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Can you cut a strip LOF--not WOF?

by Christina
(Keithville, LA)

Christina writes...

The instructions on my quilt pattern indicate to cut my strips WOF.

Can it be cut LOF?

Julie replies...

Good Morning, Christina!

Yes! Of course you can cut your strips the LOF (length of fabric) instead of WOF or width of fabric.

Personally, when I'm cutting for Log Cabin type blocks, I prefer to cut the rectangles so that their long side is on the LOF or lengthwise grain. I think is creates a more stable block.

For long borders on quilts that are destined for a wall, again, I prefer to cut those strips on the lengthwise grain (LG) to add stability.

The one thing you MUST know

You will probably need a bit of extra fabric to cut lengthwise strips.

I've been running yardage calculations for quilt patterns cut this way. Each and every time it's taken a bit extra.

The Electric Quilt program yardage calculations are based on strips cut WOF or on the crosswise grain. They recommend you purchase extra fabric if you want to cut on LOF.

If you've already purchased your fabric, take a bit to rerun the fabric calculations for those patches that you intend to cut LOF. (Better safe than sorry.)

To economize on quilt fabric...

...cut your longest strip first.

If it's borders, cut those first. Remember that to have the LG running top to bottom on both the top and bottom borders, those two should be cut on the crosswise grain. Click here to learn more.

If you're cutting patches for, say, a Log Cabin quilt and you want the long edges of the rectangles on the LG, cut a crosswise strip (WOF) as wide as the patch is long. Subcut it into as many patches as is needed. If there is extra, then cut down the width of this strip to the next widest strip that you'll need and subcut again.

To illustrate, the longest patch for a 9" finished Log Cabin quilt block constructed from 1" finished strips is 1-1/2" x 9-1/2".

In the image below, it is Patch 17.
A Log Cabin quilt pattern drawing

Many quilt patterns would have you cut 1-1/2" wide strips by WOF and then subcut into 9-1/2" long patches.

To cut with the LG on the long side, cut a strip 9-1/2" by WOF, and then subcut into 1-1/2" wide patches.

If there is any leftover 9-1/2" strip, find the next widest patch that uses this same fabric.

In the quilt block pattern above that is Patch #16. Its cut size 1-1/2" x 8-1/2". Cut the leftover 9-1/2" strip down to 8-1/2" wide and subcut into 1-1/2" patches as needed.

This method helps you maximize your fabric dollars. An added benefit is if you miscut a strip, you probably have the opportunity to use it for another patch and not lose the whole thing.

Great question, Christina! Thanks for asking it.


Julie Baird

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