to rip or not to rip???

23 March 2011

ripping vs cutting

so let's talk ripping vs cutting.

while i was in san antonio i talked with the owner of sew special quilts about this very subject.
fyi: they rip, but they will cut if asked.
while talking with her i thought...i wonder how everyone else feels about this.

i have seen it done both ways.
i have heard the positives & negatives to both sides.
i've heard the "that's how shops did it in the ol' days" rebutle.
i've even seen shops lose business because of the "cutting is against shop policy" line.

so i wanted to talk to a few of my fav quilt shops. {one brick & mortar. one online.}
i wanted to get views from both sides.
it just so happens that they're the opposite of each other in the ripping/cutting department.
which made my research go quicker. lol.

my fav online shop = fat quarter shop
they cut.
they cut so many layers & orders that it would take forever to live up to their SUPER fast shipping if they had to rip orders all day.
and on top of that when you rip, it damages about 1/2" on either side of your fabric by stretching & pulling.
they agree that ripping is good for straight of grain, but they'll stay cutters.

my fav brick & mortar = people, places & quilts - summerville, south carolina
they rip.
it's important to them that you have a straight of grain piece rather than pretty edges.
they recommend washing & pressing your fabrics to even out the distortion from ripping.
although they are firm believers in ripping, they will cut if asked.

so let's have an open debate...
to rip or not to rip???

are yall for or against ripping???
inquiring minds want to know.
if you're a quilt shop...i highly encourage you to jump in and give your two cents.

& because i know someone is gonna ask...
fabric = bliss by bonnie & camille for moda

♥ rachel

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146 comments:

Jamie said...

I've actually never had fabric ripped before. However, I don't think it would bother me because after I wash and press, I end up having to even out the cut edges anyway.

Kpet said...

Firm believer in cutting vs. ripping. I guess ripping is OK as long as the shop adds a couple more inches to the size requested. I also rarely prewash my fabrics so wouldn't want to just to even out the piece.

A.J. Dub. said...

I have not had it ripped either, but prep trimming is probably necessary either way. There are times when I would like the straight of grain to be more obvious so ripping might be a good thing.

Bayside Gal said...

I always prewash my fabric, so I don't really have a choice as long as the ripped fabric is the exact quantity I am purchasing. Shortages would be a problem.

Karen said...

For quilting cut; for clothing rip.
I grew up shopping for clothing fabric with my mum and the stores always ripped. We always prewashed and I am sure it is in my head, but I think you get more shrinkage (and thereby truer fit) with ripping.
For quilting though sometimes the instructions call for 1/4 yard you have to cut 4 2"inch strips out of that 1/4 yard. That's when cutting is far better. I don't prewash for quilting. I bank on shrinkage taking care of my mismatched seams and very wonky quilting lines.

megan said...

I rip at home, and love the guaranteed straight lines and i love how little unravels. Everywhere I've ever bought fabric has cut it... and when you pay by the yard is frustrating to go home with a big wonky piece that isn't square - I lose more fabric than you'd think squaring it up later. I always have to buy extra to accomodate for the crazy angles and then I have loads of small strips and chunks I can't bear to throw away (because I'm a quilter damnit and I just can't throw away fabric scraps!)

Chelley said...

I don't like ripped fabrics. I'd rather straighten the grain myself when cutting. I don't prewash and ripped edges are just messy.

Rae said...

I don’t really care when it comes to yardage. I might even lean toward ripping, because of the straight of grain issue. But I almost always prewash my fabric unless it’s going with jellyroll/charm pack fabric.



Precuts, even FQs, I prefer cut because of the slight warping on edges. But a quilt shop that cuts crazy unsquare precuts is a quilt shop I don’t go to again.

Amy said...

I prefer my quilting fabrics to be cut. AND, FQS does the *best* job cutting, folding, and sending fabric. It's always SooooSO nicely packaged.

Jenna said...

Until recently, I had never seen nor even knew about ripping fabric. All the stores I have ever been to, cut (joanns, hobby lobby). But when I went to a specialty fabric shop, they ripped. I was actually taken back as I had never seen this done. I personally don't care either way...as long as I get me some pretty fabric :)

Jen said...

I prefer cut, but wouldn't stop going to a store if they rip. The only time I have a problem is if they do both. If someone cuts one end and the next is ripped, the piece can be very off.

AMKreations said...

Rip vs. Cut...I don't know...all I know is I hate getting fabric cut at a place like Joann's and coming up short...they don't know how to cut a straight line, PERIOD!

So, would I lose less fabric getting it ripped? if so, I'm all for ripping! I've found fabric shops are more generous with their cuts, giving you about an inch extra...Joanns, you're sure to be shorted an inch or more either way you cut it!

SewHappyGeek said...

I'd rather have it cut. Most places here in the UK give u a bit extra so you can sort the whole grainline thing yourself. There is a cheap place that rips and it drives me nuts. I rarely prewash and ripping mucks the edges up.
I'd rather bring it home, find straight of grain and rotary cut an inch off one side before I cut quilt fabric.

SewHappyGeek said...

And I forgot to mention, I'm hosting a mug rug swap over at www.sewhappygeek.blogspot.com and I'd be sooo grateful if you passed the information on. It's the first I've ever hosted and I'm really nervous...:S

Katy (France) said...

In France we rip, although I always feel very self conscious in my local shop because we serve ourselves and I feel I should be quietly cutting rather than loudly ripping!!

Kirsten said...

