Before I could cut out the size strips that I needed, I had to figure out a few important things about the fabric. Things like, which is the right and wrong side? How can you tell when the fabric is a solid color? What is a selvage? What is the difference between a crosswise and lengthwise grain?
Hopefully this post today will shed some light on these important questions.
Next, I needed to figure out the right and wrong side of the fabric. And since the fabric happened to be a solid color, determining proved difficult. Always with printed fabric, it's easy to see a "right" or brighter side and a "wrong" or dull, flat looking side. And with some solid colored fabric, you can determine a "brighter" looking side and a "duller" looking side. In this case, it was still to hard to tell the difference.
When folding the fabric in half, you might find that the cut edges do not meet up, even though the selvage will. In this case, (which is always the case), you'll need to straighten the cut edge before measuring and cutting your strips.
My mat happens to be 18"x24", made by Fiskars, found here.) Place a clear ruler on top of your fabric, matching a straight line directly on the fold of the fabric.
Here you can see the outer strip that I cut away and the other side of that strip. See how uneven the edge was?
Once you have your straight edge, you're ready to measure and cut out the appropriate size strips you'll need in order to create your border around each t-shirt block.
Strips cut perpendicular to the selvage are your crosswise strips and any strips cut parallel to the selvage are your lengthwise strips. Crosswise strips stretch more so than the lengthwise strips and are therefore not as stable. Choosing a cut is based on the preference of the quilter and type of fabric that she's working with.
In my case, I need long strips between each row of t-shirt blocks, so I will be cutting my strips on the lengthwise grain for less distortion.
I hope some of this quilting jargon has cleared some mysteries in the process and quilting in general. Once I get all the strips cut out, I'll be piecing and sewing (favorite part!). More on that next weekend!
UPDATE: Check out the full progress of this quilt!
Before this post:
New month, new project
After this post:
T-Shirt Quilt: Part III
T-Shirt Quilt: Part IV and updates
T-Shirt Quilt: Part V
Quilting and Binding: Part VI
Beginning, Ending, Starting, Losing