July 26, 2013

How to cut straight strips of fabric

If you have ever stitched strips of fabric together only to end up with a warped set of strips, you may want to try this method I learned from one of Sally Collins's books, "The Art of Machine Piecing" (I found it here):

 Before you do anything else, press the fabric open. Then, align a square ruler to your cutting ruler to ensure the cutting ruler is at a 90 degree angle to the fabric.

The picture above shows how the edge of the fabric, which at first may have looked rigth, needs to be trimmed in order to be straight. Using the rotary cutter, trim fabric.

I am now ready to cut my 3" strips. Flipping the edge of the fabric to be cut to my left side, I place the ruler onto fabric making sure the 3" line is on the fabric, not outside the edge of the fabric. If the 3" ruler line is not onto the fabric, every time I cut the fabric the strips will be a little bit narrower than the measurement I desire. By the time I sew them together, the strip set may end up being 1/4" to 1/2" smaller than I need them to be.

This picture shows what happens if you do not press the fabric, and if you do not make sure the edge of the fabric is perfectly straight. Notice the "V" where the fabric was folded in half. Strip sets sewn with strips like this will be warped, instead of flat and straight.

 This strip was cut using this method. It measures 3" from end to end.

Sally Collins's book is full of extremely helpful tips for machine piecing blocks which, when assembled, look perfect together. As with anything else, the more you practice the better you get at it. However, the process becomes more enjoyable when you have great resources, such as this book, at your fingertips.

Try it next time you sew strips together, and you will be pleased with the results. Have a fun weekend!

1 comment:

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