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Ripping Fabric

So, I fell down the internet rabbit hole last night and ended up on this Flickr page (made private since post) discussing how we rip our fabric at the shop. I’ve always meant to put a sign on our door about it, but today is the day!

I’m starting to wonder if this is a quilt / non-quilt division? I’m not a quilter, so I’d love for you guys to weigh in.

In my sewing career the grain has always mattered so a ‘cut’ fabric has always meant lopping off the raw edges first thing. I can see why this would be the opposite of what a quilter would do.

I’ve been ripping fabric for as long as I can remember, but when I really couldn’t have lived with out it was while I made interiors for a living. Window treatments for example require some long straight grains. When fabric hangs, it hangs in the direction of the threads. If the threads are going at an angle so will your fabric. It became crucial that I find some way to get to one exact thread and ripping is by far the fastest/easiest.

Ever made a ruffled bed skirt? You’ll need a mile of evenly cut long panels. For me, time saved meant rent paid.

Mood (Project Runway) rips their fabric, but most quilt stores don’t. When searching for stores to sell our new fabric line to, I found that quilt stores dominate the country, so that’s likely what most fabric buyers have gotten used to.

The ladies on the flickr page point out that they lose something to fraying threads. While I agree it’s a shame to waste even a sliver of an Echino fabric, when you ask for a yard, we always cut 1 yard + 2-3″ to account for anything weird that might happen at the edge. That way, even when you get rid of the edges you still have the amount you bought or more. I really believe it is the most generous option.

Bottom line is, I love fabric (hence the whole owning a fabric store thing :)) and want the same thing you guys want – tons of beautiful fabric! I hope this post helps in understanding my intentions. I know I can’t make everyone happy, but dang, I wish I could.


Comment from Grandma G
Time April 11, 2011 at 11:16 am

I’m excited that you do that! I hope it solves previous frustrations I’ve had with Jess’s fabrics. (And I can’t wait to get my hands on the new stuff!!) :)

Comment from carolyn
Time April 11, 2011 at 11:24 am

FYI I have been to a BUNCH of quilt stores that rip fabrics — I don’t think it’s that uncommon.

And if you read any Marti Michell quilting books (fairly famous in the quilting world, although not for newbie/learning-online-only people), she’ll tell you, things will go MUCH BETTER, especially when you are sewing strips on quilts like log cabins and the like, if your fabric was actually cut on the grain. It is important in quilting also. :)

I think a lot of people just don’t realize how off-grain it gets put on the bolts. Even the littlest bit off becomes more and more off with each wrap around.

(I’m on that comment thread as “girlreactioncrafts” FYI.)

Comment from Rachel
Time April 11, 2011 at 11:52 am

Good to know! There’s just so many ways to do things – especially in sewing!

Comment from Rachel
Time April 11, 2011 at 11:52 am

I hope you like it! That’s quite a girl you got there. :)

Comment from Tracy
Time April 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I always rip my fabric now when possible – it is so much easier to stay on grain – and my drapes hang perfectly because of it!

Comment from Sue
Time April 13, 2011 at 8:58 pm

No matter how the edge of the fabric is cut, a quilter knows to always align the piecework to the grain of the fabric, not to the edge. Ripping is a great way to help make the grain evident. I have been a quilter for years and do home decorating projects also; I am all for ripping!

Comment from Tante Sophie
Time April 28, 2011 at 9:13 pm

… hear ye hear ye … bravo … i can’t tell you how many times i have been frustrated when fabric is cut vs. ripped … i have purchased half yards of liberty of london tana lawn and ended up with 15 useable inches on account of previous STRAIGHT cuts … nothing more annoying and aggravating … if it could only be the rule everywhere!!! thanks for posting this … can we shout it out to all fabric stores everywhere?!!! cheers … ina and gumby … the dog that tante sophie has …

Comment from jam
Time May 6, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Loved your post re ripping vs cutting . I’ve been sewing since 1954 (really) and never been to a shop that ripped their fabric. I usually buy extra fabric to make up for fabric that’s been cut off grain. Wish more shops would rip. Love your blog. Wish I lived close to your shop.

Comment from Debra
Time July 7, 2011 at 4:54 am

I ask the sales assistant to rip when I know it’s a safe fabric to do so – and they usually look at me as if I have two heads – but I insist it’s the only way to get the correct measurement.

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