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Thread: Trouble with 'dog legs' when cutting strips - help?

  1. #1
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    Trouble with 'dog legs' when cutting strips - help?

    It seems like no matter how careful I try to be, I end up with 'dog legs' in my cut strips about half of the time!!
    What am I doing wrong, please?
    justsojanie

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    What are dog legs?

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    Super Member RkayD's Avatar
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    if your talking about the "bow" in the fold ~ you have to make sure to make sure the fold is straight and not so much the selvage edges. There is a Fon's & Porter Rotary Cutting "primer" Book that I first saw this in. It was a light bulb moment for me. And I rarely ever have bowlegs anymore.
    A bed without a Quilt is like a Sky without Stars..Sew On!

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    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    If the fold is on straight of grain and lined up with a grid line on your cutting mat and you cut at a 90 angle to the fold, you will not have bends in your strips...ever.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

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    three word solution: June Tailor's "Shapecut". Check it out on her website. It's got slots every half inch (some models have quarter inch increments) where you run your rotary cutter up those slots. I love it and only regret I have is that I bought the 12" instead of the 18" so I just fold the fabric smaller before positioning the Shapecut over it.

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    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    I agree with PPM - June Tailor Shapecut has made a big difference in all my cutting, but especially the strips.

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    Senior Member leggz48's Avatar
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    This was a great thread! Thanks!
    Linda

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    Quote Originally Posted by justsojanie View Post
    It seems like no matter how careful I try to be, I end up with 'dog legs' in my cut strips about half of the time!!
    What am I doing wrong, please?
    Dog legs are created when the cut is not exactly 90 degrees from the fold. You can verify this by folding and cutting some pieces of paper! The June Tailor shape cut mat helps make straight cuts because you line up a line on the mat with the fold of your fabric so that you have the correct 90-degree angle.

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    Thank you all so much!! I will try the suggestions and book. I always appreciate how wonderful this board is!!
    justsojanie

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    you need to make sure the ruler is lined up with the fold. One teacher recommends you realign about every 6" of cut.
    As long as your ruler is lined up with the fold you will have straight cuts. If you are cutting 2.5" strips then re adjust about every 2 or 3 cuts and straighten the side if you need to before making the next cut. Your fold can be crooked but as long as the ruler is straight with the fold you will get straight cuts.

  11. #11
    Super Member TexasSunshine's Avatar
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    I recommend the June Tailor Shapecut ruler also. It has improved my cutting straight strips. It is worth the investment. I used a coupon to buy mine.
    Texas Sunshine, piney woods of NE Texas

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    Senior Member cmw0829's Avatar
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    I must be an oddball because I have more trouble WITH the June Tailor Shapecut than without.

    In order to cut full width fabric, I have to fold it twice (once as we normally do an then again so it will fit the ruler) and can't seem to get both folds situated just right to avoid a dog let. If I'm subcutting the strips into small pieces, it's not an issue but if I were to use the strips for borders or other longer purposes, it would be.

    Any hints to help me?

    Thanks,
    Cathy

  13. #13
    Super Member lynnsim's Avatar
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    I always make sure my ruler is even with the selvage. And realign every few cuts. Sometimes, I have to recut from the other side.

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    Super Member Raggiemom's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info, I'll have to try one of these myself.
    Heather

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    I looove my June tailor cutter!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmw0829 View Post
    I must be an oddball because I have more trouble WITH the June Tailor Shapecut than without.

    In order to cut full width fabric, I have to fold it twice (once as we normally do an then again so it will fit the ruler) and can't seem to get both folds situated just right to avoid a dog let. If I'm subcutting the strips into small pieces, it's not an issue but if I were to use the strips for borders or other longer purposes, it would be.

    Any hints to help me?

    Thanks,
    Cathy
    My best hint is to purchase the bigger Shapecut so you only have to fold once! I agree that it's tricky if you have to fold twice, because both folds have to be exactly paralell to one another.

