Let your imagination run wild as you experiment with the exciting technique of crosscutting on your quilting projects. Find out how to cut your fabrics in innovative ways to create a quilt with lots of visual interest and character.
In quilting, “crosscut” typically refers to the technique of cutting the fabric used to make a quilt. The crosscut method involves cutting the fabric in a perpendicular direction to the selvage (the finished edge of the fabric) to create straight and even strips that can be pieced together to form the quilt top. This is in contrast to cutting the fabric along the lengthwise grain.
In this article, I will discuss what crosscut means in quilting and how you can make a quilt using the crosscut technique. In addition, I will also share some tips that will help you to do cross-cutting easily and accurately.
What Does Crosscut Mean In Quilting?
In quilting, “crosscut” refers to cutting the fabric at a right angle to the selvage edge of the fabric, which is the finished edge that runs along the length of the fabric bolt. This method of cutting is also known as “cross grain” cutting.
When a quilter cuts the fabric in this way, it results in the fabric being cut into strips that are parallel to the weft thread, which are the threads that run horizontally in the fabric. These strips are typically cut in widths that are specific to the quilt pattern and then pieced together to make the quilt top.
Crosscut gives you comparatively straighter and more accurate edges and a more stable piece, but the fabric also tends to be more frayed and stretched. As this method of cutting eliminates the natural stability of the fabric, it's important to handle the fabric carefully, to avoid stretches and fraying in the further construction process.
Additionally, many quilters prefer to crosscut their fabric because it allows them to create unique designs that would be difficult to achieve with a straight cut. This way, they can create diagonal lines or other patterns that are not possible using the fabric's straight grain.
It's also worth mentioning that this method is also used in other craft projects like sewing, patchwork, and even in woodworking.
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How To Make A Quilt Using Crosscut?
Here's a step-by-step tutorial for making a quilt top using the crosscut method:
Select Your Fabric
Choose the fabric for your quilt top. Keep in mind that the crosscut method is best suited for fabrics that are stable and won't stretch or fray easily. Cotton quilting fabrics are a good choice, as they are strong and durable.
Prepare The Fabric
Crosscut is usually done on non-stretchy fabric, that’s why it is important to wash the fabric beforehand. You can do that by either using a pre-shrink fabric or washing and pressing the fabric before cutting to remove any shrinkage. Also, square up the fabric first if necessary, so the fabric is square before you crosscut it.
Cut The Fabric Into Strips
Measure and mark the width of the strips you want to cut, using a ruler and a fabric pen or pencil. Cut the fabric into strips using a rotary cutter and cutting mat. It's important to ensure that the cuts are straight and even.
Sew The Strips Together
Align the cut edges of the fabric strips and pin them together. Use a quarter-inch seam allowance and a sewing machine or sew by hand to piece the strips together. Press the seams open after sewing, to prevent any bunching in the quilt top.
Assemble The Quilt
Once you have sewn all the strips together, you should have your quilt complete. You can also add other designs, patterns, or elements to make the top more interesting. You can use various quilt blocks or different colors of fabric to make a pattern.
Press And Trim The Quilt
Press the quilt top to remove wrinkles and make sure that all the seams are flat. Using a ruler and rotary cutter, trim off any uneven edges so that the quilt top is a neat and precise size.
Layering The Quilt
Once all the above steps are done, you will need to layer it with batting (insulating material) and a backing fabric. The batting should be cut to the same size as the quilt top and the backing fabric should be cut slightly larger to allow for quilting.
Finishing The Quilt
Use a sewing machine or sew by hand to quilt the quilt top, batting, and backing fabric together. You can use a variety of quilting patterns, such as straight lines or diagonal lines, depending on your desired design. Once the quilting is complete, bind the edges of the quilt to finish it.
Tips For Easy Crosscut
Although crosscut is quite easy once you figured it out, you can use your creativity to make amazing designs. Here are a few tips you should keep in mind while making the crosscut:
- Start by outlining the design of your quilt, and decide on the direction of the crosscut lines. This will help you to ensure that the lines are straight and evenly spaced.
- Use a quilting ruler or a straight edge to help guide your cuts. This will help to ensure that the lines are straight and even.
- Use a rotary cutter to make the cuts. This tool is designed to make precise, straight cuts and can help to ensure that your lines are even.
