Apr 26, 2010

Cutting Down Sheets into FQ'S-Tutorial

Todays tutorial is from Rachel at My Tiny Robot Heart.  She has done some really fun things with VS's:) She is also putting together a special tutorial for us here on the  VS blog!  

Onto Rachel's tutorial...

jeni @ in color order asked how if i had any tips or tricks for cutting down sheets quickly ::
i have more sheets to cut down so i thought i would document just how i get those sheets into fat quarters :: this is the way that i do it .... i'm sure that there are other ways of doing it.... this is what works for me, for 1 or 100 sheets at a sitting ::

You Will Need:

first a few necessities :: a calculator, tape measure, scissor, pen, tape, and vintage sheet (sorry about the flash use but it was late and dark!)



1. the first thing I do is shore up?....shear up?... make a straight edge where all of my measuring will be done :: I always cut along the hem edge :: I like to use these for other projects (the box pleats on that pillow are made from hems... and I am halfway through documenting how I made that pillow for a future post) :: now when I cut the hem off I look closely at the weft :: I'm looking to see how crooked it is compared with the hem :: I make a cut a few inches from the cuff and then .....

now i have a perfect edge that i know is straight ::

saving this hem for later ::

--->my own little thoughts on ripping versus using a rotary cutter :: i have a rotary cutter and love it... it is awesome for making accurate, perfect, small cuts...once i finally broke down and bought a cutter and mat i wondered why it took me so long! :: that said....it never worked for me for wrangling and cutting giant amounts of fabric :: i also feel that while you get a nice pretty edge when the fabric is new, once it is washed the fabric always warps from a perfect squarish fat quarter into a rhombus or paralellogram or some other shape :: this is because you cannot cut perfectly with the weft :: there just is no way to do it with a cutter or scissor :: now ripping tears the fabic perfectly along the weft (which i will demonstrate in the photos to come) it tears perfectly with the warp threads as well :: and what you end up with is a perfectly squareish fat quarter :: wash it all you want... it won't turn into something you didn't start with :: i think that all fabric stores should rip instead of cutting too :: how many times have you gotten a weirdly cut, wonky edge? (i'm looking at you joann)..... wouldn't happen if they ripped instead of cut ::

notice how the print on the fabic below does not line up with the ripped weft edge :: the print is a bit crooked :: all sheets are more or less crooked :: now, i do lose a few warp and weft threads when ripping, but whats a couple of threads compared to the 1/8th inch i end up having to cut off of every side to square the darned thing up!


2.  fold the fabric in half lenghtwise :: keeping the ripped edge together :: this is a full sheet and is 80" across or 40" folded :: just a smidge over 40"


3. next i try to figure out how to get the most fat quarters (fq's) out of my sheet :: a fat quarter is 18" x 22" -ish ::
i don't usually write this part down :: i did just to help keep this clear :: you won't need to either... it's easy once you get the hang of it :: so anyhow... if i divide 80 by 22 i can get 3.6 fat quarters across :: if i divide by 18 i can get 4.44 :: either way will leave me with a bit of waste :: now i should say that this is the down and dirty way of quickly hacking my way through this sheet... i want the most fat quarters that i can get, quickly :: there are 10 other sheets in que :: so i am not going to plot out every cut and try measuring this way and that way to make sure everything is just so.... forget it! :: besides, having some scrappy pieces is ok... you can make a string quilt, or a tie, or have a giveaway! :: scraps are good!

but wait.... if my 80" fabric is doubled its 40" across and 22" + 18" is 40" :: perfect :: i can get 4 fq's going across my sheet without any waste 2 with 22" sides and 2 with 18" sides ::


4. that's the plan i decided to go with :: no waste across means more fq's :: i measure out 22" from the selvege edge and give it a little cut and then let it rip!remember when i said that this would give us a perfectly straight "cut" :: this is the other end of the sheet :: ripped lenghtwise :: it is exactly 22" across :: works everytime... (but only if you measure from a ripped edge)!

