Before You Start Cutting

Before you start cutting, please watch Power Cutting (Ep. 101) – YouTube.  This is one of the best explanations and demonstrations on how to cut accurate strips I have seen.  Follow the advice and you will be cutting accurate strips like a pro.  Accuracy in cutting and sewing a consistent scant 1/4″ seam is the secret to quilts that fit together just like designed!

Check twice that your ruler is lining up the bottom and the top fabric with markings on the ruler when the edge of the ruler is along the cut edge.  If those all line up, you have squared the fabric.

Additional Tips Before You Start Cutting:

Here are tips I hope you find will help you as you cut your fabric.

Tip #1

A ruler that extends two or more inches beyond the fabric can be responsible for slipping. Avoid this by placing fabric the same thickness as the fabric you are cutting, under the extended ruler. (photo below) This will give stability to the ruler and keep it from shifting. No more than one or two inches should extend off the fabric closest to you.

Tip #2

Follow the trick to keeping the ruler stable in Tip #1 plus add a weight on the ruler resting upon the fabric.

Using hand weights on the ruler I learned from Donna Jordan of Jordan Fabrics in Grants Pass, Oregon. I use three-pound hand weights (see photo below – does not show it on the fabric, but on the ruler) it has helped me cut accurately from start to finish, even on long cuts. Catch Donna in her quilt videos on Jordan Fabrics.

Tip #3

Do not leave your cutting mat in a hot car and avoid putting it in sunlight to avoid damage. You can repair the warping that results from the hot car and the sunlight exposure. The repair suggestion I would try is covering the warped areas with a pressing cloth and heating the mat with an iron or hot hairdryer, followed by placing heavy objects on the area to reinforce the flattening. It may require redoing if the first press and reinforcement didn’t do it, but it’s worth a try.

Tip #4

Rotary cutter blades should be sharp.  Dull blades can: pull fabric askew when you are cutting; damage a cutting mat due to excess pressure to make a cut; and cause more injuries than sharp blades do. To temporarily sharpen a dull blade, cut through a stack of aluminum foil several times which will sharpen it for a few cuts.  Running over pins will pit the blade, so avoid pins.

Photo: Place fabric under the ruler to raise the ruler to the height of the fabric being cut. Before you start cutting, the hand weight is placed on the ruler resting on the fabric to keep it from sliding, but not in this photo. For cutting, I would have placed the weight across the ruler on both fabric pieces. Both using a weight and raising the ruler with fabric to make it level will help to avoid a crooked cut.

Ready to cut?

Well, are you ready to cut for your next project? Will it be the Sampler Quilt? If so, here is your direct link /finally-it-is-time-to-cut-2.