I can't stand ripping!! My closest LQS rips, and they have lost my business because of it. Of course, they also rip at the EXACT yardage you say you want, so if I buy an EXPENSIVE half yard of fabric, I only end up with 15-16" of useable fabric once I even the fabric back up and cut off the ruined edges. SO not cool. I don't want to pay for fabric that I then have to throw away.

DianeY said...

When I started sewing about a million years ago & purchased fabric at department stores (yes, they all had fabric departments!), fabric was always ripped & I hated it! Haven't had it done since then & I would hate it! I think there is a lot more waste because it distorts more of the edge. Just my opinion!

carein said...

I don’t mind ripping as long as the previous was ripped, otherwise you won’t get an even piece of fabric. So, I will take it either way, as long as the previous matches . This being said, it is bad enough when you have fabric cut (or ripped) alot of the time at those “big box stores” they rarely pay attention to where they are lining up the end of the fabric with the “0” mark. most of the time they only look at the end closest to them and not across the width to the opposite end of them to make sure that that side is all the way over to the “0”.
I know because I use to work at one of them and being a sewer/quilter for many yrs, I knew that I wouldn’t want a piece cut like that, so I would disregard that “thumb nail to thumb nail” rule of cutting, so anyone i cut for would get a couple of inches more just to compensate for uneven edges.

Candace said...

It's funny, my attitude has changed regarding this very topic over the past few years. My first LQS ripped and I grew to prefer it because it would true-up the fabric for me. HOWEVER, now I prefer people to cut especially on small print fabric because I have so many pieces of fabric that I can not 'true-up' because the fabric was printed with the design off by just enough and cutting prevents me from noticing it as much. However, there have been instances where I have just had to trash fabric that I spent 10 dollars/yard on because the designs are off that much.

Becky said...

how about an opinion from a new quilter.
I have only been quilting since....November of last year. And the first quilt that I found online...her instructions were to rip. I was like WHAT? So I did like the instructions said. I had a higher stress level than EVER doing that I might add. My second and third quilt top I cut.

I personally...I prefer cutting. I just don't like the idea of ripping and to be honest I couldn't tell that it did anything special for me

Bree said...

I'm terrified of ripping... but I'm visiting PPQ in June, so I'll revisit my opinion after I watch them rip ;)

Leslie said...

Funny you bring this up. Just two days ago I was asked if I wanted it cut or ripped at my local Hancock's, and I was aghast at the thought of ripping. Isn't that going to stretch about 2 inches of fabric? I don't prewash my fabrics, so I like mine cut.

Shanna said...

I hate when my fabric is ripped!! I don't get the fabric I have paid for because they measure to the inch and rip it there. I have asked for cuts before and get the hairy eyeball from some employees!! I also don't pre-wash and just prefer to square up myself with my rotary cutter. Plus ripping sounds horrible...like I am hurting my fabric :o)

Jennifer D said...

both ways are fine with me. I usually rip at home but then cut from there. I have never been to a shop that ripped. I really needed this post, I was wondering about it myself. Thanks

Crystal said...

While I dislike getting a wonky cut of fabric (especially if I was planning to cut it selvadge to selvadge and have to lose a big piece on both sides), the VIOLENCE of ripping turns my stomach. That sound, the feeling of ripping, of tearing...it's so wrong in the peaceful world of quilting.

Also, I've noticed that some fabric will just not stay true to grain (or it is printed slightly off the grainline) and in order to get a square, two sides are slightly off-grain. So, I just don't see the point of trying to stay on grain all the time.

~Niki~ said...

i am SO against ripping~i went to a quilt shop once here in AZ that ONLY rips fabric. You know, they are seriously cheating me about 3 inches of fabric on both sides with the ripping. It was a solid red fabric and you could seen the tiny tiny white threads through the red, all that fabric~wasted. why not just cut?

Lin said...

While I prefer cutting, and really seldom care about straight of grain, I still will shop at stores who rip.
I've been known to rip at home when I need a length of something and it will be washed.

Rhonda said...

I prefer cutting. I've actually had fabric ripped and it turned out to NOT be a straight of grain line.

Messy Karen said...

i started ripping when i was younger and made clothing. you need to know where the grain is. if i ripped a fabric and the grain was way off like it sometimes used to be. i would probably not have used the fabric. i often rip small pieces from bigger ones i bought mostly because i don't have a large table to work on. i prefer to do it this way even though i know that i waste some of it. i have never had a quilt shop rip my fabric. i would be surprised if i saw them do it. i do think grain is important in quilting. but the fabric made today is very even.

Janna said...

what megan said,
"I lose more fabric than you'd think squaring it up later"

Renee said...

I started with cutting, but found that even after reading many instructions and being extremely careful, cuts for longer pieces ALWAYS came out wonky, so now I rip the longer lengths, and cut for shorter ones. So far so good!

JMNech said...

I prefer ripping with a few inches added on. That way I can square it off before I start to sew. As I both quilt & sew (home dec, clothing, toys, etc.) I am more prone to want to have it squared off 1st.

Tiffaney said...

I had always visited quilt stores that cut and the first time I visited Quilt in a Day and they ripped my fabric I almost screamed in horror. I had no idea that was even done. They did give me more then enough extra fabric to make up for it so I wouldn't stop me from going again. Now I am ready when it happens.

Megan said...

Never had ripped fabric. My OCD find rough edges annoying to the max, so I'm going to say cut. I don't wash fabrics either.

