm a ripper from way back. I WISH my local shops would rip. It seems like every time they cut, it is uneven and ravels in the wash. When I've mentioned that a piece was being cut crooked, the clerk stretched it to match. I just shook my head. If cloth is woven well, ripping will give you an edge that is true. No waste at all.
    mp, i think the key words here are 'well woven'. most fabric is not woven straight across from selvedge to selvedge. when i sewed professionally, there always had to more fabric than was 'needed' to account for off-grain.
    the thing is that when the weaving is taking place, the front and back rollers must go at the same speed. if the woven fabric comes onto the roller at a different speed than it entered the weaving loom, off-graining occurs. the lengthwise fibres come off the first roller, the shuttle goes back and forth across the lengthwise threads (fibres) weaving everything into fabric. then the fabric comes out of the loom onto another roller for rolling onto a roll of cardboard. if the roller that feeds the lengthwise threads is going at a different speed than the take-up roller, then the shuttle isn't moving back and forth evenly, causing those cross threads to be at an angle, or off-grain. when you rip, it rips at the angle at which it was woven. you can never get it to be straight.

    ripping lengthwise is always fine. they just go happily along at whatever rate of speed comes along.

  5. #30
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    I tear for the back of my quilts. I always use cottons and haven't had any problem. they used to always tear fabrics but not many places do that anymore. Or if I am taking a long strip off of one edge. It's faster.

  6. #31
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    i guess you've been lucky. most places won't rip anymore because it's not reliable. the edge strips always work.

  7. #32
    Senior Member GramMER's Avatar
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    :shock: :?

    Good fabric tears across and down (warp or woof). The secret is to tear first, then wash and square. Your drying and ironing should finish the squaring process. If you don't like strings in your washer, take time to zigzag the edges before washing. Usually, what I do is clip the selvage edge, tear both ends, zig zag the two ends together to wash them and finally toss them into the dryer that way. Voila! It is easy to work with and you never have to fear whether your quilt or your garment will "sit" right. Have you ever had a pair of jeans or kaki pants that were not cut on the square? Those are miserable to wear with seams snaking around your legs.

    There has to be something seriously wrong with a piece of fabric that cannot be squared. I have been sewing and quilting nearly 60 years and have never seen one I could not square. (I made my first garment when I was eight).

    :) :D

  8. #33
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    a good test is this:

    cut a square of the uncertain fabric. stitch the edges to prevent fraying. PRESS TO MAKE SQUARE. FORCE IF NECESSARY. make sure it is really square. wash as normal.
    then WITHOUT forcing, press and check the squareness again.

    i think you will find that the fabric has reverted to the direction in which the grain began.

  9. #34

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    Cotton rips true, but blends don't. There are some oriental stores outside the beltway in DC and they all tear the cottons, but they cut the laces and fancies.

  10. #35
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    :lol: :lol: :lol:

    we'll have to agree to disagree. i just came from my workroom, where i tore a 3-1/2 yard piece into 1-1/2 yd and 2 yd pieces. good quality kaufman fabric. when i lined up the selvedges, in order to eliminate the wrinkles at the fold, i lost over 1-1/2" on each piece, each end. if i had cut before i washed, i would have all wonky squares. if it had been cheap fabric, who knows.

    so, who knows. :roll: :roll:

  11. #36
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    I think the "old" woven cottons could be "squared" by tugging and pressing.

    Some of the newer ones seem to have a permanent memory for how they were processed - so even if "squared" at one time, they revert to being "off" when left to their own devices.

    What I'm comfortable with now:

    I buy 100% cotton fabric - I've gotten great fabric at WalMart, and great fabric at LHSs. I've also gotten some PERMANENTLY off-grain Kaufman
    fabric at a LQS. (Where the clerk told me that it would straighten out after being washed. NOT)

    I overcast the ends before washing to minimize raveling. I use either a narrow, long sigzag stitch on my regular machine or a long stitch, narrow width overcast with my serger.

    I soak in hot water, wash gently in warm or cold water, and dry on permanent press.

    If it's fairly smooth when I take it out of the dryer, I just fold it and add it to the stash. (Nice fabric). If it's horribly wrinkled when it comes out of the dryer, I'll probably not use it.

    I'll iron/press it before cutting it. MANY times the ends are uneven when I fold the fabric from selvage to selvage (and have the fabric lay smoothly) because the threads have gone to whatever their "normal" position is.

    I now look at grain lines carefully before purchasing. Sometimes they will straighten out. But if the fabric design is off-grain, there is no changing that.

    I will only tear for backings. Sometimes there will be up to an inch of puckering on the torn edges.

  12. #37
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    THANK YOU. you expressed that much better than i did. and i'm glad (well, not really GLAD!) that someone else has had that experience so no one thinks i'm crazy. and i have had that experience with some of the top manufacturers, so i know it's not just cheap fabric.

    i also finish off the edges, whichever way i feel like at the moment. sometimes zigzag, sometimes i sew the edges together. i wash in the hottest water to get all shrinkage and grain twisting over with at once, and dry in the hottest dry cycle. same reason. as soon as it comes out, i lay it flat and hand-press. i trim the overhanging edges and throw any usable inches in my scrap box. no matter how off-grain it now is, it's finished. it will never get worse. when i sew, i starch or size, so the edges, which are now slightly biased, are no problem whatsoever. so i just cut my fabric and sew. with this technique, i have never had a problem.

  13. #38
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    I guess I could save a step by putting the fabric in the hot wash water right away.

    I soak them so I can see how the dye(s) are behaving - and if a piece of fabric has really bad manners, I don't ruin a whole batch of fabric.

    I put like colors together the first time I dunk the fabrics. So if there is an issue with the dyes running, bleeding, excess dye - it won't be an issue - I just remove that one and rinse it some more.

    I have learned that there are some pieces that WON'T stop spilling dye.
    I try to return them because I consider them defective. Sometimes the store will take them back - sometimes not. But i absolutely will not use it.

    I don't use dye stabilizers - I figure if ithe dye wasn't fixed by the manufacturing process, my little home rememdies won't help.

    I haven't tried them, though, so I don't really know if they work or not.

    Comments?

  14. #39
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    when i buy yardage and first wash in hottest water, i use the lowest level and wash each piece separately. i know i'm using a lot of water, but it's the only way to know which one is the one that might be bleeding. i also use use detergent. what the hey, get it all out in the open before i begin.

    after all, which do you want first, the good news or the bad news?

    when i buy smaller bits, i BOIL (that's the hottest water) and then let dry. i figure the boiling will do whatever can be done to it.

    if i really love something that bleeds, i try again with retayne. sometimes that works. i would use that for a wallhanging. i don't trust it for bedding that will be washed regularly. i never count on things like salt or other home remedies. however i have had reds that never gave up. in those cases, i did.

  15. #40
    Quilt Mama's Avatar
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    Whether you get a straight line depends entirely on whether the warp and weft threads were loaded straight on the loom. I will not purchase fabric if ripping is their only way of cutting. Even good quality is off and once you start working with it you can loose inches of it.

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