I've been making a lot of shirred scarves lately. Last week I shared my favorite serged hem for a sheer scarf, and today I'm going to talk a little bit more about fabric preparation.
Most people with sewing experience are familiar with the snip and rip technique, but should you be self taught, this is a simple trick for working with wovens.
Lightweight sheer fabrics can be a bit of a beast to cut. They shift and slide, and no matter how hard you try to get the rotary cutter heading in the right direction, things are bound to happen, and mess up your straight cut. Ripping your fabric is actually a much easier way to establish a straight cut or edge. To snip and rip, you will want to snip an inch or two into the fabric, and make sure that your cut is straight, and in line with the grain of the fabric.
Then grip the fabric on either side of the cut, and quickly rip it. A fast and firm rip has given me the best results. Because a woven fabric has threads that run up and down, and left and right, (warp and weft). When the fabric is ripped quickly, the rip will fall in line with the woven threads, to keep your edge straight and square.
With some sheers, the fabric along the rip will start to curl in a bit (above).
You can also use this technique with medium weight wovens, like quilting cottons and flannels. The larger the weave of the fabric, the more difficult it will be to snip and rip. I recommend it only on light to medium weight wovens. I love snipping and ripping when I'm making crib sheets, or receiving blankets. I don't recommend it on small pieces of fabric, such as quilt blocks. As you rip the fabric, it loosens the weave along the ripped edge. If you are ripping your fabric, you will want to make sure that your seam allowance is large enough to extend beyond any loosened weave of the ripped edge.
More textured wovens are more difficult to rip. The fabric above was light weight, but has a textured pattern on it as well. I had to use more pressure to tear the fabric, which can skew the print of the wovens.
Ripping fabric can be a bit terrifying at first, but it sure is a big time saver. A great way to square up your fabric, or rip it into strips or squares.