Nedra said...

I'm so glad you wrote about this. I've had some stores tell me it's the best, and others say it stretches the fabric. It's hard to know who to believe.

danaandthread said...

I rip when i get home if the store didn't rip for me. I need to true up the fabric for quilting before I cut into it, so I just assume it be ripped instead of pretty.

Chef Mama Lori said...

This is so funny that you just posted this. On Wed. we took a group of Girl Scouts (middle & high school) to a quilt shop for a tour (they're working on a quilt badge). The owner there said they always cut fabric in the store b/c of the stretching issue, or you could lose a bit of the fabric. BUT, at home she said she always rips. Then, on Saturday I went to Sew Special & saw that they ripped! It was funny to me to see the 2 different views in the same city.

I've never ripped fabric or even heard of it until last Wed. The owner at that store said when I get really mad to go into my room & start ripping fabric. Everyone will be nice to me! LOL! Looking forward to reading all the comments on this.

Melissa said...

Ripping seems so brutal! I go home and cut off the ripped edges anyway.

One of our local quilt shops makes a tiny cut and pulls a thread then cuts with scissors along that thread which gets you a straight grain and is much less stressful to me and the fabric.

Kimberly said...

I've cut many, many pieces of fabric in my day. It can be tedious lining up the print for a straight edge, which is much different than the edges of the cut fabric. I cut pieces anywhere from 3 x 2 to 18 x 18 and I think cutting is still better. Although ripping gives you an honest line for tearing, you still have to account for the stretched out edges and I will always cut away the edge again so it's a clean edge.

Angie said...

Ok, so after this description, I now have no opinion...LOL! I used to not like my fabric ripped just because I didn't like it and didn't understand it. Now that I know why they do it, it's more acceptable.

If I *had* to choose, I think I'd prefer cut simply because it's cleaner. But now I see an advantage to ripping, too.

Thanks for the informative post!

The Tulip Patch said...

I *hate* ripping. I have ripped off big chunks for backing, but it's MY fabric at that point and I have paid for it. I hate paying for 1/4 yd and getting 8 inches because of ripping. Rippers should give generous amounts to make up for the weird edge if they want to keep my business.

Strlady said...

I would prefer that everyone rip. I have never had a LQS rip but have had fabric come home where I had to cut off over 3" to square up the mess for the cutting.

I understand that the fabric might be rolled on the bolt wrong which leads to these deviations in the cut but unfortunately, I don't have tons of cash to be dropping on poorly cut fabric.

I typically rip the piece after it arrives and then I can make my first cut to even out the edge. Since I am making the cut on the grain I know that it will be straight.

Mary Grace McNamara said...

If I need very long pieces of fabric, like for a border piece, I'll rip, and I must admit I love to rip fabric. It's fast and efficient and I think it just feels good. And I love the sound it makes. I just finished a log cabin quilt and all the fabric for that quilt top and backing was ripped. it turned out great! Not so sure I'd want a fabric shop to rip fabric though, but I also hate it when they cut crooked and I end up with two or three inches less of unusable fabric.

Great discussion here...very interesting to read all the comments!

MGM

Lisa (Michael too in photo ;O) said...

CUT ... CUT ... CUT ... i was at one store and they ripped it and i was a bit irked that they ripped it! I guess we take such care with our fabrics to pay what we do and rip it just doesn't seem right! besides, how hard is it to square up your fabric!

Shelley said...

I think part of the problem with ripping is the word itself.
Maybe they need to ask,at the counter, may I "part" you fabric...
Do you have a preference of how I divide your fabric?

No, instead we are hearing....
Do you prefer me to "fray,slash,frazzle,lacerate,damage,sever,shred" your lovely fabric which you are paying for with your child's lunch money with to feed your creative soul.....?

Ok...I'm outta this store...just sayin' :D

Jodi said...

No ripping allowed! I went to a quilting class and she showed us how to rip and wanted us all to try it! I was aghast and wouldn't do it! I guess I'm a bad student. I'll try just about anything, but ripping is too violent! And I don't prewash, either, so...

krisgray said...

I don't mind if a shop rips, if they give me an inch extra for the stretching. However, I once got a panel near the end of the bolt, a bolt that had been ripped and ripped. I pulled and pulled and never could get all the squares on that panel square again. So, I never buy panels at the shop that rips. All the other shops I've been to cut.

@pril said...

Personally I am scared of ripping!

Kate said...

I prefer cutting for smaller yardages, so I can true it myself. For 2+ yards, I find it easier to have it ripped. However, I can't STAND the sound of ripping, so I'm the one in the quilt store covering my eyes and ears.

Vicki W said...

For the fabric that I dye and sell I rip to get an accurate measurement. But my 1/2 yard is 19" to try to make up for some of that distortion and shrinkage. Although once dyed and processed, the distortion is mostly gone.

Purple Quilter Queen said...

I do both - depends on my mood that day! I see the benefits of both. Jenn

Gale, Ky quilter said...

When in a hurry in the past I have ripped however it did not always run true and I ended up wasting fabric - yes, even the "good" brands. So, I'm never too busy now to cut.

gale

Lisnaweary Quilts said...

The only fabric I would rip is curtain lining! Definitely a cutter!

Kimberly said...

There is a fabric store (only close by) in N.C and they always rip...the only bad about it is that sometime it is not in straight line or uneven length because they rip it...I like clean straight cut like Fat quarter Shop do. so really it both ways just order more inches since they do shred when you wash...but you know I never thought to simply asked please cut...I assume that they what they do and only so...make any sense you ya?

