Tips and Tricks for Efficient Fabric Cutting

Last week I was discussing ruler slippage and rotary cutting difficulties with a fellow quilter. While using various adhesive, non-slip grips on the back of our rulers helps (or buying non-slip rulers such as Olfa Frosted Advantage – my favorite) the biggest help is to cut as many strips as possible without moving your fabric.
The trick is pretty simple. Need to cut a bunch of 2” strips from a yard of fabric? Put away the 6” x 24” ruler we all typically use and get out the 20” or 20” plus big square rulers. I use a 20.5” or 15.5″ Creative Grids square ruler.
march2015Square up one side of your yardage selvage to selvage like you always do. Handling your fabric carefully, fold it again so you have a piece approximately 12” wide. Using the big square ruler, line up the 2” line of the cut side; use your rotary cutter to cut the strip. Carefully pick up your ruler and move it so the 4” line is now at that original cut edge, rotary cut your strip and move ruler to the 6” line…..etc. Working across in this manner enables you to cut strips without moving your fabric until you have used all your ruler then you can carefully pull the remaining fabric to the side and start over.

My other favorite tool is a metal straight edge from the hardware store, basically a Sheetrock straight edge that is 48” long. Because I am frequently cutting lengthwise grain strips I am folding long pieces of fabric and using the metal ruler to cut against. In the following picture I have my big square ruler to the right at the width I want, put the long metal ruler to the left, and carefully move the ruler out of the way, cut and continue in this fashion. The metal ruler is heavy enough that it doesn’t slip.

tipsmarch20153tipsmarch20154 Along the same lines, this is how I cut big triangles. After the first cut I can move the first cut piece slightly to the left, move the ruler over and cut two more triangles.  In this case I am actually cutting thru 4 layers of fabric so I don’t want to move the main piece.

tipsmarch20155 tipsmarch20156Cutting across those big setting triangle squares without slipping.

tipsmarch20151Also handy is the Omnigrid 36” ruler. I don’t use it for cutting long strips because it is so lightweight it moves all over the place (which I didn’t think about years ago when I purchased it) but it is a zero centering ruler which is great for marking block centers.

tipsmarch20152Hope you find some of this may help you to keep your fabric strips straight.  The larger rulers also make it easier to cut thru several layers without shifting.

Quilt on!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s