Why can't fabric stores cut in straight lines??

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Posted 7/19/2012 by angy101197 in NSBR Board
 

angy101197
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Posted: 7/19/2012 2:05:55 PM
I'm not a serious sewer, I do fun things, not much clothes, smaller projects. Today I'm making a pair of curtains for my sons room. Simple hemming and sewing and I was angered by how the fabric was cut! The back layer is a plain black to hid the sun a bit. The top layer is a sheer fabric, black with neon green plaid. You'd think with a plaid pattern it's be an easy cut, the lines are already there to follow...nope I had to cut over 2 inches off in parts on each end just to get a straight line. It was like a kid had done some rolling cuts along the top. Ugh! I followed the plaid line, how simple! And yes I did watch her cut and this girl is there all the time. She was tossing fabric here and there, I figured she knew what she was doing, I've never worked with sheer before. Until I got it home and saw what a mess the fabric is! The plain black fabric (scissor cut) wasn't much better. Very chopping cutting. Thankfully I had bought extra or else my curtains would have been too short but it will work this time.

Granted I do go to big box stores (Joann's and Hancock Fabrics) but you think they'd be able to cut a semi straight line! The girls (and guys) in there have been working there for years. Joann's atleast has that cut line in their table so their scissors slide along the straight line, but it still requires them to actually line up the fabric straight, which they don't always do. Hancocks does not have a cutting line, it's all by sight for them and I've gotten some really bad lines cut, such as my curtain fabric.

I can't always got to the local privately owned stores for one because they are so much more expensive with no sales. Plus they don't have as big of a selection, although I always drool over their selection. But it's not always my type. And yes they do seem to do a much better job of cutting! I guess it comes down to personal service and you get what you pay for.

For now I'm going to have to add in extra inches when I buy from the big box stores. Or when they're going to cut make sure it's lined up a bit better!

*kaleidoscope*
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Posted: 7/19/2012 2:09:43 PM
sometimes I've noticed it's not all just because of how the clerk lined it up, but how it is on the bolt. Especially so if the bolt has been unraveled a lot for cutting and then wound back up.



melissa
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Posted: 7/19/2012 2:13:01 PM
Locally owned private fabric stores? Haven't seen one of those in ages! Not a Hancock Fabrics either. The nearest good non-chain fabric store, outside of NYC or Philly, is a good hour's drive, if I avoid rush hour traffic. Shopping in NYC is a pain and not cheap, but I can usually find what I need there.



Free~Bird
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Posted: 7/19/2012 2:17:35 PM
you might find that your print is not straight. I've found that frequently on cheaper chain store fabrics, the print isn't always square to the fabric. Double check to make sure that it's straight, even though you cut right on the line.

I've learned to buy a little extra because of crooked cuts, etc.


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Posted: 7/19/2012 2:19:24 PM
I always get extra. I know I should not have to, but I figure, I will probably make a mistake and cut something incorrectly anyway. And then it takes care of the poor cutting by the clerk.

But I am not buying fabric much, so it's not a big deal to me. If I was buying it a lot, I would get pretty frustrated too.




Suzy

Scrappinnut01
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Posted: 7/19/2012 2:22:13 PM
I don't really sew anymore, but when I did, I remember getting some fabric that was cut really bad. I took it back. They just cut me a new piece and they did it much better the 2nd time.

dynalady
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Posted: 7/19/2012 2:29:07 PM
Even with the most careful cutter you can end up with a wonky piece. The fabric is not always wound on the bolt straight on grain. It can look perfect, then after you wash it and straighten the grain you can be as much as an inch or even two off. I just always buy a little extra to allow for anything.







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GamGam
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Posted: 7/19/2012 2:29:17 PM
I've bought a lot of fabric in the past few years as I enjoy sewing for my DGD, but finding a bolt of fabric that is printed straight on the grain and wound straight on the bolt is rare--even the pricy all cotton ones from the specialty shops. So buying extra inches is worth it to make sure you have what you need. Crooked fabric can usually be straightened by pulling it on the bias, but when you've bought more than a yard at a time, it's not easy to do.

Maizie
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Posted: 7/19/2012 3:35:53 PM
Yep, typically prints are crooked. Never go off either -- each piece of fabric needs to be viewed before cutting patterns/preparing to sew.



sues
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Posted: 7/19/2012 4:25:54 PM

Simple hemming and sewing and I was angered by how the fabric was cut! ...You'd think with a plaid pattern it's be an easy cut, the lines are already there to follow...nope I had to cut over 2 inches off in parts on each end just to get a straight line. It was like a kid had done some rolling cuts along the top. Ugh! I followed the plaid line, how simple!


