Wednesday January 29th 2014

Should I Cut Across?

Q: I’m making a quilted wall hanging and want to be sure it rests flat against the wall. Should the borders be cut across the grain or along the lengthwise grain of the fabric?

A: Although you might think you’re saving fabric by cutting across the grain (from selvage to selvage), it’s best to cut lengthwise. When you cut crosswise, the fabric edge will have a little more stretch. That might seem helpful when fitting the border to the edge of the design, but if you pull it as you sew – even just a little bit – you’re risking a wavy appearance in the border.

Instead, cut all of your borders in the lengthwise direction. These threads are stronger and won’t easily “give” to the wave! Use a gentle touch when sewing those border seams (no pulling allowed!) and you’ll end up with a nice flat edge that you’ll be proud to hang on a wall.

The same is true, of course, when you are making a larger quilt. Cutting long (lengthwise) is cutting strong!

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One Comment for “Should I Cut Across?”

  • Pam Broe says:

    If you have a directional print and want the print to “stand up” on the top and bottom, you have to cut those borders across the grain of the fabric. Accurate measuring (across the center of the quilt in both directions) plus marking both borders and quilt edges at the center and quarter points and matching them carefully are essential. You could also spray starch the borders but be sure to rinse that out before quilting, as mealy bugs are not particular about not munching on your fabric while consuming the starch. I also like to miter the border corners so as to give a nice flow to the print around the quilt. That takes extra patience and accuracy.

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