Trimming Fabric

 

Hi Rebekah,

I’m thinking about trimming my silks (they are 108 inches

wide, which I’m realizing is just a hassle to grip). I think my instructor

said she trims hers to 80 inches or so – but my googling turns up

people saying you shouldn’t trim them because it weakens them (one

person thought the edge was sort of particularly strong, although

looking at mine, it doesn’t look that way). Do you trim/not trim? And

if so, to what width?

Thanks!

 

What a coincidence to get your e-mail today. I just did my first trimming job today! I took about a foot off my 110 inch purple fabric that I thought was way too much to work with. The company that sells the fabric that I by from offers their services to cut the fabric thinner for you before you get it. If they can cut it down and it is safe to do so, then I’m sure there’s no difference in cutting it yourself. (But this is going to depend on where you get your fabric.)

 

I can see why people would say that cutting the fabric weakens the fabric. With less fabric around to grip, you are putting more force per square inch, and putting more force per square inch will cause the breaking strength to lower. If you cut your fabric too thin, then you are going to have a weak fabric! You are also going to have a fabric that’s not very fun to grip and you probably won’t want to climb it anyway. You should check (with the manufacturer) to see what the breaking strength of your fabric is and then see if they know the breaking strength of the thinner fabric.

 

If fabrics are made with stronger edges, then cutting would obviously weaken the integrity of the fabric and those shouldn’t be cut. I’ve never heard of such a fabric for aerial work, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist! I don’t sell aerial fabric, which is why the bottom line of this article is to say that you really need to be asking your manufacturer, not me. But I like to weight in …. just cuz.

 

As for how thin to cut it: Typically, stretchy fabrics come thin enough – I wouldn’t cut those. But non-stretch fabrics are generally pretty wide (which is great for sling, etc, but not for gripping the whole fabric all the time). I cut mine down to around 98’’ and it still feels a little thick for gripping. I am scared to cut it too thin as I have a few friends who have done this to regret it. At the same time, I do want the width for cocooning and when i use the fabric as a sling.

 

I would guess 80 inches is on the cusp of as thin as you want to go with non-stretch. I didn’t trust my cutting hand (plus curling fabric) with enough accuracy to get anywhere close to 80 inches. I think 90 is a better width to aim for. Anyone else out there have opinions on what width to cut the fabric to? Please comment below!

 

 

 

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