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squaring fabric for curtains

Linda | Posted in General Discussion on

I’m looking for advice on squaring fabric for making tap top curtains. I’m working with cotton sateen (I think, I know it is a heavy cotton fabric)and don’t think the “pull a cross wise thread” technique will work. Are there any expert suggestions out there? Thanks in advance. Linda


  1. Tikiclub | | #1

    What about just doing a perpendicular cut to the selvage? Line it up against a straight edge of, say, a table, and make the cut. If you don't have a rotary cutter & straight edge you can figure out the cut using a little carpentry math. It's called a 3-4-5 triangle. Your selvage is the '4'. The diagonal is your '5'. Start at the 4, and where the 3 meets the 5 will be 90 degrees from the 4. I'm sure I'm not explaining it very well, but if you play around with it maybe it will make sense. The figures are the same regardless of size, as long as you keep the same ratio. 6-8-10, 9-12-15, etc.

    In the big picture, if you're off a little it hopefully shouldn't matter for tab tops.  

    1. Linda | | #3

      Thanks for your help. Your triangle did ring a bell. I needed to consult my husband who was a fitter for years and I've decided after his "explanation" that he'll help me square up the fabric. What a great site, I ask a question and voila, a couple of answers. Thanks again.

  2. rjf | | #2

    Tearing might work.  You could try tearing close to the bottom of your fabric and then check to see if you've got a perpendicular.  You do that by folding the torn edge up to the selvage (I can never remember how to spell that word).  The folded up part makes a triangle.  If the torn edge is the same length as the selvage that runs up, you've got a perpendicular edge.  Otherwise, you'll have some ripples in the diagonal fold.  Hope that makes sense.        rjf

    1. Linda | | #4

      Thanks for your suggestion. I had thought of tearing across but was concerned about weakening the fabric close to the tear. Have you had good luck with this method? Thanks.

      1. rjf | | #5

        It usually works best on closely woven fabrics and I always expect to lose half an inch or so but otherwise it seems to work.  What I have noticed, however, is that some fabrics have had such thorough finishing that even if you get a good tear, it won't straighten out with washing.  It just been permanently frozen (or fried) out of square.  Discouraging.  But if that's the case, if you cut it square, it'll stay square.  rjf

        1. Miramsey | | #6

          Do not tear drapery/home dec fabrics.  They already have a great tendency to be offgrain and the tearing causes more offgrain problems.  I use a carpenters square and a long ruler to mark a line across the fabric from selvedge to selvedge and then cut on the line.  First I place the carpenters rule on the selvedge and then put the ruler on top of the carpenters rule get everything squared up and then draw your line.  Hope this helps

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