Katie R. said...

I work at a local quilt shop and we NEVER rip! We don't even use rotary cutters, it's all done by scissors. If you know how to line the fabric up it makes a straighter cut than some rotary cutters do. If I know places rip fabric, I try and stay away from there... It may run true to the grain, but I have to cut off that 1/2 inch anyway to get past the distorted fabric! There's no point to ripping for my purposes.

Jo said...

I much prefer ripping for garment fabrics, but actually I can only think of one store that does that. For quilting fabrics, I care less. But evvery single fabric that somes into my house gets prewashed, and trued up if it's for a garment.

stefanie said...

When i first started quilting, I thought ripping was great. I had been sewing garments for over 25 years and that's how I knew to get SOG. I no longer sew garments, and since I've been quilting so much, I have come to hate ripped fabric. You lose so much! When I first started, I went to a local shop that rips and bought several half yards of Verna... they were charging $13/yd (I had no idea I was overpaying). On each of those fabrics, I've easily lost an inch or two of usable fabric on each side. Lesson learned, I won't do that again!

Crystal Hendrix said...

didnt know people ripped, but after you saying you lose about an inch I would say cutting, I am selfish with my fabric and I want all of it.

Sallie said...

I prefer the store cut, but I sometimes I rip fabric at home.

RenegadeQuilter said...

I was in a fabric shop in Franklin, TN and she rips everything & she had something like 8,000 bolts of fabric. The place was a mess from the strings being everywhere. The ripping totally distorted my fabric that I bought from her & I am not a prewasher at all - I would have lost more fabric if I washed it. Therefore I am a cutter and I would have to say that if I run into that again I would write down the fabric info and get it somewhere else that would cut it for me. Cut, cut, cut fabric is made to be cut.

Krista said...

I've never experienced ripped fabric from a retailer. But I'd be fine with it as long as they made it a generous "cut" with an extra inch to make up for the fraying.

I do like to rip fabric at home when I have a piece that is striped or has a pattern that I want to line up perfectly. I've also done it with shot cottons to make sure my grain is straight since the warp and weft are different, and it shows when something is crooked.

Sarah said...

All of the shops in my area rip, and they add an inch or two. I agree with many of the other commenters, I think it distorts the fabric. The fabric is pulled out of shape, not just the edges. Often, after washing and pressing, when I fold it up the edges don't meet up right.

jack said...

I love love love ripping. I have had problems with cutting making garments. It can be frustrating to come home with fabric and after squaring it up to realize you now do not have enough. If I have to buy extra then rip rip rip, at least then it is already squared up for me.

luvtoquilt said...

I have not encountered any quilt shops in our area that rip. I'm very careful to match up selvages and make that first cut properly when I bring fabric home. I think that with the good quality fabric that the quilt shops carry, ripping isn't necessary. I do not like the idea of stretched edges.

diana said...

When I'm buying 6 meters of fabric, I couldn't care less if they're cut or ripped. But when I buy 1/4 yard and lose 2" on every side I care a lot.

And the distorsion after ripping, especially with linen, is huge. So I really want my linen cut.

CJ said...

Quite the mix of comments/opinions!
I could go either way with this, I understand the idea for ripping and if I have enough fabric to then clean up the edge - fine. I tend to rip Kona and Bella solids.
What my beef with all of this is, I order mostly online (99% I would guess) and when I have to stretch my fabric to see that I got one yard - they cut it too close. ESPECIALLY if one end isn't even straight! Give me a TRUE yard of workable fabric, unless you are going to let me order 1 and 1/8 yards (which most stores won't do).

Keep Stitchin' said...

I prefer cutting. I'm not anti-ripping, but one time when I ripped it myself after I got it home, it was soooooooo off it wasn't funny! Apparently it must not have been the best run, it wasn't from a quilt shop but it was from a fabric store. I had to buy more fabric because it ripped at such an angle you would not believe.
But my choice leans more towards cutting because it's neater.

yolanda said...

I don't prewash nor do I like the sound of ripping lovely fabric therefore I am pro-cutting! ;-)

yolanda said...

I don't prewash nor do I like the sound of ripping lovely fabric therefore I am pro-cutting! ;-)

yolanda said...

I don't prewash nor do I like the sound of ripping lovely fabric therefore I am pro-cutting! ;-)

Jill said...

I will buy it either way. I grew up sewing clothing and like the idea of ripping to get the exact straight of grain. I prewash so any distortion "comes out in the wash". When I wash cut fabric, I always lose some width due to the those very sharp cut edges like to fray. Ripped fabric does not fray in the wash, for me. Since having a straight grain line is very important to my piecing, I like to know it is truely straight and ripping gives me that, so I will rip at home if necessary!

Laura said...

well I was shocked the first time I saw fabric ripped - but I have to say, I have started ripping @ home, too. Esp. for bigger pieces like for backing of a quilt. it can be difficult to straighten out 5+ yards of fabric I may have on hand, and I find it difficult to measure if I can't straighten it. So I ripped it first - and trimmed up the extra - MUCH easier in my opinion.

Dawn said...

I worked in a fabric store for years and yes Rip is better in that it follows the grain and gives a more accurate measure...BUT it must be good quality fabric or it will be crooked...
Great debate!
hugs Dawn x x

Heather said...

