Fabric Cutting

Friday, August 13, 2010


Yummy, originally uploaded by jenib320.
While away on a little trip to Chicago, we managed to stop into a little quilt shop that sold modern fabrics. They had a great selection, and I certainly restrained myself. The shop was cute, the fabrics gorgeous and the place was just quite, cool for lack of a better word. So I went about picking out the few fabrics I allowed myself to splurge on and I was all ready to have them cut.

The woman helping me unrolls the first bolt and asks how much I want, I respond 1/3 yard (my favorite size!). She goes about measuring it out and pulls out some scissors. She started to cut and before I knew it she had made her starting cut and then RIPPED the fabric. Now I am no novice to this technique, I use it on my vintage sheets all the time. But nice designer cottons? I was a little shocked! But I kept my cool and continued to watch the ripping. She was over-measuring to allow for the fraying, so I thought no biggie, I can live with that.

Then, we got to the Echnio print I picked out. I thought, well regular fabric, sure, but there is no way she's going to rip the $16.50/yd fabric. She did. I couldn't believe it! It literally made my skin crawl to watch.

So after this experience I have to know! How does your local quilt shop cut your yardage? Rotary? Scissors? Ripping? Is this much more common than I think?

How do you all feel about ripping?

21 comments :

  1. Scissors at my local quilt shops, there is a quilt shop about hour from my house that rips flannel fabrics. I really don't like the sound of ripping fabric, kind of like nails on a chalk board.

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  2. JoAnn's by me uses scissors, but they are so sloppy and edges come out jagged. When Walmart used to sell fabric, it was a coin toss as to how they'd cut the fabric.

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  3. I managed a quilt store and we never ripped the fabric - that would have sent most customers over the edge. The only time I rip it is when I really need the piece to be straight on the grain - never on expensive fabric though! You managed to keep yourself under control - good for you! Most places I go now use a rotary cutter on a mat with a straight edge... Jamie V in MT

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  4. ripping??? that just doesnt even make sense to me! it seems so much easier to cut it than rip it.

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  5. If I'm buying from my lqs, they line it up and rotary cut it perfectly, I never worry about it as it's usually spot on.

    The large chain store (Spotlight, Aussie equivalent to Joannes) seems to only employ people who have no idea what a right angle is and how to cut straight. I always ask for about 20cm more than I need and rip both cut edges once I get home. The worse I've had was a difference of almost 9inches between the selvedges!

    I also rip my sashing and borders, so far no problems at all.

    So I'm a ripper... sorry :)

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  6. I don't think I've ever seen any one rip. At Joann's or the small places here or up at my parents. Weird.

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  7. I think I might be taken aback by a ripped fabric, too. At my JoAnns they cut with scissors (and never seem to make a straight cut). At my local fabric store they use a rotary cutter and mat, and always give generous cuts-- it definitely makes me more inclined to buy from them!
    I really love the echino print you picked out! What was the name of the store in Chicago? I want to check it out next time I'm there!

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  8. Pretty fabrics.~
    My new LQS and most I've visited cut with a rotary cutter, but there is one quiltshop only a half hour away that I quit going to because they ripped. It would pull the threads on at least 2 inches of the fabric on each side of the cut, so I lost 4 full inches total and some of the rest had a few pulls...like a dull needle had pulled it. I just quit going there after telling them why. I guess they didn't care as I hear they still rip.

    I rip my sheets, but it messes up the print on quilt fabric.

    Lucy (in IN)

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  9. Wow, that would be shocking! All the quilt shops I've been to use rotary cutters and I'm usually really happy with the accuracy of the cuts.

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  10. I think I would have fainted right there. or maybe yelled "STOP!!"

    my lqs uses a rotary, phew.

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  11. I only get to shop at Joannes, and they use scissors. I've never seen fabric ripped and would actually be curious to see. I don't know why everyone doesn't use rotary mats. I mean, how easy!

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  12. I've seen most places either cut with scissors or rotary cutter/long ruler (I'm in Canada), but the BEST cutting tables I've ever seen are at Dressew Fabric on W. Hastings St in Vancouver.

    Their custom tables are made of alternating black and white sections, each a half meter wide (20"). In between each section is a little groove for the scissors to travel in. So they line up the selvedge with the meter sticks on the edge of the table and snip away! Brilliant!

    (The tables also have a round trough on the side to put the bolts).

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  13. My local quilt shop rips it. I'm used to it now...I go in there all the time! LOL

    When I went to Purl in Soho, the gal neatly lined up the ruler on the fabric and used a rotary cutter.

    Nice selection of fabric!

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  14. I think I might freak out if it was nice fabric like you had picked out! I have only seen them rip at my Joann's, and that was when it was a polyester blend so it ripped well.

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  15. My mother and grandmother were big sewers and I always remember the local fabric stores ripping yardage unless the fabric was too thick to do so. I was told it was because it would follow the grain and be straight. Lately at the same store, they started using scissors ( and terribly terribly uneven in comparison) but only for quilting fabric because "customers complained that it twisted the fabric"

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  16. I've seen scissors, rotary cutters and ripping at chains and independent quilt stores alike, and I've been to quilt shops in three (Canadian) provinces and three U.S. states. I don't mind the ripping too much (other than the shock the first time the salesperson did it), unless they don't measure extra to compensate for the ruined two or so centimetres (half inch?) along the ripped seam. I've had pieces that were exactly what I asked for in size, but I lost a half-inch on each side due to the damage the ripping did to the fabric. I must admit, I like the nice crisp cut of a rotary cutter myself.
    Sarah (miss_sarah_e_brown(at)yahoot(dot)ca

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  17. i have seen cutting and ripping... when i bought cheap broad cloth it was faster for her to rip it i guess, and thats ok...
    but usually its scissors.
    though, interestingly enough, i dragged my boyfriend into a joanns on the weekend (my first time! i'm from canada), and he even asked why they used scissors and not the rotary cutter... go figure...

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  18. When I was little my mom used to take me to buy fabric from some Amish women. They had a little tiny shop behind their house with bolts of fabric lined up along the walls. I remember being shocked the first time I saw them make a tiny cut in the fabric and then rip it from the bolt! I haven't seen anyone do that since then though and would probably be shocked to see it at a modern fabric shop!

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  19. I wish more stores ripped. I just ripped almost 5" off some yardage in order to straighten the grain. Even the "nice designer cottons" are wound on the bolt totally off-kilter. To cut nice straight strips, you need the fabric to be perfectly straight. The only way that I've ever seen to make the edge straight is to rip it. You can always neaten it by trimming off 1/2" with a rotary cutter afterwards. I'd rather have something ripped (and a bit wavy) and perfectly on the grain, than something cut with a rotary cutter but totally off.

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  20. I always rip my fabric, does that make me barbaric? And I always buy a little extra (as i like to pre-wash all of my fabrics) to allow for shrinkage, crooked cuts and fraying.

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  21. I like both ways, but tearing is always nice as long as the shop allows a little extra- it keeps the cut on the straight grain and any stretching that occurs goes away when you pre-wash fabric. The way fabric gets rolled on the bolt the outer fold gets wrappped on at a slightly different rate than the inner fold so fabric- no matter how nice- is never on the bolt perfectly straight. That being said- most nice shops cut just over what you ask for anyway so this allows for correcting the grain shift!
    I just like knowing I'm getting straight grain pieces. So tearing is my favorite. Rotary cuts sure are neater though!

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