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Thread: Accurate rotary cutting on cutting mats.. can you help me?

  1. #1
    Senior Member sewhappy30's Avatar
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    My question... When cutting on my mat, the line's are thicker than my rotary blade of course, so after I have everything lined up do I put my ruler on the line or on one of the sides of the line to get the accurate measurement I need.

    I find myself doing different each time, that's why my measurements are off I'm sure.

    I know this is probably not clear what I'm trying to ask, but if someone understands and knows which way is accurate please tell me.

    For example: If I need to cut it 15", which way would be the most accurate to get that? On the 15" line or on the side of the line, and if on the side, which side right or left?

    This is something I've struggled with for a long time. If I knew the right way to do it, it would make my sewing life so much easier. Help!

  2. #2
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    EVERYONE will tell you, "do not use the lines on your mat for measuring" they are good for keeping your fabric straight but use the same ruler to do your measuring.

  3. #3
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    I know exactly what you are saying. I have struggled with the same problem every time I cut. I am anxiously awaiting the answer. Thanks for asking.

  4. #4
    crawford1219's Avatar
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    I think any of those ways would be ok as long as you are consistent each time you made a cut. For example, always lining each piece up to the left side of the line-that way all the pieces are from the same spot and should be more accurate.

  5. #5
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    Are you saying that you line your fabric up with the lines on the mat? I don't use the lines on my mat, I always use the lines on my rulers.

  6. #6
    Senior Member kapatt's Avatar
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    There are a couple of things that can make a difference in your cutting. I've found that using rulers from different manufacturers can cause problems. If you have rulers from different manufacturers, check them out to see if their lines line up with each other. Also, mats are not always equal in distance between lines when compared with rulers. I only use the lines on the mats to make sure that my material is sitting straight on the mat. I always use my ruler for measuring. How you hold your rotary cutter can make a difference. My quilting buddy tilts her blade in towards the ruler. I have my blade up next to the ruler (not tilted). That can make a difference. (Consequently, we don't cut strips for each other because of how we hold our cutter.)

    The thickness of your needle and the thickness of your thread can make a difference when you press your seams one way or another. Make sure you are consistent with which machine you use and what thread you use.

    You asked about where to put the ruler on the material...on the line or to one side...I honestly think it doesn't make any difference as long as you do it the same way each time you cut. I tend to put it right in the middle of the line but they may just be me.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Bobbin along's Avatar
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    I turn my mat to the blank side, then square up the edge i plan to cut from. I take a ruler and lay it somewhere near where i think I will be making the cut, Then i take a smaller ruler, lay it perpendicular to the other ruler on the fabric, and measure over from the cut edge to the bigger ruler to get the exact measurement. check the measurements up and down the edge ("measure twice, cut once") and cut along the big ruller. Don't know if that makes sense or not, but it is a lot more accurate than using the line on the mat. Good luck!

  8. #8
    Senior Member kapatt's Avatar
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    I just wanted to add that when you sew on your quilt, you should first do a test-strip to make sure that your settings on your sewing machine, your cutting and your pressing are accurate. To do that, you should cut two or three pieces of strips equal width, sew them together and then press them. See if the test strips come out at the right width. If they don't, then make the adjustments you need to make so that they are accurate.

    Example...take three 2" strips and sew them side-by-side. After ironing they should measure out to 5 1/2 inches wide.

    Because of all of life's happenings, it can take me forever to finish a quilt. I make periodic test-strips throughout my quilt making process just because the settings can be messed with or changed without me realizing it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapatt
    I just wanted to add that when you sew on your quilt, you should first do a test-strip to make sure that your settings on your sewing machine, your cutting and your pressing are accurate. To do that, you should cut two or three pieces of strips equal width, sew them together and then press them. See if the test strips come out at the right width. If they don't, then make the adjustments you need to make so that they are accurate.

    Example...take three 2" strips and sew them side-by-side. After ironing they should measure out to 5 1/2 inches wide.

    Because of all of life's happenings, it can take me forever to finish a quilt. I make periodic test-strips throughout my quilt making process just because the settings can be messed with or changed without me realizing it.
    I think one would be aiming for a five inch wide piece, not a 5.5 inch piece.

  10. #10
    Moderator Up North's Avatar
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    With 3 2 inch strips sew together you will get 5.5 until! you sew it to the next two pieces. It is 5 inch finished but will measure 5.5. Clearer? You start with 6 inches sew 2 1/4 inc seams so loose a half inch.

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