I'm pro cutting because I don't wash my fabric prior to using it. If I did wash it I would prefer ripping. I used to get all my garment fabric ripped. I hated when they cut that. But I always pre-washed my fabric there.

madebyalh said...

Oh! Good question! I really prefer cut fabric but will not go out of my way not to buy ripped if I want the fabric.

Pam said...

I prefer cutting also. I do not like to pay good money to have my fabric destroyed by ripping. Even if I have to even up the edges, sometimes I can use that strip for string quilts.

"it damages about 1/2" on either side of your fabric by stretching & pulling."

Kris said...

Until recently I had only ever been to cutting shops, but I moved and my local shop here rips. She talked about the straight grain etc. She does rip it bigger to compensate. I think I am happy either way. (As long as the fabric gets to my house!)

Nicky said...

OK I have ripped but rarely - it stretches and pulls and once I had a fabric which didnt rip straight and actually ripped in a curve (I presumed it would be straight and I lost a large square out of my fabric) prior to this even I have always cut or for my smocking when I require a straight grain I pull a thread for a cutting guide (It is interesting thenwhen you find fabrics which arent printed straight). It is tedious but a fab result

Cheers

Jeanie said...

I only read a few of the comments, as there were sooooo many, but...cut, cut, cut! My first big quilt was done with Elenore Burns "stripping" method and although it gets the straight of grain, it also distorts the fabric and the pattern of the fabric. I would never use the stripping method again. Cutting may not be perfect, but I get much more usable fabric and there is no distortion.

ladybug said...

What a variety of opinions! I had no idea there was such a vast difference in the two camps!

I had some homespun ripped once, but never had anything else ripped... I definitely prefer cutting... Although, I can't say I've ever had quilting cottons ripped, so maybe I'm missing out on something? hm,.......

Steph said...

I prefer the clean cut. And FQS is the absolute best!

Melanie@Crafty Cupboard said...

I have had shops rip EXACTLY at the cut measurement I need, and so I end up losing an inch. If they're going to rip, they better give me extra fabric! If I need a perfect SOG, I pull a thread and carefully cut. But, since I can't sew perfectly, a perfect SOG is unnecessary.

Cut please!

QuiltinMama said...

As expensive as fabric is, cut the darn stuff, please. When you rip, I have to first square everything up, which cuts into how much fabric I actually wind up with. If I pay for a yard, that's what I want: a yard. The first time I ever had a shop rip fabric I thought my eyes would bug out of my head. Gives me nightmares!!

Danielle said...

CUT, CUT, CUT.... unless I want to impress the kids! LOL

Kristen said...

I think it's funny how some of the commenters mention their dislike of ripping because of the sound! =) I love the sound of ripping fabric, mostly from when I was in school and we'd rip muslin from the bolts and it signified the start of something new and fresh!

Chris {frecklemama} said...

How come no one has thought to bring this up before?! GREAT TOPIC.

For some reason, ripping gets on my last nerve. It seems (don't laugh at me) disrespectful to the fabric! It is expensive and it goes against my nature to have something I'm about to spend that much money on ripped right before my eyes!

Thanks again for opening up this topic. Very interesting.
Chris

Chelsea said...

I've never been offered ripped so by default I guess I prefer cut. Although ripped would be a great way to determine if the grain is off. And when I say off I mean OFF. I recently bought some plain white, can't remember what brand, extra wide. I didn't have a table wide enough to cut it so I decided to rip my pieces and the grain ended up being ridiculously off. About 12" difference from one side to the other. And no amount of stretching could get it back into shape. I don't really care about grain when it comes to small pieces, but for borders or applique backrounds I do and this was just lame. If I could have returned it I would have.

bethanndodd said...

This is so interesting! I had no idea that people ripped fabric. The quilt stores around here (KC, MO) have always cut my fabric. That being said, I can't really give an open opinion. Thanks for the interesting read :)

Suzanna said...

Whenever I've used ripped fabric to subsequently rotary cut strips, I've "lost" many inches, whereas I don't lose nearly as much when I use cut fabric. Alternately, when I used ripped fabric if I lined up, say, the ripped and pressed left edge, the selvedges wouldn't align. (This is my cutting method, which may have influenced my experience: I press my unwashed fabric, line up the selvedges, and hold it up by those edges. If the bend/fold along the length of the fabric is not straight, I slide one of the selvedges along until the fabric hangs straight and flat. Then I lay it on the cutting table, fold lengthwise again, and cut.)

Ann Marie said...

I have had both, prefer cut, as long as it is cut straight. I have gotten some home that looked straight, but when you upfold it, press it, then fold it to cut strips, and then ends are 4-6 inches off to have it straight, that is a bit too much.

April (Polkadot Sparrow) said...

I like it when they rip, though none of my local stores do it. I'm okay with cutting, but I appreciate the straight edges of a rip.

Also, it seems that ripped fabric doesn't get as many lose threads during prewash that you have to untangle.

Lee Ann said...

I don't like the ripping as it seems... violent? LOL. Actually, I just don't like it because many do not do it properly and the fabric becomes distorted. Since it's so expensive, I prefer cutting. However, I'll put up with the violence though because I do not like making waves. But, I got to tell you, I do not go to the shops that rip as often as the ones that do cut. In other words, I favor the ones that cut fabric instead of ripping.

WoolenSails said...

I always get mine cut at a store, don't think I would like it ripped. But at certain chain stores, they do not know how to cut anyways, always crooked, lol.

