What do I do when my edges are fuzzy? (sewing pre-cuts)

Using pre-cuts is a quick and easy way to sew a quilt because a lot of the cutting and math has already been done for you.  But they can be a little tricky when you make the sub-cuts because of the fuzzy edge.  It’s called a pinking edge, named after the blade edge of the scissors used to cut fabric.  I still have my mother’s pinking shears.  They are at least 50 years old. Why the word pinking?


“The cut produced by pinking shears may have given its name to (or been derived from) the plant named pink a flowering plant commonly called a carnation.  As the carnation has scalloped, or “pinked”, edges to its petals, pinking shears can be thought to produce an edge similar to the flower.  The word pink can be used as a verb dating back to 1300 meaning “pierce, stab, make holes in.”

At least according to Wikipedia.     I call them fuzzy edges.

Which part of the fuzzy edge should you use to measure your 1/4″ seam?

The pinked edge varies slightly by manufacturer so a little care is needed when sub cutting and sewing.

When you are making a simple quilt with pre-cuts from the same manufacturer, (sewing pre-cut squares to other pre-cut squares, or matching pre-cut 2.5″ strips in a jelly roll race), it doesn’t matter whether you line up the peak or the valley with the seam line on your presser foot, as long as you’re consistent.  I match the peaks together because it is easier for me to see on my machine.

But if you sewing sub-cuts together you will then be sewing a straight edge to a fuzzy edge.   Notice in the picture below that straight and fuzzy edges are sewn together.


Making sure you line up straight edges and fuzzy edges the same way for each block now becomes important.  Tina of the ‘Stitch This’ blog of Martingale wrote a great article about fuzzy edges.  Here is an excerpt below:

“Working with Pinked Fabric Edges

While the idea behind pre-cut fabrics is that the measuring and cutting have been done for you, different brands of pre-cuts can vary slightly in size. So measure your pre-cut pieces before you start stitching, measuring from the outer points of the pinked edges, and then trim to the desired size if needed. When aligning your fabrics for sub-cutting or sewing, use the outer points of the pinked edges as the edge of the fabric so that your 1/4″ seam allowances will be accurate.”

How to Quilt: pinked edges

A little fussy cutting of the fuzzy edges when there are lots of seams can make a more complicated quilt easier to sew.


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