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Thread: How accurate are you with cutting?

  1. #1

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    I agonize on measuring and cutting. It takes me forever to set the fabric up for cutting. Am I putting too much importance on this?

    I see the women on the shows just fly thru the whole cutting part. I understand it's probably just for the show...time limit and all. but I was wondering if people really cut that fast, or do others go like a snail like I do?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    I could take a lesson from you, I tend to cut too fast and I pay the price later. I cut out some strips last week and used them for a 9-patch baby quilt pattern, I thought I had cut them acturately but once I started piecing them together, I was in for a suprise for how off I was one one of my colors, it really threw the whole thing off! and I had to do some seam ripping and re-cutting (Grrrr!) I told myself then, that I was going to slow that part down abit and get my accuracy back. :oops: I think that it really depends on the individual, how often they cut, and if they learned good cutting skills in the beginning. I really have the most trouble when I need to cut a large piece, a piece thats bigger than my cutting board, I have a very hard time getting those accurate!

  3. #3

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    I guess I am like you moonhoney2..........I always worry if I don't cut the piece out correctly is there gong to be enough fabric left, blah blah, blah.

    I think the people on the shows spend lots of time before they go on air to make sure all their stuff is correct. Plus they have other steps in progress so they really don't have to worry about the out come of that one cut.

  4. #4

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    Oh, just because I go slow, doesn't mean I'm accurate! :lol: More often than not, I'm off. which was why I was wondering if I put too much effort into it. That, perhaps if I relaxed and cut faster that I'd get better cuts. Altho, I think it may just be a matter of practice to get to the point where the majority of my cuts are accurate, rather than the other way around. :oops:

  5. #5
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    For straight (90*) cuts, try one of the rulers with a lip on. It has increased my accuracy incredibly. There are a couple brands - I think mine is Olipfa. If the edge of your cutting board is straight, the ruler will be lined up as it should be.

  6. #6

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    How does everyone cut? My mom likes to be on the floor with a big mat, whereas I like to set and the table with my feet up. I handle the strips as little as possible. I saw on Sue H.'s quilting show that the more you handle fabric the less precise you can be, so it's better to use a little smaller mat and turn it, instead of the fabric.

    I cut strips first, one at a boring time, and set them neatly in a pile, then I take about 2 or 3 strips make sure they are lined up together and cut them into squares or rectangles that I might need. If I cut to many at a time, when I try to go "fast" they end up messed up and I stick them in my scrap box. :roll:

  7. #7
    Super Member blahel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonhoney2
    I agonize on measuring and cutting. It takes me forever to set the fabric up for cutting. Am I putting too much importance on this?

    I see the women on the shows just fly thru the whole cutting part. I understand it's probably just for the show...time limit and all. but I was wondering if people really cut that fast, or do others go like a snail like I do?
    And here i thought i was the only one..i agonize over it too and it takes me so long to get started, even now i have had fabric for a while but havent got the courage up but i am nearly there as Shelley Qs tutorial seems very doable and i might even have a go this morning...

  8. #8
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    I cut standing up at my sewing table (36" high) - I have no luck sitting down - except if I'm using scissors (buwhwhwhahahahaha)

    as for getting in the floor - fugedaboutit.... not gonna happen 8)

    I also use the ruler with the 'lip' and I take time to make sure the sides are lined up.... no 'elbows' for me... that happened to me once about 10 years ago and I've been really careful about that ever since....

    But I'm not fanatical about it.... I think my quilts turn out..... :wink:

  9. #9
    Super Member zyxquilts's Avatar
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    I usually cut sitting down too. I fold my fabric from selvedge to selvedge, then take the fold up to the selvedge too. I straighten the edge on the right side, then flip it so that edge is on the left & the bulk of my fabric is now on the right side (I'm right-handed). I use the side of my mat without the lines mostly, and only use the lines on my ruler to measure. I'll cut 3 or 4 strips, then check to make sure my edge is still square & cut more.
    If I have a lot of strips to cut, at say 2.5", I'll use one of my big rulers, start as I say above, but I'll line up my ruler at a muliple of 2.5" - like 10", then start there, then move the ruler to 7.5", 5", 2.5" - that way I've made 4 strips, but haven't had to move the fabric at all! :D
    I don't usually have a problem with dog-legs that way either. :mrgreen:

  10. #10
    Super Member SaraSewing's Avatar
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    I think that cutting is like that ominous 1/4" seam. Just a few little threads off makes a huge difference. Speed/slowness isn't a matter, but I truly believe that to make a well fitting pieced product it needs to be as totally accurate as possible. I try to eye-ball the accuracy with every whack. I also think that a dull rotary blade makes me push harder and contorts things out of shape more.