Debbie

A Pieced Heart said...

I believe - rip if it is over 2 yards or wider than 54 inches. Especially silks, sheer or decorator fabrics. There is also the techinque of pulling a string and cutting on the line. But we are talking quilting here. Quarters and halfs should always be cut but with an extra inch for squaring.

Life In A Pink Bunny Suit said...

I had never even heard of ripping fabric, muchless seen it until I went to the Midwest and we hit a few shops in Ohio. I have no preference, really, aslong as I get a piece of fabric that is accurate to what I requested.

Cheri C. said...

Okay... I'm glad you posted about this because I got into quilting in Utah... then, I moved back home to SC. In UT, they all cut. So, the first time I went into a store in SC and they ripped, I about fell over. I hated the sound, I hated the way it looks after and even the lady that ripped it said she would rather cut but it's what they did at that shop. I WANT MINE CUT!!! It makes me feel like the dentist office when I stand there and watch them tear my beautiful piece of fabric... CUT!!! I wish I had time to read all the comments as I would love to know what everyone else thinks... maybe post a recap of the best...

Jean - Oksewnsew said...

Having owned my own fabric shoppe, and have worked with fabric the majority of my life, I definitely go with cutting. You do lose a good inch when tearing, and when you ask for a yard of fabric, it's torn, you end up with 35" or less fabric. Most clerk do not compensate for that either! It will distort some fabrics too. I watch like a hawk when they cut it too, some just cannot cut a straight line!! and you end up with what you asked for at one point, and be an 1" short on other!! Sorry, didn't mean to be long winded..lol

Jean

sleepycathollow said...

I had absoultely no clue that there was a choice! I've never seen fabric ripped in a store before...now...I've ripped up fabric before, but only to use as ties/ribbon.

junglewife said...

The only time I have ever had fabric ripped is when I go fabric shopping at the batik stores in Bali (I live in Indonesia.) They always rip there and always fold it the "wrong" way (not selvedge to selvedge - it's not already folded on their bolts.) I have noticed when I get my fabric home and fold them "properly" - selvedge to selvedge - that even though you would think the rip would always be straight of grain, it's not. when I fold it and get it to hang right with the selvedges together, the ripped edges are NEVER straight with each other - sometimes several inches off! I wonder if that is a byproduct of the batik process, or if other fabrics might be the same way. In any case, I would rather have my fabric cut.

Kate said...

I always cut the fabrics I post out; ripped edges are too messy for the perfectionist in me, and I'd prefer to come across as neat to my customers.

Wendy said...

Cut only! I do not like to have my fabric ripped....If a store rips then I'm out the door as I pay too much for my fabric to be shorted by ripping....

Kara said...

I vote for ripping! Sew Sassy in Urbana, IL rips. I am never, ever short when I purchase fabric there. I can buy what the pattern calls for and I'm good to go. My other local shops cut or use a rotary cutter. If I forget to order extra, I'm out of luck. The fat quarters can be really short.

Q said...

My big local discount store (Aus) they rip dress fabrics and cut quilting fabrics. I had no idea about the arguments for each and have only really bought quilting stuff, then recently they had some cot panel material (in childrens wear and not on the usual folded quilting style bolt, but the long one) and I almost cried out when they ripped. I cut too when trimming regardless (and it's still inexact! LOL)

GerryART said...

IMHO it's such a disappointment to bring fabric home and lose three to six inches from bad cuts.
Ripping is accurate = measure xnumber of inches, xnumber of inches ripped.
No guessing.
The distortion is minimal - on shorter yardage one can alway pull the bias out.
Again, IMHO
Hugs,
Gerry

suz said...

I think ripping was done back in the day for speed. With rotary cutters and all the things you can get to protect the employees fingers, it's really a waste of fabric. One way or the other you have to square off the fabric. Ripping stretches the fabric - no two ways about it. My Mom was a dressmaker and was adamant about NOT ripping - she said it did more harm than good. I'm amazed shops still rip. Unless they are giving extra inches, they are cheating their customers, and with the cost of fabric right now...just sayin'.

Deb said...

Don't like ripped fabric, unless they're going to give me extra fabric to cover the stretched section. Don't pre-wash so when ripping you don't get the yardage you purchased. Actually had a shop tell me that if I wanted it cut, then they would charge me an extra 1/8 of a yard for that service, so I didn't buy any from that shop.

gabby said...

I rip, and I ALWAYS seem to have some extra fabric so it hasnt been a problem...

Lynne S of Oz said...

Heh, interesting seeing what people like.
I don't really care if it is cut or ripped as long as I don't get ripped off! I've had cut material that is wonky so that by the time I've squared it up, I've lost quite a bit of it (either printed badly or cut badly), and I've lost inches around the rip of ripped material. But I can remember being surprised when a place CUT the material - I was used to material being ripped.
(PS love people complaining about how much fabric costs now - here in Oz, quality quilting fabric costs around $25 a metre!)

Judy J said...

I have never had fabric ripped before - might be kind of fun. But don't we go ahead and cut with a rotary cutter anyway to make our quilts? I agree that if they give you enough so that you have the full yardage you requested, either way is fine.

IHeartQuilting said...

We always ripped in the quilt shop I worked in, unless a customer asked for cutting, which did occasionally happen. We always added an extra thumb width or two when measuring, so there was no fabric loss. I personally like my fabric ripped, so the lines stay true to the weave. But most of the shops I shop in cut - I've never been in another that rips around here.

pinkquilter said...

