Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tip Tuesday! Directional Fabrics

Welcome to

"Tip Tuesday!" - Directional Fabrics

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired! 


We all know what directional fabric is, right? 

Just in case you don't know, a directional fabric is printed with a design that has an obvious direction to it. In other words, there is a definite up and down or sideways motif. Stripes are often the most obvious directional pattern, but it is also common to see it in other prints, such as animal prints or prints with human figures. Here is an example of a directional print.


And here's a non-directional fabric sample.


It's important to keep in mind how directional fabrics will be used. They are often not suitable for quilt blocks that are pieced because they will often be twisted and turned and the pattern will go in various directions in the finished block. If that doesn't bother you or is the look you are going for, that's great. 

But, if the fact that the pattern (human figures for example), are going to be twisted in all different directions in your block and also quilt, perhaps you need to either make a fabric change or buy extra fabric to allow for some special cutting.  (Can you guess where I'm going with this?)

Well, I broke the cardinal rule for directional fabric for not recognizing which way the directional print comes off the bolt. If you see the fabric and actually hold it in your hands, that is pretty easy to do. Unfortunately, I bought the fabric below ("Here Fishy Fishy", by Heather Mulder Peterson of Anka's Treasures for Henry Glass & Co.) with a particular project in mind and I didn't notice how the fabric was printed. 



This is cute, right? My plan was to take a one yard cut of this fabric, add two borders (one small and one larger) and call it done. Easy peasy!! The top fabric in the picture below is for the backing. The brown fabric is for the small border and binding and the green fabric is for the larger border. The quilt would end up being about 48" x 52" and that was the perfect size!


Well, when I opened up the yard cut, I realized the fabric was directional - in the wrong way. Instead of the fish swimming side to side, they are swimming upwards and downwards. How could I not see that when I bought this fabric? In my defense, I bought this fabric online and didn't have it in my hot little hands to play with it and notice the direction.


After much consideration, I decided to make the quilt anyway, using the same measurements as originally planned. Even though the fish are swimming up and down stream, I like this little quilt and I'm sure the recipient will like it too. If the directional fish bother them, they can turn it sideways. :-)


So, the bottom line here is to check your fabric direction before buying, if at all possible. Know what you are buying and make an educated decision on how it will be used and whether you should purchase extra, just in case...

2 comments:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Well, don't fish swim up and down stream? I very good lesson presented.

Chris Henson said...

If I were a child underneath this quilt I would imagine the fish swimming up to me to say hello, then going back home for a bit...