Top 10 Tips for New Quilters – Cutting Accuracy
This week’s installment of the Top 10 Tips for new quilters is Cutting Accuracy. For the complete line up of tips, please see this page.
There are two methods for cutting accurately – Rotary Cutting and the AccuQuilt GO! Cutters.
Purchase Quality Tools that are of an Appropriate Size for the Job.
When I first started quilting, being quite frugal, I purchased a 6″ x 12″ acrylic ruler, a tiny 28mm rotary cutter and a wee little 8″ x 11″ cutting mat. What was I thinking? It quickly became apparent that these tools were not going to be adequate in size and/or were of poor quality.
My 28mm rotary cutter by Komfort Kut was junk. The blade would not sit properly on the axis and would wobble and cut all crazy like. The cutter did not even last long enough for the blade to go dull.
For cutting yardage, I also needed a larger acrylic ruler and mat. I ended up investing in a 6″ x 24″ Omnigrid ruler, a 45mm OLFA Splash rotary cutter, and a 24″ x 36″ OLFA cutting mat.
SUPER TIP: When purchasing and using acrylic rulers, stick with the same brand name. There will be slight variations between different manufacturers. Using the same ruler throughout an entire project will aid in accurate cutting.
SUPER TIP: Prolong the life of your cutting mat. Fill you bathtub with room temperature water, add 1/4 cup of white vinegar and a squirt of dish soap. Scrub your mat with a soft bristle brush, rinse with cool water and dry with a towel. Your self healing mat will absorb the water and become supple again, helping your mat last longer, and keeping your blades from dulling so quickly.
Steps for Accurate Cutting.
- Press your fabric before cutting.
- Fold your fabric in half, matching the selvage edges.
- Square up the raw edge of the crosswise grain, using a steady pressure on both the acrylic ruler and the rotary cutter. Ensure you are cutting square to the folded edge of your fabric.
- Line up this squared edge with the appropriate measurement along the length of your ruler to cut strips. For this example, I am using 4.5″ strips.
- Continue to ensure your strips are cut square to the folded edge as you continue and square up the raw edge again as needed.
- Ensure your ruler is squared up with the strip when crosscutting strips into smaller pieces.
- Also measure and square up blocks during your piecing process to ensure accuracy.
SUPER TIP: Always use a sharp blade in your rotary cutter. A dull blade will not cut as accurately, will skip threads in the fabric, and cause the fabric to be pushed instead of cut. Dull blades will cause you to put excessive pressure on the blade, damaging your cutting mat and putting yourself at risk for injury.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s tips on cutting accuracy.
Do you have any tips to share? Leave a comment!