Best Way To Cut Fabric For Quilting With Rotary Cutter

Quilters are always on the lookout for methods that are quick, easy, and accurate to use in the various processes that go into making quilts.

After all, making a quilt can take hours, days, weeks, months, or even years, so why not use whatever methods are available to shorten the overall time it takes to make the quilt, and in turn, increase the amount of time you have to enjoy the quilt once it is completed?

Due to this reason, quilters expressed a great deal of enthusiasm upon the introduction of the rotary cutter. I’m not going to lie to you; I was pretty pumped up.

Before I got a rotary cutter, I used to mark each piece of fabric with my cutting line and then cut it with a pair of Gingher scissors that were quite heavy. It would take me hours and days to cut the fabric pieces for even a small quilt, let alone a king-size one.

The maintenance and upkeep of your rotary cutter are topics that are covered in another article on our site. Fabric must first be squared up before it can be cut with a rotary cutter, which is another crucial step in the process. The cutting mat and the ruler are additional accessories that are sold in conjunction with your cutter. All of these subjects are discussed in greater detail in other articles.

This article is only for cutting instructions.

Folding your Fabric for Cutting Strips

Using my rotary cutter, I can slice through anywhere from one to four layers of fabric at once. After you have ensured that your fabric is square, fold it in half so that the wrong sides are facing each other and the selvedge edges are aligned. (If you fold it with the right sides together, it will probably work just as well, but it won’t be nearly as colorful or fun!)

Fold the fabric in half once more, this time making sure that the fold lines up with the selvedge edges and that there are no creases on the side that was previously folded. Repeatedly even out the texture of the fabric. There is a propensity for the fabric to develop some puckers or additional folds in the vicinity of the folds that were made previously. There are times when I have to refold it two or three times before it becomes smooth. When your fabric has been ironed and is smooth, place it so that it is aligned between two of the yellow grid lines (or whatever color they are on your rotary cutting mat).

Now grab your ruler and place it so that it is aligned along the edge of the piece of fabric that you will be cutting. The first cut will be made to ensure that the edge of your fabric has a cut that is completely straight. If you have recently washed and dried your fabric, you will notice that the raw edges of the fabric are uneven and that there are threads hanging from both of them. Position the ruler so that it is close to the edge of the unfinished end of the fabric. In most cases, I trim away at least 14″, but when the fabric is particularly uneven, I may have to trim away between 12″ and 1″. It is important to ensure that all of the stray threads have been severed and that you have a straight edge when you are finished.

One of the reasons why it is a good idea to get a little bit of extra yardage when you shop for it is so that you can make this first cut. In addition, I never buy anything that is less than a quarter yard, and in most cases, not less than a half yard. The reason for this is that washing a piece of fabric has a tendency to cause it to change shape slightly, although the degree to which this occurs differs depending on the type of fabric. After washing, it may be impossible to get even a single strip that is straight if you only have a quarter yard or less of the material.

It is a good idea to pick a spot on the mat that has grid lines where you are going to cut while you are aligning your ruler on the fabric to cut off the end of the piece of fabric that you are working with. You will be able to perform an additional check to ensure that the cut you make will be straight if you do this because you will be able to align the edge of the ruler with a grid line.

Now, the cut!

Make sure the blade of your rotary cutter is exposed and ready to cut by opening it up. Keep the hand that is not going to be used for cutting free to hold the ruler and the fabric securely. In most cases, I will stretch out my fingers so that some of them are resting on the ruler, while others are resting on the fabric that is supporting the ruler.

Put your rotary cutter down on the mat in such a way that the blade is pressed up against the ruler. Be careful not to press against the ruler with such force that it causes it to shift out of its intended position. The fabric will be cut by rolling the cutter along the ruler in the next step. This is a challenging step because you need to exert pressure both on the fabric and against the ruler at the same time. The objective is to cut through all of the layers of fabric while simultaneously cutting along the straight line that is being made by your ruler.

You should now have a straight edge, and you can begin cutting your first strip of material.

The First Strip of Fabric

The procedure that you use will be the same for all of your strips. Place your piece of fabric on the mat so that it is aligned between two of the gridlines.

After that, measure out a strip on your fabric, and cut it. Now, there are a few more specifics that I can share with you!

My strips’ final width determines whether I use my ruler with a width of 3 inches or my ruler with a width of 6 inches. This is due to the fact that I measure the strip using my ruler and not the grid lines that are printed on the mat.

Place the ruler along the edge of the fabric, being careful to align the cross lines on the ruler with the edges of the fabric as you do so. In the illustration, the lines that I am referring to when I say “cross lines” are the lines that run in the same direction as the fabric (where my thumb is). After you have ensured that the ruler is aligned with the hem of the fabric, position the rotary cutter on the mat so that it is just below the hem of the fabric. While doing so, press slightly against the ruler.
The strip of fabric can then be cut by sliding the rotary cutter along the ruler in order to do so. When you have finished cutting through the fabric, put the cover back on the blade of your rotary cutter to prevent cuts, which can be quite severe (just ask my son!). Then, set your rotary cutter aside. Keep your hand on the ruler to keep it from moving around while you work.

After that, take the hand that was holding the cutter and give the piece of fabric that you just cut a gentle tug. This will ensure that you have successfully severed the piece of fabric from the strip it was attached to. There are times when only a couple of threads are desperately attempting to cling to the fabric for dear life. They are unaware that the quilt you are about to make will make their life significantly more interesting and will make them feel more appreciated.

In any case, if there are some threads that are still hanging on, you can cut them with the rotary cutter if there are any. Take care not to cut any more than those couple of threads at once so as not to muck up your otherwise nice and clean strip cut. There is a possibility that there is an entire layer that has not yet been cut. Again, use your rotary cutter to cut through that layer, and pay careful attention to maintaining a straight and clean cut as you work.

Is your Strip Straight – or does it have Weird Bends?

The one and only thing that is left to do is check whether or not the strip is actually straight. Unfold it once you have finished cutting it completely, and then hold it by one of the selvedge edges while letting the other selvedge edge fall toward the ground. Now take a look at it; is it aligned properly? Or does it take some strange twists and turns?

If there are any strange bends, you will need to refold the fabric, pull it into a straighter position, and cut a thin slice off the end in order to obtain a straight cut. After that, cut another strip of paper. After you have removed the raw edge, it is sometimes a good idea to cut a strip that is 1 inch wide to use as a guide to determine whether or not the remaining strips will be straight.

When you cut your squares, triangles, or any other shape you cut from the strip, your patches will end up misshapen as a result of the weird bends, and your quilt will suffer as a result.

I can assure you that the time spent ensuring that the edges of your patches are straight will be well worth it when it comes time to sew the top of your quilt together. In addition, it is in your best interest to set aside a small portion of the fabric in the “save it for later” pile in order to guarantee that your cuts will be straight.

Another justification for stocking up on additional fabric!

===> More Inspiration For Quilters, Click To Get Inspired! ===>

Recent Posts

error: Content is protected !!