Has this ever happened to you? You roll out fabric for a new project and the pattern on the fabric is wonky…as in uneven, not straight, crooked…wonky.
Cut fabric as is with a crooked pattern.
Cut fabric according to the pattern and run the risk of the curtains not hanging correctly.
Straighten the wonky fabric.
When I unrolled this fabric for a client the pattern was off kilter by about an 1″. This may not seem like much but even an inch can effect the look of a finished project.
How do you determine if your fabric is wonky?
Look at the pattern across the width of your fabric. If the edges of your fabric are laying straight on your cutting board but the pattern looks like it’s “walking” uphill/downhill you have a wonky pattern.
Does it really matter if the pattern is wonky?
Maybe not. If you’re cutting out a pillow top or other small project you may be able to work around it. You can still cut your pattern out straight.
But if you’re using the entire width of fabric for a valance or long panels, once your window treatment is completed you may be able to see your pattern “walking” uphill or downhill. Especially if you’ll be sewing several widths of fabric together and trying to match up your pattern repeat.
Not a good look. Not to mention annoying.
This particular fabric has a printed selvage. The selvage is an often white edge running along both sides of the fabric that was produced during manufacturing that prevents the fabric from unraveling. The selvage will often include the name of the fabric, manufacturer and other markings.
If you have a printed selvage look for the + sign. You will find this marking on both sides/selvages of the fabric.
Line up the + signs with the same marking on your cutting board.
This is what happened when I lined up the markings for this fabric. It happens more often than I’d like and can be quite a nuisance. If your fabric is woven this can be corrected by simply stretching the fabric diagonally.
Determine which direction your fabric needs to be stretched in order to correct the wonky pattern.
Begin stretching the fabric diagonally along one side…
…and work your way across the fabric to the other side. Sometimes it takes more than one stretching to correct an uneven fabric.
Here you can see the fabric is almost straight. Not perfect but much closer than it was before.
What if you don’t have a printed selvage?
Many fabrics will not have a printed selvage edge with markings to line up your pattern. In this case you simply have to choose a point in your pattern and line it up on your cutting board.
This fabric is for three matching valances. With such a distinct pattern I wanted each valance to be identical but the pattern was not straight. Not as much off as the above fabric but still enough that the pattern was going to be uneven on the valances.
I picked a spot within the pattern and lined it up on both sides of my cutting board.
Here you can see this fabric had to be stretched the opposite direction from the above fabric in order to correct the pattern.
I began stretching the fabric on one side and worked my way across to the other side. I then repeated the process with each piece of fabric until they were straight.
This isn’t a fun step in the sewing process but occasionally necessary.
And if you’ve ever made new curtains and realized the pattern was crooked after they’re finished and installed…you know what I mean. Not a good look. 🙂