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Ugh! My strips aren't even
Sewncooknmom
Sewncooknmom
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Date: 8/14/13 7:22 PM

Before I go on: I'm very new at quilting.

So, I am supposed to be cutting 2 1/4" long strips. Then out of some of them I need to be cutting 5" strips. While cutting them, I noticed that not all of my strips were completely 2 1/4" wide! Some parts of a strip would be, but not all.

What am I doing wrong? Any tips?

Thank you!

Franksdottir

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Date: 8/14/13 7:51 PM

I hate that when it happens.

I don't know what other people do, but to try to prevent this happening I cut the strips a little larger (by a quarter of an inch usually), press them, then cut them exactly.

HOWEVER, if you are cutting SQUARES, you do not need to cut long strips if you do not want to. Another way of doing it is to cut a larger square, and then cut that. It is easier to keep a square square and the right size than doing long strips.

For example: If I need four squares which will each finish to 3", then I really need 4 3 1/2" squares. Cut a large square slightly larger than 7"; press this and make it exactly 7", and then cut into four 3 1/2" smaller squares. It is a little time-consuming and uses a tish more fabric, but it is very, very accurate.

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Barb

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Date: 8/14/13 8:15 PM

I don't know what rulers you are using but some strips can vary if one is not consistent in placing the ruler in the same place to cut... What I mean is that the lines of the ruler take a small portion of the cutting dimension if there is variation on where the edge of the fabric is place along that line. When I used OmniGrid rulers which used to be the industry standard, I'd alway place the fabric exactly in the center of the line. And the only way I could tell was to look at the small gaps along the lines to see how my fabric lined up.

Another way that strips can vary is if the ruler shifts while cutting. The Omnigrid rulers are famous for slipping. Sometimes the slippage was so small it'd go undetected until you start piecing. One can get a plastic film called ''Invisigrip that prevents ruler slip. I have it now on my Omnigrid rulers and it works well.

But if you have not invested a lot in rulers and need to enhance your collection then I HIGHLY recommend (NAYY) Creative Grids rulers. They have built in rough spots that really hold the fabric. I was sold on them when I started working at a quilt shop and cut hundreds of yards of fabric a day. The other reason I like the Creative Grids rulers is the lines are fine enough so it is easy to see the edge of the fabric exactly needs to be. For me they make cutting accurate! Creative Grids Rulers.

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Date: 8/14/13 9:13 PM

Been there, done that. More than once. Ok, you are a beginner. All of us have started out beginners at quilting. We all had to learn the basics. I struggled with too much info too fast while taking a class. I had a meltdown one day. However, I did not give up and even though it took me "forever" to finish my first quilt, I did it and you will too.

I'm going to let the more experienced ones tell you how to fix your cutting question. I want to encourage you instead to learn at your own pace and have fun in the process. You will amaze yourself in no time with what you can do if you just try it.
-- Edited on 8/14/13 9:14 PM --

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Sewncooknmom
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Date: 8/15/13 1:57 AM

Thank you all for your replies. I so appreciate it. This board is always super helpful!

One more question: OK, this is a dumb one, I will admit. And you can laugh, if you want to. I won't be insulted. What if I need to be cutting a whole bunch of strips for sashing, etc., and it's perhaps around 3 yards of a single fabric needed. How do I cut those strips without some of the fabric falling off my cutting table? And at the same time cut them straight?
-- Edited on 8/15/13 2:03 AM --

Miss Fairchild
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Date: 8/15/13 2:37 AM

No question is dumb; you have friends here. Cutting the 3 yards is the same as cutting one yard or a fat quarter. You just fold up the fabric and unfold it as you cut.

At to cutting straight, several things will happen (I had strips that looked like smiles when I first started--they were THAT bad!)
First, like it was said before, is could be your ruler is slipping. You can buy little stickits (clear plastic dots that stick to your ruler, much like what Creative Grids uses).

Another thing is that you don't have the line of the ruler going along the fold of your fabric. I always cut my strips folded because the fold runs down a thread line which runs down the grainline.

Another problem could be that you have wrinkles hidden in the fold. (This was how I got that smiley fabric). Make sure you run your fingers down the fold to pick up any small wrinkles underneath the first layer of fabric.

Finally, when cutting, hold the ruler down firmly. Make sure that the squares on the ruler match up the squares on your mat. Sort of like making them fit in the box.

------
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lgrande
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Date: 8/15/13 8:18 AM

Sounds like your ruler is slipping.
The best answer for that that I've found is
Quilter's Slidelock . No more slipping EVER!

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Linda

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TessKwiltz
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Date: 8/15/13 10:04 AM

It takes practice to get just the right amount of pressure against the ruler (to keep the blade from veering away) and too much pressure that will push the ruler. A couple things that help:

- Put your pinkie on the fabric to help hold the ruler in place. See the first pic in this tutorial see how the pinkie is placed as a wedge to keep the ruler from slipping to the left?

- Don't try to cut a long strip all in one cut without repositioning your hand. When the cutter is too far from the hand holding the ruler, the ruler will tend to pivot. I cut about 10 or twelve inches, keep the cutter in place, reposition my hand further along (make sure everything is still lined up), then continue the cut repeating until I've finished the strip.

- Starch the bejeepers out of the fabric. Stiff fabric is easier to cut accurately. The cutter can actually make it stretch a bit, which will give you narrow places in the strip. This is especially true if the blade is getting dull.

- Doesn't really help with sashing, but as someone else mentioned for piecing you can cut the strips a bit oversized then trim the pieces. It's easier to keep the short cuts accurate.

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Tess

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Date: 8/15/13 10:26 AM

I love my Creative Grid rulers. The others, like Omnigrid, not so much. I only use those if I need something like a 7/8 inch cut. Other than that, I never use them, as they slide badly. Only the CG get any use in my sewing room. I find I use my 4 x 4 square a lot more than I ever thought I would too. I use it to make sure my squares are correct and I use it for cutting off the salvages, so I only have a small ruler and not the 6 x 24 I use for most things. I do use the flexible dots for my other rulers. They help keep things in place.

Learn to Walk you rulers to hold them down with your hand. Cut 12 inches, and move your hand, holding the ruler and not move the ruler. This takes time to learn to do. I still mess up. I have been a quilter for 18 months and I did this error only yesterday. It happens. You get over it and either cut another strip or if the mistake is tiny, use it somewhere else. If it is a bad cut, discard the strip for now and cut another. Always cut more fabric than you think you need. Not much, but having another strip cut and then discovering you needed more than you thought by 2-3 inches, comes in handy.

In time, you will get better. I am still not correct some times. I noticed it yesterday on a square that did not line up after I had quilted the wall hanging. I tugged on it and it lines up better. Who but me will ever know I did this? (well, now everyone who reads this will know...)

------
Bernina 630, my much loved main machine
Bernina embroidery module
Pfaff 2036 my back up & travel machine
Babylock Molly, mechanical
Bernina 1200DA serger
Unique Sewing Cabinet 450L

Franksdottir

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Date: 8/15/13 6:16 PM

We'll know, Learn, but we'll never tell!

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Barb

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