- Work on a large, flat surface, such as a cutting mat or large table. This will help to ensure that your cuts are even and straight.
- Use a quilting glove to help protect your fingers while you cut, as the rotary cutter can be dangerous if not handled properly.
- Go slow, take your time and focus on the task at hand while cutting, this will help your focus and increase precision.
- After you've made your cuts, check the alignment of your lines to ensure that they are straight and even. Make any necessary adjustments before moving on to the next step of your quilting process.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the crosscut method in quilting?
The crosscut method in quilting refers to cutting the fabric in a perpendicular direction to the selvage (the finished edge of the fabric) to create straight and even strips that can be pieced together to form the quilt top. This is also known as “cross grain” cutting, giving you straighter and more accurate edges and a more stable piece, but the fabric also tends to be more frayed and stretched.
Why use the crosscut method?
The crosscut method can create a more stable and uniform quilt, as the fabric is cut across the grain, which eliminates the natural stability of the fabric. Additionally, some quilters prefer to crosscut their fabric because it allows them to create unique designs that would be difficult to achieve with a straight-grain cut. This way, they can create diagonal lines or other patterns that are not possible using the fabric's straight grain.
What type of fabric is best suited for the crosscut method?
The crosscut method is best suited for fabrics that are stable and won't stretch or fray easily. Cotton quilting fabrics are a good choice, as they are strong and durable.
How do I prevent fraying and stretching when using the crosscut method?
To prevent fraying and stretching when using the crosscut method, handle the fabric carefully and use a rotary cutter and a cutting mat to ensure that the cuts are straight and even. Press seams open after sewing to prevent any bunching in the quilt top and press the quilt top to remove wrinkles.
Can the crosscut be used for other types of crafts?
Yes, the crosscut method can also be used for other types of crafts such as sewing, patchwork, and even in woodworking. You can make amazing patterns, especially diagonal lines with the crosscut technique in other crafts also.
How does the crosscut method differ from the straight-grain method?
The main difference between the crosscut method and the straight-grain method is the direction in which the fabric is cut. The crosscut method cuts the fabric in a perpendicular direction to the selvage, while the straight grain method cuts the fabric along the lengthwise grain, which is the direction in which the fabric has the most strength and stability.
Can I use the crosscut method for any quilt pattern?
No, not all quilt patterns are suitable for the crosscut method. Some quilt patterns may require the fabric to be cut on a straight grain or bias, so be sure to check the pattern instructions before using the crosscut method.
Is it necessary to use a rotary cutter and a cutting mat when using the crosscut method?
No, but using a rotary cutter and a cutting mat can make the cutting process more precise, but it's not necessary. You can use a pair of scissors to cut the fabric but it's harder to make accurate cuts, and it might not be as safe as using a rotary cutter.
What are the advantages of using the crosscut method?
The main advantage of using the crosscut method is the ability to create a more stable and uniform quilt. Additionally, some quilters prefer to crosscut their fabric because it allows them to create unique designs that would be difficult to achieve with a straight-grain cut. This way, they can create diagonal lines or other patterns that are not possible using the fabric's straight grain.
Should I prewash my fabric before using the crosscut method?
Absolutely yes, I highly recommend prewashing your fabric before using the crosscut method because this will remove any shrinkage and help to prevent any fraying or stretching of the fabric after the quilt is completed.
How do I know if I am cutting my fabric in the correct direction?
To ensure that you are cutting your fabric in the correct direction, you can use a grain line arrow or the selvage edge of the fabric as a guide. Cutting perpendicular to these will give you the correct crosscut direction.
Is it possible to use the crosscut method on a pre-cut fabric like a jelly roll or charm pack?
It depends on the type of pre-cut fabrics, if the fabric is crosscut before it is packaged, then it should be possible to use it in the crosscut method. But, if the fabric is not crosscut, then you may not be able to use it for the crosscut method as it can result in uneven strips or strips that are not the desired width for your quilt pattern.
To sum it up, the crosscut method is a great way to cut fabric and create a more even, stable quilt top, as well as an aesthetically-pleasing pattern. This method is especially useful when making intricate designs in your quilt that cannot be achieved with a straight grain cutting.
I hope this article helped you understand what crosscut means in quilting and how to use it successfully. If you like this article do share it on your favorite social media sites, and if you have any questions do comment below, I will be happy to hear from you.