5. i make a little cut at 18" and rip down the center to get the two 18" pieces (remember the sheet is doubled) :: it measures 18" perfectly on the other edge too :: damn i'm good! ;)

6. his part is where i speed up in the hacking these things down department ::
next i lay out the tape measure on my counter ::

keeping it close to the edge of my table :: then laying down a bit of my tape at the 22" and 18" marks ::
(22" marked on the tape)
(18" marked out on the tape)


now i grab one of my long skinny 18" sheet pieces and put the edge that we just measured for (in this case the 18" strip of sheeting) and line up the 18" along the edge of my table ::

(fabric lined up)

7. and then cut at the correct mark :: in this case 22" (because this sheet strip is 18" across) and rip the sheet:: then i line up the edge that i just ripped against the side of my table :: find the 22" mark and rip again :: this part goes fast!... i just line up the side, make a little cut and rip ::

i do the same thing with the 22" pieces that i have :: line them up, small cut at 18" tape mark and rip ::
now i was able to get close to the hem on the 18" strips, so i didn't bother to cut those tiny pieces off to make a perfect 18 x 22 square... i'd rather leave it on the fq :: someone will get a little tiny bonus... i know, i'm generous ;) (hee-hee)

next thing you know you have a pile of fq's to be folded :: i use the same method katie describes here ::

and i don't bother ironing... mostly because i am lazy :: i just give each fat quarter a quick spray with downey wrinkle release and then fold away ::
i got 13 fq's out of that full sheet :: and some scraps too!

and i was thinking of making some pajama pants from this pretty vintage floral and i think i will add this hem to the bottom :: just the right kind of funky ::

Thanks for the great tutorial Rachel!


ktquilts said...

Just got back from Paducah, and at the Quilt in a Day store, they rip all the fabric!!! It was great, you end up getting more usable fabric. There are lots of threads though. I looked pretty funny the rest of the day!! Of course, if I had left the fabric alone instead of petting it that really wouldn't have been a problem! ;0)



Sonia said...

I just finished cutting up a pillow case using the top fabric in your stack :) It's very pretty! I found that ripping is the best way also. I just hate all those darn loose threads floating around!

Dee said...

I rip and rotary! LOL

It hurt the first time I just ripped and my kids looked at me like I was the Incredible Hulk on a rampage. But, like you said, it works.

Thanks for the tute!

call me crazy said...

I rip and cut too. :-) never thought about keeping the hems though... thanks! :-)

Jeanne said...

I am a ripper too. Rip most of my fabric, the 1st time I went to quilt retreat and someone watched me rip 4 yards of Kona Snow, I heard this HUGE "OHHHHHHHHHH" til they saw the end result. :) Works like a charm but I agree about all those little threads hanging around. Thanks for the tutorial.

Jeanne said...

I am a ripper too. Rip most of my fabric, the 1st time I went to quilt retreat and someone watched me rip 4 yards of Kona Snow, I heard this HUGE "OHHHHHHHHHH" til they saw the end result. :) Works like a charm but I agree about all those little threads hanging around. Thanks for the tutorial.

qltmom9 said...

Ripping works great for sheets (they are so sturdy) and fabrics that are solid throughout (like kona), but most printed quilting fabrics get threads pulled and it messes up the pattern print. I won't shop at one quiltshop because I was losing a few inches on each side of their rips to pulled threads. )-: If I wanted 9", I'd have to buy 13", cut quite a bit off, and still put up with a few pulled threads.


fiberdoodles said...

This is so much easier then the way I have been doing it. Thank you so much for sharing your tips!

Francine Johnson McGee said...

I am so happy to be validated in my ripping instead of cutting! I figured out the same thing, the hard way, that I got a straight piece of fabric, and through that sheet faster, if I rip! Thanks for sharing! LOVE this blog!

fromlondonwithlove2011 said...

I just found your blog yesterday, and I'm getting little else done. :) You have so many great projects and ideas, and I had no idea that there were so many people who love vintage sheets. I see them everywhere & leave them because I never thought I'd have a use for them (and because my husband has been threatening to call Hoarders over my craft supplies). Thank you so much for this tutorial. I'm going to definitely put it to good use.