Cutting on the grain - How to make sure your quilt is straight

I’ve always appreciated the fabric stores who are so precise with cutting yardage.  They lay out the fabric with the fold on a straight line and then use a rotary cutter to cut the piece precisely on the grain.   At least that is what it looks like they are doing. 
If your quilt has all smaller piecing, then any off grain cut is not likely to show.  It’s when the piecing is larger…. probably 5” or larger … where off grain cuts can result in a wavy quilt.   This won’t be so noticeable on a quilt that is displayed lying flat or is not a wall hanging.  However, the fix is so easy, so why not make it precise?  After all, you are cutting each piece with precision, making perfect ¼” seams, pressing without moving the iron to avoid distorting the fabrics so why have all this effort and talent go to waste if your cuts are not on grain?There is an easy solution, however it may mean that you need to buy a few extra inches of fabric. 
I discovered this trick while learning to use my longarm quilter.   It is very important that the quilt backing is loaded squarely on the rollers.   I always load with the selvage lined up parallel to the roller bars.  Then when the fabric is rolled onto the rollers you can see how straight it is as the cut edges will then roll straight on top of each other….but only if the fabric was cut on grain.  I have yet to receive in a quilt backing from a customer that was cut on grain!  Imagine if that 5” piece I mentioned earlier can distort a quilt what a backing might do to a quilt if it was cut off grain!  The best part of the solution is that it’s really fun.  All you need to do is rip the fabric!   When you rip woven fabric they will always tear on the grain.  
Take a look at the strips I ripped off of a backing piece recently.   I will make about a 1” cut and then start ripping.   This one went from 1” to about 5”…that means the grain line was off 4”!  When you finally line up the fabric to make it square you have lost 8”…which is almost a ¼ yard!  Fabrics are expensive enough already without that waste!
 Of course, if you did this to fabric that is being pieced, then you will need to make another cut to give it a straight cut without the fraying.  However, there is another solution.  Why not buy fabrics that are cut straight with the grain in the first place?At www.grannysassydesigns.comwe rip the first edge of every bolt and then line up the fabrics for a prefect on grain cut.   You then have no need to buy the extra inches or  ¼ yd.  Check out our store.  It’s just gone live in the last few weeks.  We are adding more items daily.  Let us know if you are looking for something special that we don’t have yet and we will do our best to add it to our inventory.  We’d love to hear from you!For those of you who read this entire post, use the coupon code GrainCuts10 for 10% off your orders through 7-31-16.    Don’t forget to leave us comments!

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