The foundation of a good quilt top is the careful cutting of high-quality pieces. When you sew together your pieces of fabric, you may notice that they appear to be slightly skewed or stretched. This is most likely due to the fact that your cuts were not completely straight.
If you use a rotary cutting wheel, you can help avoid this issue by employing a reliable ruler and ensuring that you are employing it in the appropriate manner.
Before you make a cut, prepare your fabric. You will need to iron the fabric first if it has been folded and creased in any way, or if it has been wrinkled as a result of spending a significant amount of time in your stash. It is up to the individual to decide whether or not they will use starch. Making sure the fabric is completely flat will help ensure that the cuts are uniform.
Never attempt to use a rotary cutter without first laying down a mat. Some quilters make an attempt to construct their own mats by using a piece of scrap wood or an old countertop. It’s just not the same thing at all. To begin, neither of those mats can be considered to be “self healing.”
The majority of rotary mats that you come across will be labeled as being self healing. After you have cut through the fabric (and almost always through the mat itself a little), the nicks that were created won’t be a problem for the wheel blade when it comes time to make subsequent cuts.
If you were to use a piece of scrap wood or a countertop, each cut you made would effectively carve indentations into the material. Because of these ridges, a rotary wheel will jump and skip as it rotates, which will also wear down the blade.
Make sure that your mat is lying completely flat. It must be placed on a level surface that is strong enough to withstand the pressure that will be applied to it while you are cutting. Working on a table that is not stable will prevent you from producing good fabric cuts, regardless of how good your mat and wheel are.
When it comes to cutting good pieces for a quilt, it is important to know that not all rulers are created equal. This is something that should be kept in mind at all times. It’s not always true that one size fits all. If you are going to be cutting fabric strips, you might find that it is more convenient to use a ruler that is on the narrower side. During the cutting process, narrow rulers have a tendency to slip less.
You should always make sure to choose a ruler that is a little longer than the fabric you are cutting, regardless of the size of the ruler you choose to use. When you cut the fabric, it is easier to stabilize it if the ruler extends over both ends of the piece.
Which type of ruler best fits your needs? If you are just starting out with quilting, you might not want to rush out and buy every size ruler that is currently on the market. Pick out your first quilting project, and then go out and purchase a ruler that is suited to the requirements of that project. If you continue to quilt more, you will most likely add more rulers to the collection you already have.
When you are getting ready to cut fabric strips, you will need to start with a piece of fabric that has a straight edge. Position the ruler so that it is directly on top of the fabric. You can use the grids on the mat to assist you in positioning the ruler so that it is straight both at the top and the bottom.
Use the ring finger on your left hand to prevent the ruler from moving around while it is being held on the fabric. This finger needs to be positioned so that it rests not only on the fabric but also on the edge of the ruler. If you only hold the ruler in your hand, you run the risk of it sliding out of your grasp. Your cut will be ruined if the ruler makes even the slightest movement.
After you have ensured that the fabric is properly aligned for a straight cut and that the ruler is firmly in place, you are ready to begin cutting through the fabric. Maintaining a sharp blade on your cutter makes things like this much simpler to do. Change your blade often.
However, you are not required to throw away the blades after you have changed them. You should save the “old” blades that are just a touch too dull for fabric and put them to use in a different cutter that handles paper. They are wonderful tools for scrapbookers, and you can even use them to cut quilt patterns out of paper or cardstock with them!
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