It's not really that simple. You're supposed to straighten your own fabric after you prewash it. Even if she had cut it straight (which is not necessarily going to be according to a design line) it might not be straight by the time you wash it, dry it and press it. You always have to straighten your fabric according to the grain.

cannes
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Posted: 7/19/2012 5:02:38 PM
I've noticed that patterns are rarely printed straight, as well. It's the nature of fabric. I'd double check to make sure you're straight if you went completely off of the pattern as a guide.

I do agree that lots of times the clerks make wonky cuts! I always buy a bit more just because of it.


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nlwilkins
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Posted: 7/19/2012 6:30:18 PM
I agree about fabric not being cut straight. Though the ladies at our Hancocks generally do a pretty close job of it. Hobby Lobby has that groove in the table that helps them cut straight and they are careful there to link it up nicely before cutting. Though in both stores the same ladies have been there cutting for years and years and maybe that makes a difference. They know what happens when it is not cut straight enough and the customer brings back the fabric.


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MergeLeft
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Posted: 7/19/2012 7:21:15 PM
My mom worked in and then managed a JoAnn's for years (back when they were more fabric than crafts). They're trained to cut straight with the edge of the bolt and/or perpendicular with the edge of the cutting table, disregarding the lines of the pattern - because, as many others have pointed out, patterns are often printed crooked.



CeeScraps
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Posted: 7/19/2012 8:29:28 PM
Here's how I straighten fabric. I don't worry about the pattern.
1. Fold fabric in half with the selvedge edges together. Get the fabric to lay flat. By doing this you may not have even edges on the right/left. The selvedges need to stay together. Lay this across a cutting mat with the selvedge on the line closest to your stomach.

2. Take a large triangle ruler and place on the fabric with one side along the selvedge (make sure you aren't at the right edge of the fabric-scoot it in). The right angle should be pointing up toward the fold on the right side (it should look like a backward L).

3. Take a long ruler and hold the triangle at the same time. Put the long edge of the ruler against the upright of the triangle. Trim the fabric that is to the right of this. I usually go in about an inch or so to ensure I catch both the top/back layer of fabric. This will straighten your fabric. I do this on both ends of my fabric.

HTH


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Posted: 7/19/2012 8:47:50 PM
I insist on measuring from shortest end to shortest end when I buy fabric if they do not add an automatic 1/8 of a yard without charge. My favorite store does this and it works out fine. But too many times I have come up short because someone had no idea how to lay the bolt down and cut in the metal guide correctly. I have had them recut when they are off, even an inch, because I need what I need or I would have asked for less to begin with.

It is NOT that hard. I worked at House of Fabrics when I was 17 and was shown how to cut straight and it is a matter of paying attention, not great skill.



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angy101197
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Posted: 7/19/2012 10:16:50 PM
Thanks everyone, I guess I'll start adding on a couple extra inches to my cut so I am sure to get what I need. I understand patterns are not straight, but most of what I buy isn't really dependent on the pattern. And yes I get the bolt may have been wound and unwound causing it to not be straight when they unwind to cut. I wish they'd take an extra 10 seconds and line up the edges a bit before they cut.

I normally do what another pea suggested, lineup the selvages and lay it flat then cut the edges straight, and that's where I normally lose 1-2 on each end.

Joann's sometimes gives you a tiny bit on the end for free, but depends on who you get.

peachpea
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Posted: 7/20/2012 12:31:29 AM
I was taught to tear the fabric. Obviously this does not work on all types of fabric. Do none of you do that or that's not a good idea? Some fabric stores used to always tear theirs--talking basic cottons.

katiepotatie
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Posted: 7/20/2012 12:38:15 AM
The problem with tearing is that it damages the fabric on either side for a few inches. The fibers are pulled, and you can get a wavering edge (that measures more than the fabric width). Some fabrics can't be torn.



dynalady
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Posted: 7/20/2012 12:49:05 AM
I was taught to tear. If you get fabric from Quilt in a Day/Eleanor Burns they always tear, and I've had very little problem with the fabric being damaged any appreciable amount. Trimming the wavey end rsults in much less loss than straightening a piece of fabric and losing 2" at each end. You can easily be off an 1/8 yd. and the difference between enough for your project or not.







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