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    This video was my life saver: Leah Day, the great FMQ queen gives a great demo here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcpzwJMVTbc

    It made such a difference to me
    It's quarter to me time!!

    Izy

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    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    This is why I got the Go and strip dies. Perfect strip cuts everytime and no fussy measuring or lining up edges. I know I have wasted more fabric cutting out the bow in strips then the Go cost. LOL.
    Got fabric?

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    The most important factor is how the fabric is folded in half as RkayD says. Not at all familiar with the Fons & Porter book mentioned but one of the ladies at my LQS was cutting strips one day early in my quilting career. And she's excellent. I asked her how she managed that. She showed me her technique for folding to make sure the fold is on the straight. I've adapted a bit but basically start with fabric selvage to selvage. Look for a 'bubble' (easiest done if you're a pre-washer and after ironing). I lay the fabric flat on my cutting table with the fold closest to me and then smooth out the 'bubble'. At that point the selvages will not line up but your fabric will be folded straight. Trim off the wonky end and start measuring from there. Haven't had an issue since.

  20. #20
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holice View Post
    you need to make sure the ruler is lined up with the fold. One teacher recommends you realign about every 6" of cut.
    As long as your ruler is lined up with the fold you will have straight cuts. If you are cutting 2.5" strips then re adjust about every 2 or 3 cuts and straighten the side if you need to before making the next cut. Your fold can be crooked but as long as the ruler is straight with the fold you will get straight cuts.
    You beat me to it Holice! I think I even got this tip here on the board a while back! Since lining up my ruler with my fold, I haven't had one single wonky strip. I also use the June Taylor shape cut sometimes and I make sure I line it up with the fold too.
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    I fold twice and use the june tailor strip cutter...the crux of the problem is not folding along the grain...get rid of the selvedges, they will put the fabric off-grain, and then hold the fabric up in the air, folding raw selvedge edges together...if a 'fold' is showing, off-kilter, then align the raw edges till it hangs straight...for the fold to lie straight is more important than for the ends to be even...move the sides till the fold is flat. Now fold in half again and do the same thing...they must hand straight when folded to cut straight. Now line up the bottom fold on a line of your cutting mat...lay strip cutter on top and line up the big black line even with the bottom fold line.... cut as many strips as you like, if the folds were straight, the strips will be straight. When cutting several pcs of cloth, i offset them by 1/2" or so... then they will cut better and straighter. it also allows you to go 'up and over' the folded edge so they will not cause you to go offline. I love this tool so much, I bought the 36" version when it was on sale just so i didn't have to move it so often... I use it ALL the time...

  22. #22
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    Using a large square may help you in getting straight cuts. Lay your fabric with the fold at the top on your cutting board. Make sure the fabric is smooth and lay the lg. square along the fold. Cut your strips on the side of the square making sure to keep the top of the square right on the fold.

  23. #23
    Senior Member katz_n_kwiltz's Avatar
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    june tailor shape cut- its all i use for any size strips!! always straight!!
    good luck
    katz

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    Super Member b.zang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter View Post
    The most important factor is how the fabric is folded in half. technique for folding to make sure the fold is on the straight. I've adapted a bit but basically start with fabric selvage to selvage. Look for a 'bubble' (easiest done if you're a pre-washer and after ironing). I lay the fabric flat on my cutting table with the fold closest to me and then smooth out the 'bubble'. At that point the selvages will not line up but your fabric will be folded straight. Trim off the wonky end and start measuring from there. Haven't had an issue since.
    This works for me, too, even though it really goes against my grain (ha, ha) since I learned the "pull-a-thread" method for squaring up fabric back in the old days when home ec was taught in school. It irks me to lose the wonky end pieces.
    Barbara

    Samuel Johnson - Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed, not by strength but by perseverance.

  25. #25
    Super Member raedar63's Avatar
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    I don't understand what is ment by lineing up the ruler on the fold. Please explain further.
    Thanks

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