Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Rotary cutting 101

Folding the fabric; the key to cutting straight strips
After washing and ironing your fabric, fold it selvage to selvage. The selvages should be parallel, but you might have to adjust the selvage closest to you to the right or the left. The fold should be straight with no puckers or dragging. Just keep adjusting a little bit at the time until the fold looks neat and the selvages are parallel.
The cut edges will often not align as fabrics are not always rolled straight on the bolt.

However, if you only have a 10-12” piece of fabric, fold the other way (the cut edges towards each other) otherwise you’ll waist too much fabric.



When you are happy with the 1st fold, fold it again, selvages towards the 1st fold.
The selvages and 1st fold should be parallel, but as fabric edges are not always perfect, so test it this way:

Place the folded fabric on the table with the selvage/1st fold edge closest to you.

Position a ruler perpendicular on the double folded edge using the grid as a guide.


Using the grid, check that the other edge also is straight.


If not, adjust the last fold by shifting the top layers a bit to the right or the left until the two edges are parallel.

Do the same test as you are cutting strips, and adjust the double fold when needed.


Cutting stripsI cut my fabric with the double folded edge closest to me. This way the fabric will only be crooked one place if the layers shift. These direction are for right handed, do the opposite if you are left handed.

First: clean up the edge
Position a ruler perpendicular on the double fold on the right hand side, using the grid as a guide. Make sure that the whole edge is outisde the ruler.


Hold the ruler steady, and cut the edge off.


If your ruler is too short
Cut as far as you can, then slide the ruler along the cut edge, and continue cutting.

Position the corner of your ruler on the corner of your fabric to check that the angle is 90 degrees; if not, make another cut.


Second: start cutting strips
Turn the cutting mat with your fabric on top the other way, so that the cut edge is on your left.

Depending on how wide your strips shall be (I use 2” here); position the ruler perpendicular on the double fold and with the 2” mark on the cut edge. Make sure it lines up the whole length of the ruler.


Hold the ruler steady, and cut.

If your ruler is not wide enoughUse two rulers side by side. Example: I have two rulers width 6” and 8 1/2” and need an 14” strip.
Position the shortest ruler on the 1/2” mark
then the longest ruler to the right, and cut. I always count the total inches first to make sure I have got it right.


And if your ruler is not long enough
Cut as far as you can. Keeping the left ruler still, slide the right ruler up, and cut the rest.


Unfold the strip to check that it’s straight; if not, adjust the folds again.

Keep cutting until you have the required number of strips. Use your ruler to check that the edges are straight and the angles 90 degrees.

If you need a lot of the same width strips, you can use a post-it note to mark which grid you are using.


Cutting squares or rectanglesPractice cutting using only one strip of fabric; unfold it once, so that you will cut 2 layers.
I position 3 strips on top of each other, so that I cut six layers at a time. My ruler can cut 8 layers, but I find that the layers will move a bit.

First: clean up the edges
You will start with the fold(s) to your left, and the selvages to your right.


Position a ruler perpendicular on the strip, using the grid as a guide.

Hold the ruler steady, and cut the edges off.

Second: start cutting pieces
Turn the strip(s) or the cutting mat the other way, so that the fold is to your right.

Depending on how wide your pieces shall be (I use 2” here); position the ruler perpendicular on the strip and with the 2” mark on the edge (the strip is straight, the photo not).



Hold the ruler steady, and cut.

Keep cutting until you have the required number of pieces. Use your ruler to check that the angles are 90 degrees as you go.


4 comments:

  1. Very nice and clear tutorial. I will refer a friend who is a novice quilter here, but I think we all can benefit from a refresher every now and then.

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  2. Got it Mrs. M. I am going to try to print this page out. I have discovered pre-cut squares at Walmart, but I have fabrics already that I want to use. Some sentimental. Thansk again.
    QMM

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  3. must of read my mind as i had put a rotary cutter on my christmas list, many thanks

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  4. This question may not apply here but I need advice on some flannel fabric that is a plaid with the stripes very off grain across the fabric but correct on selvedges. It was to be used on donation crib quilts.
    Is it acceptable to use this if I cut it with the grain and ignore the uneven the stripes

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