Education Sampler Sew-A-Long

Finally, it is Time to Cut


First, make sure your fabric has been pressed to remove any folds or wrinkles which may interfere in making accurate cuts. Want to add a bit of spray starch or sizing? Don’t go overboard, but it can help cutting accurately.

Preparing to cut includes labeling sandwich bags for the following measurements: 2 1/2″, 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″, 3″, 3 1/2″, 4″, 4 1/2″, 5″, 5 1/2″, 2 1/2″ x 5 1/2″.

My cutting instructions presume you will have a forty-two″ cutting width.  I use fabric efficiently, waste little, and will leave fabric for re-cutting mistakes and/or to use for the back of the quilt, binding, or building your stash!


Identify the fabric by number before beginning to cut. I usually put the number on scrap paper and pin it to the yardage. Some people list the numbers on a paper and glue a sample piece by the number for reference.

For this quilt we are using four fabrics. Identify them as: #1 medium dark; #2 dark; #3 light; and #4 medium light.


You will find the cutting directions are for all blocks and bagged by cut size rather than by block. To cut accurately, place your ruler edge on the fabric, not off by the width of the line on the ruler. It is so much easier to trim down than to pick out the seam and try it again to get the correct size.

I wrote a post about scant 1/4″ seams being the second accurate necessity to quilt top construction following accurate cutting. Learn more reading A Scant Quarter Inch Seam if you haven’t already.

Squaring up the fabric

Squaring up the fabric only takes a few minutes and is so important for accurate straight cuts. Your fabric should be ironed wrinkle free and folded lightly with the selvage edges even. Raise the fabric holding at the soft center fold as far apart as your arms can spread. Lift the fabric off the table. If the fold is not smooth and the selvages not even, while holding the fabric off the table move the layer of fabric closest to you right or left over the back fabric until you have a flat smooth fold and selvage edges even. Don’t concern yourself yet with what the cut edges are doing.

When you have successfully adjusted the fabric to hang smoothly vertically with edges even, place it on a flat surface maintaining the fold. Next, you want to bring the fold straight up to meet evenly with the selvages.

Making Your First Cut

If you are right-handed you will want to make the important first straight cut on the right hand cut edge. Place your ruler to the left on the fabric and line up the top and bottom edges of fabric with horizontal marks across the ruler. It is necessary for the top and bottom of your folded fabric to line up so you will be making a 90-degree cut on the right-hand edge of the fabric. Do not move your fabric. Either turn the cutting mat with the fabric resting on it so the cut straight edge is now on your left or position yourself on the opposite side of the cutting table. If you can’t do either of those moves, clips or pin the fabric close to the cut edge and then turn the fabric carefully 180-degrees.

You will follow these directions with all the fabrics before you begin cutting. By fabric #4, it will be less awkward.