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Topic: How do you cut straight lines from your fabric???  (Read 532 times)
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kinkyknit
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« on: May 27, 2007 05:41:04 AM »

Is there some nifty trick that I don't know?

I bought rolls of fabric to make some curtains out of, but the selvedge edges aren't straight, and of course the cut edges areen't straight either.  So, how does the home sewer cut the damn thing so that the fabric is a nice rectange with straight edges?  Huh (it's wide and huge). Is there a trick? How do the professionals do it? How would a curtain maker start?

Do textile college courses teach this?

I'm really frustrated and would really, really appreciate any help!  Sad

xxx
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rachel.in.rainbows
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2007 06:02:37 AM »

Maybe I'm misinterpreting... but with many fabrics once you make a small snip you can rip the fabric and it follows the grain of the thread straight down.  I know it works with cottons, etc.  I don't know if it'll work for what you're doing or not, or maybe you already know this and you have a fabric that can't rip like that, but that's usually what I do. 

Hope that helps! Smiley

R
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misplacedhippie
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2007 06:10:22 AM »

two methods
the easiest - Tear it! cut through the little selvege edge, then grab each side and pull! this will make a very straight line.  WARNING!:some fabrics do NOT tear, they pucker and curl and a disaster ensues.  You never know which is which either, I have seen silkie fabrics do both, I have seen regular (plain ccottany feeling) fabrics do both.

second method
take a tiny snip through the selvege edge.  Pull one thread VERY VERY carefully across the entire width of fabric.  if it breaks that is cool - straighten out the fabric, you will have a tiny tiny little stripe where that thread is missing.  cut on that stripe.  when you get to your thread again start pulling again.

TA DA straight edges.

now when you hold up the fabric selvage to selvage folded in half with selveges as the long end (cut edges as top and bottom) it might hang straight then you are ready to sew, if not it will hang crooked. Have someone sturdy (short fabrics your foot will work, for longer pieces you need a friend, husband, strong child) hold the short side corner, and you take the diagonal corner.  Hold very close to the tip of the corner and  Play tug-o-war for a bit, refold and see how it hangs - repeat until the fabric hangs straight.  Some fabrics straighten out like a breeze, while other are EVIL and never straighten out! Somethimes thats not a problem though, and if your curtains have enough body, as in you arent making straight flat pannels, then no one will ever know.
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2007 06:28:54 AM »

making a small snip and tearing doesn't always make straight edges (learned that from watching fabric shop assistants sell me crooked pieces of fabric =/)

misplacedhippie's second idea sounds tedious but bound to work
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kinkyknit
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2007 07:55:47 AM »

Thank you! My fabric is - I don't know what it's called and it was from a mill so it's "mystery" fabric - but on the wrong side it's like thick cotton, and on the right side it's kind of fakey suedy, so I don't think it'll rip, but these are all fabulous tips, thank you  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2007 08:46:54 AM »

The selvage edges should be straight...or at least relatively straight. Straight enough that you can make them straight. That is where you start if you want to cut it. Then you need a giant L shaped ruler or T square to make sure that you make a straight crossgrain line.

Yes ripping fabric is an excellent thing to know, but you have to remember that it all depends on the weave of the fabric not the fiber content. So for example a plain weave fabric will rip, a twill weave will not. Same with the pulling of the thread. Also ripping may pull the bias of the fabric and the you have to pull the fabric straight again.
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misplacedhippie
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2007 08:12:33 PM »

Fabric will not hang straight until you pull on it to make it strech straight.  If you look at torn, or cut fabric very close  you can see that it is straight to the grain of the cloth.  if you cut your item out without pulling the fabric straight you run the risk of it not hanging right.  This is so hard to explain with typing.
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2007 08:38:28 PM »

Also, prewashing can throw off the grain of a fabric. To put it back on grain, grab a friend, take the corners of the fabric, and pull ON THE STRAIGHT. Any pulling on the bias will throw off the grain even more.
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