Inspiring Quilters, Stitch by Stitch
Debbi,I don't care how careful you fold your fabrics,after about 4 cuts you have to unfold and trim the edges again,that's why I rip my fabric.If you rip the selvage off and it's perfectly straight you know it's ok to rip your strips.I know most quilters don't like this method but I find it saves time and I don't have to worry about the v.I've been doing it for years and never had a problem with it.There is always rules that people are suppose to follow but I find if something works for you then do it whether someone says it's right or wrong.
I ripped strips for a project once. Maybe I did it differently than patbruck, but I wasn't happy with it. I was rippding crosswise grain (selvage to selvage) and my strips stretched and distorted. As a result I wasn't happy with the finished product. Just my opinion.
Another suggestion, open fabric, iron, re-fold 1/2 matching as closely as possible selvage/selvage-cut off the selvage (fabric is woven tighter there). Refold in half, matching your selvages & ignoring the off/ends @ fabric width. iron the fold crisp. square up the width with new cut, cut now you have a "squared" two sides to start cutting your strips. This applies to strips across width of fabric.
Going with grain is much simpler, open fabric, iron, fold-matching selvages as closely as possible, cut selvage off, square one end & cut length wise using your new selvage. Open remainder @ fold, iron & cut the last strip.
Always take your time! in each step of the quilting process. There is NO hurry if you want your quilt to come out right. You need to be accurate in your cutting AFTER you make sure your fabric is laying properly. Don't assume you are sewing a 1/4 inch just because you have a 1/4 in foot. Check your seam and make sure. Then set your seam before you press it to the side and PRESS, don't iron. Each step is important. Take a beginning class. Learn the correct way from the beginning and you won't have bad habits to unlearn. And you will enjoy this wonderful way of expressing your self. Welcome to the wonderufl world of quilting!
I have the same problem -- we probably have all done it. What works most often for me is a combination of all the advice you have already received, PLUS -- when you lay your ruler down on the fabric to cut, make sure that the fabric matches up evenly and straight to both a vertical AND horizontal line on the ruler -- and I always make sure the fabric to be used is UNDER the ruler.
Debbi, what kind of table are you cutting on? When I first was quilting I had a plastic table that I bought from costco for my sewing table and I would also cut on it. I was having problems getting straight strips and then figured out that when I was pressing down on the ruler to hold it and then cutting that my table was getting a bow in it and that is why I did not have straight strips. I now have a cutting table that I purchased at Joann fabrics that is also taller so that I do not have to bend over. It is made of melanine so it does not flex. No more curved strips.
this is one of my issues also drives me nuts. but one of my rulers has sandpaper dots on the back side and it keeps ruler from moving. do u have those on yr ruler? I am trying to cut this way alot more but it dont always come out good. i double triple check my measures. i am going to put sandpaper on all of my rulers this weekend
Debbie, it is very easy to get the curve you are referring to if you are folding your fabric in "fourths," i.e., you are folding the fabric from selvege to selvege and then folded again. Make sure you only fold your fabric in half from selvege to selvege, and then be sure the folded edge is well pressed and next to your body on the cutting table instead of near the top of the table. The selvege edge should be at the top of the table farthest from your body. If you MUST fold your fabric in fourths, be extra careful that the second fold (not the selvege edge ) is next to your body and that it is very well pressed. But I can almost guarantee you will get a curve if you fold in quarters. Some of the gals mentioned that your ruler needs to be totally under your fabric. That is also very good advice. In fact, I use Debbie McCaffrey's method that she demonstrates in her "Noodle Soup" book. For example, if you are cutting 2" wide strips, use a 6" or 8" ruler, cut a strip 8" wide--then without moving the fabric, move the ruler over 2" and cut another strip, then move the ruler over again another 2" and cut another 2" strip until the 8" are used up. This way your ruler is always on the fabric and you have not touched or moved the fabric. Hope this all helps.
Hi Debbie, I have had this problem too, but learned that when you fold your fabric in half and holding it by the selvages, then shift one side until the fabric hangs straight. Fold line is straight of grain. Fold again and cut your strips. I still get curves once in a while. Good luck, Darlene