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Tear instead of cut (Tip/Technique)
Viewed 5272 times
Review rated Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 4 people   
Posted by: Joey in Katy
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About Joey in Katy star
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Member since: 10/19/05
Reviews written: 74
Sewing skills:Intermediate
Favored by: 5 people
tips added: 6
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Posted on: 11/12/06 5:10 PM
Featured in the PR book!
This one might be one everyone in the world knows -- but I sure didn't!

I was making a tablecloth -- at one point, I had to cut down the middle of 3 yards of 88" wide fabric. I had the darndest time the first time I tried -- couldn't quite get cutting line straight, couldn't see the fold line well enough in the pattern to follow it. End result was a very ragged and wavy edge cut.

On to tablecloth # 2 -- instead of cutting down 3 yards, I instead made a short 1" snip in the center of the cloth. I then grabbed the two sides of the cut and gently pulled them apart. The cloth "tore" perfectly down the middle -- it followed the grain perfectly and never varied from the centerline. End result was a perfectly straight "cut".

I was pretty jazzed when I figured this out. Like I said, it's probably a standard thing that everyone in the world already knows -- but it was a complete surprise to me!
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7 Comments      Login to Add a Comment
sewbyseason said...
Thanks Joey. Years ago, when I would go to a bricks and mortar fabric shop, sometimes the assistant would tear the yardage off like that. With online fabric shopping, not so many would see that now. I have known since then, but I am sure it will be a helpful tip to some others.
11/12/06 7:51 PM
Sadlesor said...
Ever wonder why the fabric you purchase is so uneven after they cut your yardage. It's because the fabric isn't on the grain. The tearing technique will also help you obtain the straight of grain which is important not only for table linens but for garment construction as well. Off grain fabric may not drape correctly and twist on the body when worn. At the fabric stores who are more accommodating, I will ask them to begin the measuring a little past the cut edge, especially if it is way off and please tear rather than cut my yardage. Nothing is more frustrating to find out that when you are ready to lay out your pattern and find you have come up short because of the off grain. More information on this topic can be accessed at Sew News web site: http://www.sewnews.com/resources/qa/qa0106b/index.html
11/13/06 1:29 AM
slanden99 said...
That's how I made my dds tutus--tear the fabric the right length. Huge difference in accuracy--especially for slippery fabric.
11/13/06 8:54 AM
Merry G said...
Where did you find 88" tablecloth fabric?
11/13/06 7:17 PM
France said...
Yep!!! That's done all the time. I used to work in a nice fabric store as a University student. And the manager showed me how to cut expensive silks, velvets, you name it she tore it! with a few exceptions of course. For viscose velvet if I recall after doing the 1'' snip we would lay the fabric flat on the table and using the lower part of our palms tear the fabric apart. This particular fabric could not be torn the usual way.
11/18/06 0:43 AM
France said...
Yep!!! That's done all the time. I use to work in a nice fabric store as a University student. And the manager showed me how to cut expensive silks velvets, you name it she tore it! with a few exceptions of course. For viscose velvet if I recall you after doing the 1'' snip we would lay the fabric flat on the table and using the lower part of our palms tear the fabric apart. This particular fabric could not be torn the usual way.
11/18/06 0:46 AM
Joey in Katy said...
It wasn't 88" at first -- I bought 6 yards of 44 inch wide, then cut it in half to make two 3 yard by 44 inch pieces. I then sewed the 3 yard sides together -- both sides. Ended up with a "cylinder" that was 88 in diameter and 3 yards long. The 88" was two 44 inch sides with seams. I then used the "tear" to "cut" 3 yards right down the middle of one of the 44 inch cylinder halves. Ended up with a rectangle 88 inches by 3 yards. The 88 inches was made up of a 22 inch by 3 yard rectangle, a seam, a 44 inch by 3 yard rectangle (which fits on the tabletop), a seam, and another 22 inch rectangle.
11/20/06 10:35 PM

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