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Tearing fabric to straighten it

Tearing fabric to straighten it

Old 06-08-2018, 09:57 AM
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Default Tearing fabric to straighten it

I have been making tote type bags for an organization for people to carry supplies home in.

I think the bags fold up better when they are cut on-grain.

So - I will tear fabric to get it "straight" - when I have "lots" to work with.

but I am also prepared to "sacrifice" at least 1/2 inch on either side of the tear that has been "mutilated' by the tearing. By "sacrificing" - I have about a 1/2 inch seam allowance so the "mutilation" is all in the seam allowance.

I also press the torn ends to try to get them to "unruffle" a bit before proceeding.

Tearing fabric makes me cringe if one is planning to use a 1/4 (or less) inch seam on the torn edge.

Tearing damages the fabric - some fabrics don't seem to suffer as much as others, but some fabrics do not tolerate tearing well at all.

Last edited by bearisgray; 06-08-2018 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 06-08-2018, 11:23 AM
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I'm with you, but it's only worth the trouble if I also pull the fabric to straighten the grain.
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Old 06-08-2018, 01:07 PM
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I find myself tearing fabric more and more. Borders work better for me when they're on the grain-I must unintentionally stretch them otherwise and they're wavy. Usually I have plenty of fabric so the ripped edge can be ironed and then trimmed.
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Old 06-08-2018, 01:08 PM
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I used to tear fabric more when I was doing garment construction and straight grain was essential. I agree you do have to allow 1/2" (at least) seam allowances when you tear because of damage to the edges. Mostly I don't tear. I have used a system that someone posted here for cutting. She had an interesting way to get the fabric straight without tearing that I liked.
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Old 06-08-2018, 01:13 PM
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I have a couple of quilt tops that my mom had worked on 30 years ago. She tore a lot of the fabric, even when she wanted 2.5" sashing.

I will tear to get a straight edge, but then normally work off that and don't tear more. I do tear when working with extra wide backing, but that normally tears very well. I tear off the selvages before putting it on the frame too.

Once I get it mounted, I'll roll it back and forth a few times with a bit of tension on it, and that will straighten it out quite nicely. I always pre wash, and sometimes it's quite off before it gets mounted.
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Old 06-08-2018, 01:28 PM
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I like to tear wide backing fabric because it is always cut so crooked.
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Old 06-08-2018, 01:38 PM
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Do you ever tear fabric and end up with a huge amount torn off at one end? I quit tearing because of that. I used to tear all the time and never had a problem, but lately, I end up with a strip that widens to at least 2 inches. That is with quilt store fabric. It's a lot worse with JoAnns fabric.
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Old 06-08-2018, 01:40 PM
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OK, this is probably just my imagination, but it seems as though there is less collateral damage if I tear the fabric really fast. If I go slowly, it appears that there's more of a ruffled edge.
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Old 06-08-2018, 01:56 PM
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I don't tear fabric to straighten it, except vertically to split a backing so I can add a expander strip. I did that last night and the edge looks pretty good. It won't need any trimming. The heavy fabric I use for bags doesn't seem to need it.
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Old 06-08-2018, 02:25 PM
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I tear fabric when making pillowcases--need to work on grain so the case will not 'roll' after laundry.
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