From my sewing and quilting days, I remember how “off” fabric can be. Tearing fabric often damages the edge but when quilting, especially backing fabric, I’d tear it to get a straight edge, then trim off the damaged area if it mattered. For backing fabric, it usually didn’t matter because I needed 3 or 4 extra inches on each side for the longarm so any damaged area was cut off. I’ve never had more than a fraction of an inch that was damaged.
With linen for cross stitching, it’s pretty easy to see that a lot of it is not straight. Before using the latest piece of linen, I pulled a thread to get a straight line, and then cut along that line.
This is from a 55″ piece of fabric. Can you imagine how much off this cut is if I had pulled all the way to the bottom of the 55 inches? I only needed 20″ and you can see I started right at the top and that’s over an inch that it’s off.
When I go to use more of that fabric, I’ll start hear the edge again so I won’t lose as much but if I had just measured over from the very top, I would have ended up with maybe a 1-1/2″ margin on that side instead of the needed 3″. And, if I cut exactly 20″ across that side, the other side would have been off too.
It’s always good to check that before starting to stitch and that’s why I always get extra fabric. When we’re counting stitches, there’s not much we can do to correct it if we start out with crooked fabric.