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Tearing and Cutting Fabrics

Tearing will not work for all fabrics, such as loosely woven fabrics like tweed.

If you are working with different fabric weights, it may work better to tear as you go, rather than tearing everything all at once. Wider strips may be needed for lighter weights of fabric and narrower strips for heavier weights.

Using a ruler and scissors, measure the width of the strips needed and make a 2”-3” cut on one end of the fabric.
After the cuts are made – it’s time to start ripping.
Check the strips occasionally to make sure they are tearing straight.
Tearing fabrics creates a lot of dust. This is a good outside project.


Quick Cutting Tip #1 for Light Weight Fabrics:
After washing and ironing material lay out on a clean flat surface.
1. Fold fabric in ˝, making sure the selvages match up and continue folding in ˝ until you have reached the thickest point your scissors will comfortably cut.
2. Place a ruler or a guide (made from a piece of cardboard) on top of the fabric and cut along the edge of the ruler to get your desired width.


Quick Cutting Tip #2 Purchase Precut Fabric Strips:
Check out the quilter’s section of your favorite fabric store and look for precut fabric strips. These are often offered as a collection of color coordinated fabrics designers have selected and are offered in a variety of widths. Look for sales and calculate the amount of fabric in the roll before purchasing. Purchasing precut fabric strips will cost more than cutting your own fabric.

Quick Cutting Tip #3 for Long Strips of Light Weight Fabric to reduce the amount of joining. For this example, we are going to assume that we are cutting 2” wide fabric strips. You will need to adjust step #2 & #3, if a different width is needed.

1. Fold fabric in ˝, making sure the selvages match up
2. Fold material bringing it up just 2” from the top of the fabric, continue folding in ˝ bringing it up 2” from the top until you have reached the thickest point your scissors will comfortably cut.
3. Place a ruler or a guide (made from a piece of cardboard) on top of the fabric and cut along the edge of the ruler, through both the top and bottom fold, leaving the top 2” uncut. Your fabric cuts should look similar to the shape of a comb.
4. Unfold the fabric.
5. At the top, starting from the left, cut downward to meet the cuts made in step #3 every other strip.
6. At the bottom, starting from the left, skip the first strip than cut upwards to meet the cuts made in step #3 every other strip. The result should be one long strip of fabric.
7. Trim corners if desired.

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