Man you have a huge debate going on here dont you! I had never seen nore heard fabric being ripped before in my life till couple of us was on a personal shop hop and we went in and when i took my fabric to the counter and and she rip what was suppose to be my 1/4 yard she double over laughing at me! She said my eyes and face was priceless! I thought she had lost her everloveing mind! I dont like ripping and will prefer to stay away from shops who do.We have scissors and cutters for cutting lets use them. Blessing to all!

Anita said...

There is a store about an hour north of me that ONLY rips, and they won't cut even if you ask them. Therefore, IF I buy anything there, it's a precut, and I don't shop there much. My neighbor made a quilt where the pattern directions said to "rip" all the strips for a log cabin...all her blocks were cock-eyed and had to be squared up more than usual. Horrible.
There are ALSO differing views among quilters, I have discovered, about pre-washing, batting choices, thread, etc. etc.....the debates go on!!!!!! It's almost as bad as politics!!!!!!!!!!!

Karen said...

I have done it both ways. But I prefer cutting to ripping. My heart always skips when I start to rip..wondering if this will be the one piece of fabric which will get destroyed by ripping! LOL

li cricket said...

I prefer cutting over ripping any day. Great topic for discussion! Thanks

Rhonda G said...

I had to chime in on this topic because if you have ever bought cut fabric then went home and ripped it to get it on the straight of grain, you'll see that you can lose as much as 2 even more inches. That shows how much the cut can be off grain. I usually have to buy more then what I'll need for a project because of the waste from them cutting it. And you lose that much on both ends.

So, I must say I prefer ripped - 100% to cut fabric. The edges do not lose near as much as the cut edge and you know it is straight of grain at both ends when you get it.

midnight hysteria said...

rip or cut ... in the *old days,* when i was sewing clothing for my 4 girls, always, always fabric was ripped ... now, i never see it ripped ... it really doesn't matter to me one way or the other as long as the shop/online or brick-and-morter adds that little bit extra to the end ...

i never wash my quilt fabric, ever ... but i do wash what i sew for grandchildren ... when i do that, i always serge the cut edges of anything under 1/2 yard, otherwise there is so much tangling of loose edge threads in the washer (i wash and dry the fabric more than once, so it shrinks!), threads wrapping around the fabric -- i know serging the edges helps save me some fabric ....

thanks for the soapbox ... LOL ... darlene

goecker said...

ripping, if you do a lot of it, can cause arm/wrist damage. I use to make the fabric baskets that you wrapped the ripped fabric around the rope, don't do - caused damage that took a doctor's care for months...

Caron said...

I am also a FIRM believer in cutting vs. ripping.

Caro said...

I'm a not ripper. I think it distorts the weave and washing it won't correct it, I believe. It's just not hard to square up your fabric matching selvages using a ruler and rotary cutter.

Dee said...

I prefer to have it cut. I am not a prewasher or a perfect straight of grain person. I'd rather be sewing.

Denise L said...

I prefer it cut when purchasing fabrics because I like the nice edges. I have on occassion ripped when I have a large piece of fabric but it is rare that I rip.

Heather H said...

The friend who taught me to quilt advised me that I was always going to have to cut off some material in order to get the grain right, and she's right...I've never gotten away without doing that. I have noticed sometimes with cut fabric, it will be several inches from each end, and at a minimum, I lose an inch or two.

So I prefer ripped fabric. I seem to lose less due to squaring and cutting off the ends.

And I always pre-wash, and I HATE the millions of loose threads that come out after washing cut fabric. Don't seem to have that with ripped fabric.

The first time I went to a quilt shop that ripped fabric, which I had never seen done before or heard of, I actually yelled at them! LOL Now they are my favorite shop. :)

Bec said...

I much prefer my fabric to be cut. I cringe to think about my fabric being ripped.

Kathy said...

OMG!! The first time (and everytime) I had fabric ripped, I thought I'd have a heart attack. I never prewash anything because of ravelling and having to iron that mess that never presses all the wrinkles out is such a pain.

outrosretalhos said...

Here in Brazil they always rip. At least where I live. This would be an intersting research to do, see if they do the same in other areas. I get fabric cut only when I buy online from international fabric shops. But I don't care either way.

Angie said...

I am a rotary cutting girl. I do not prewash so for me I love that sharp cut edge of the cutter. Most of the LQS in my area do rotary cut. There is one shop that only cuts with scissors, and I stopped going there because the fabric came up short every time. I did go to hancock fabrics one time and the girl ripped. I ended up losing fabric because I could not get it straight again. Thanks for the questions Rachel, i guess it is almost as debatable as to pre-wash or not to pre-wash.

QuiltingCyclist said...

Rip damage is infinitely smaller than the loss from sloppy and/or off grain cutting. I have been sewing about 56 years of my 66 years. My current experience with cutting averages a loss of 3 inches on each yard of fabric I buy. That is close to 10%. The fabric shops are saving time and shorting customers on usable yardage. I do not like cutting at all. That's my two cents worth!

Stitch Memories said...

love this discussion - I'm for ripping for garment construction and cutting for quilting. I find it difficult sometimes to square up ripped fabrics.
I'm tickled at the number of folks who have never heard of 'ripping' the fabrics -must be some young'uns out there:) LOL

I am Just One Mom said...

