So, I decided to move on to making the grown-up’s cushions. I ordered some Joel Dewberry Ginseng fabric from Quilt Arts–it was on sale which I took as a sign. Last Friday night I sat down and decided to try to “block” the fabric the right way. Normally I try to just cut it so the pattern repeats are nicely centered, but apparently fabric wears better if you cut it along the grain. I tried the “pull a thread method–you pull the threads on the edges to even it up–when you can pull one thread off from edge to edge, you know you’ve straightened the fabric (fabric tends to get off while it’s sitting in the bolts). That did not work–perhaps because it was upholstery weight? I’m not sure. So I tried the slightly more risky snip and tear method–snip into the selvage (the finished edge of the fabric, if you think of the two sides as being what is cut out for you by the store, this is the top and bottom and doesn’t ravel), and rip along the grain line. Once I got over the fear of destroying my fabric (you have to be careful or it can split the wrong way) it went quickly. It was kind of fun and given how thin the strip started out and how wide it got, it was easy to see just how much the fabric needed straightening.
So far so good? Not exactly: It would seem like pattern should be evenly printed across the entire edge of the fabric–that is, each repeat should be cut across at exactly the same poitn along the lenght of the tear. In other words, that little butterfly and that flower should be the same across the entire fabric. But as you can see, this is not the case. Does this mean the fabric has been printed improperly? Is this the design (seems unlikely)? Did I do it wrong (I don’t think so: I checked the fabric by threading it after I ripped and was able to pull the one single strand from edge to edge, indicating that I had properly straightened). Joel Dewberry falls in the category of “designer fabrics” so I would have thought it would be printed on grain.
When you fold selvage to selvage on the other hand, it seems to work perfectly–you can see how the pattern repeat is cut across by the fold at exactly the same spot up and down the length of the crease.
Anyone have any thoughts? Is this common? I think I will just cut it so it “looks right” and forget about the grain line for now. But I am curious about whether I’m doing this right or what’s going on. All the sewing manuals absolutely insist you MUST do this. Not such a big deal in this case (it’s just pillows) but I can see how it would matter if you are making clothing…And not to beat up too much on Joel Dewberry, I tried this with some other fabrics for projects I can’t yet post about (gifts–nothing more dramatic than that) and the same problem.