Fabric stores that rip do not add the necessary 6" on each each to allow for the damage and twisting. So as a customer at a "rip shop" I ALWAYS end up paying for an additional 1/3 yd that I know will not be used.
Also = if rippers clip their start incorrectly you can lose up to 1/2yd. Yikes. take care with the clip.
Therefore...
I prefer cutters. And I still zigzag edges, prewash and press.

Gwen said...

I have not read through all the posts so may be repeating something here. You can rip straight of grain lengthwise as well as crosswise. I love ripping borders lengthwise! I do allo about an eight inch extra on each side for the ravels. Borders are always so nice and flat this way. I am always pleased when a shop rips. I grew up with ripping, I'm old! I do appreciate that some shops are very careful about cutting straight or allowing for a little off. Those are the places that get my repeat business. I will tell the gals at Sew Special that you mentioned them. I'll be by the shop on shop hop soon. Hugs!

Mary said...

I went to a quiltshop that was the nearest to my home, they ripped, and I had to cut about 2 inches off on each side to get rid of the stuff that had pulled threads. I asked and they will NOT cut. I have NOT returned and drive further to not have so much waste...they lost me as a customer. I like scrappy and cut little pieces that *I* line up on the grain. I often fussy cut too...who needs rips when you fussy cut???

Lucy~

Carol said...

While almost all the fabric I purchase is cut, I really prefer ripping. Straight of grain is important to me and I will rip fabric when I get it home. I've found cut pieces with up to a 6" difference from selvege to selvege.

Micmacker said...

Hey, fun discussion thread (hahaha get it? thread?)! I am totally digging that people have strong opinions on this. Seriously, I LOVE to rip - it's a blast! I rip to true up, then yank back in the diagonal opposite direction from the rip. I've been teaching a few kids to sew, and wow - ripping is super fun for them (I won't let the little ones near a rotary cutter, of course). Ripping or cutting - I don't want to be shorted on fabric, and the shop that gives a bit extra gets my business. I will say that the print on the fabric doesn't always run true, so you have to watch for that. And I save my long ripped strips for gift wrapping ribbon. Sure, it's frayed and raggedy, but I think it lends charm. Reduce, reuse, recycle, right?

Chef Mama Lori said...

Hey Rachel, I ripped fabric last night & tonight! Mainly b/c I was sitting on the floor & too lazy to stand up & cut with my rotary cutter & too lazy to line it up with scissors on the floor. LOL! I ripped big pieces that would fit in my sizzix pro to cut rag squares with an accuquilt die. There, I just breeched a different form of cutting: die cuts! Anyway, I like how fast it is & for big pieces I like it. My younger daughter (the one I was going to introduce to you) can't stand the sound when I do it! She cringes each time. Makes me want to do it more. ha, ha!

Amy said...

Cut - definitely cut. And preferably with a rotary cutter. I go to one shop that still uses scissors ... I love going to that shop, but I would like to get out of there before my 41st. birthday please. Let's hurry things along a little!

Laila L S said...

I always prewash fabric and has found out that ripped fabic unravel less than cut fabric when washed in the washingmachine.
I usually buy a little bit more than needed just for the safety of not beeing short of fabric. Even if I didn't have to staighten the grain I may make a mistake when cutting. Extra fabric can be made into another project later,right..? LOL Because of this I don't mind if the shops are cutting or ripping the fabric. But if they ask me I would prefer ripping because of the minimal unraveling in the washingmachine.

SharleneT said...

It depends on the fabric and how much I trust the shopkeeper (you really don't know what the online person is doing). I definitely watch when they measure and tell them that, if they're going to rip, it has to be beyond the yardage purchased. I know it sounds distrustful but I've been 'ripped' off before. I've also bought extra yardage to be sure I have what I need and then align the material with ripping. What a debate! Thanks for bringing it up.

Mary Kay said...

I really don't like my fabric ripped because it ruins at least 1/2 inch or so of fabric. I don't think many fabrics anymore are really off grain to start with unless maybe a homespun.

a.niza said...

i prefer to rip but not all shops will entertain...so I normally buy a bit more to make up for the wee lost...

Thimbleanna said...

Holy Cow -- I'm so late to the discussion! Very interesting comments Rachel. Ripping drives. me. crazy. I hate that all those little threads pull and damage the edges of the fabric. Straight grain be damned LOL!

jessi lane said...

It hurts me to see the fabric ripped. It is irrational, but I can't help it.

SoozeM said...

If I am buying in smaller amounts for cutting into small pieces it doens't bother me either way, but for borders and especially backing I want ripped every time. As a longarm quilter I really really REALLY love ripped backings, I have had so many problems when backings are cut and they are not on the straight of grain!

Angie said...

I request my fabric to be ripped. I also wash and re-finish my rabrics. I used to be one of those 'it doesn't matter if it's quality fabric' people but I got a good education from a fabric manufacuter's rep and was converted. Plus, I am a long-armer and when I get a new customer, I recomend that they rip their backings...it is the only way to get a truly square back.

Jeni said...

I live in Seoul, Korea. When I go to the big fabric market here not only do they rip but they measure by rolling out fabric to an arms length and then rip...so I love when I get a larger person = large yard. It's fun!

Karen said...

I prefer my fabric to be cut. I recently went to a fabric store that would only rip and they only gave an extra 1/2" of fabric for a 1/2 yd. cut. I most likely won't shop there again, even though I liked their fabric selection.

katikando said...

I prefer ripping, that way you know the fabric is on-grain. I hate when I buy precut fabric, get it home and its off-grain!

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