  11. #11
    Super Member Barb M's Avatar
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    Well, i always iron my fabric before cutting, because, after sewing it will get ironed, and i would not want the ironing to stretch the fabric a bit, so i iron it first, then i lay down 4 layers of fabric on my cutting mat. I smooth out each layer with my hands, so each layer is nice and tight. I cut at the kitchen table, standing above the mat, so i can press down on my ruler and cutter. I will take 4 large pieces of fabric, about 11"x20", and i cut 2 1/2" strips, beginning on the right of the fabric, and moving to the left. I always use my mat lines for measuring, my mat lines are very accurate. I don't move the stack of fabric at allo. I cut all my lines in one direction, then if my strips need any cuts in the other direction, i just give the mat a quick spin , and carry on cutting.

  12. #12
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I believe too that accurate cutting is as important as an accurate 1/4" seam. Being a thread or two off on each piece can add up in a hurry and end up being a 1/2" or more off when all is said and done. I too use a ruler with a lip and do not have near as many slip ups. I also noticed when I was first using a ruler and rotary cutter that I was not lining up my ruler the same each time. The black line on the ruler needs to be on the edge of your fabric in the same place each time or each cut will be a few threads off. ShellyQ brought that up in her tutorial and showed what I had been doing wrong.

  13. #13
    DreamXer's Avatar
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    When I cut, I go slowly too. I use a 1/4" seam foot to help with sewing. When I'm finished a block, it never seems to be the size it's supposed to be... about a 1/4" off. I don't know what I've done wrong.

    Oh, how do you stop a ruler from slipping? I think that might help with more accurate cutting for me.

  14. #14
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamXer
    When I cut, I go slowly too. I use a 1/4" seam foot to help with sewing. When I'm finished a block, it never seems to be the size it's supposed to be... about a 1/4" off. I don't know what I've done wrong.

    Oh, how do you stop a ruler from slipping? I think that might help with more accurate cutting for me.
    They make rulers with a lip on them that hook on the edge of your cutting mat which helps keep the ruler from slipping :D

  15. #15
    Super Member Barb M's Avatar
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    Amma said: "The black line on the ruler needs to be on the edge of your fabric in the same place each time or each cut will be a few threads off."

    That's what i found when i first started cutting fabric, i had a ruler with lines on it, and matching the line to the fabric was number 1 hard, and number 2, too innacurate, that's why i switched to matching the lines on the mat, and not moving the fabric, there is no distortion in the size of your cutting strips then

  16. #16
    Super Member Barb M's Avatar
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    Oooh, how does t6hat work Amma? If the ruler with the lip hooks onto the side of your mat, how do you move your ruler over for each cut?

  17. #17
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barb M
    Oooh, how does t6hat work Amma? If the ruler with the lip hooks onto the side of your mat, how do you move your ruler over for each cut?
    You move it the same as a regular ruler. I move it over where I want it and them slide it slightly up so that the lip catches on the edge of the mat. You can then hold it with one hand and not have to worry about it slipping around on you.

  18. #18
    Super Member Barb M's Avatar
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    oooooh, ok, thank you, i was having a dah moment trying to figure that out, thanks you Amma :) I sure like that everyone here can explain things :)

  19. #19
    DreamXer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    They make rulers with a lip on them that hook on the edge of your cutting mat which helps keep the ruler from slipping :D
    Thanks Amma! Will look for one now. I just saw your message from 23:40 - about just a a few threads making a difference in the long run. :shock: That's what I'm doing wrong then... :(

  20. #20
    Super Member ScubaK's Avatar
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    I use an Altos Quick Cut or Accu cut mat...
    It is wonderful..
    I use the lines on the mat as well, everytime
    Kirsten

  21. #21

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    They make rulers with lips on them? I wish I knew that 2 days ago. I just bought a 24" one and a set of squares. :( I could really use that lip.

    I put my mat on the floor to cut. This way I can put my whole body into holding the ruler and fabric down. Even then, it moves sometimes. *sigh* I do need to get a bigger mat tho. Mine is only 12x18. I looked at the larger ones. $50 :shock: I'm waiting for a coupon for that baby.

    Who is this Shelly Q and where is her tutorial?

    How do you keep the fabric from moving underneath the ruler?

  22. #22
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonhoney2
    They make rulers with lips on them? I wish I knew that 2 days ago. I just bought a 24" one and a set of squares. :( I could really use that lip.

    I put my mat on the floor to cut. This way I can put my whole body into holding the ruler and fabric down. Even then, it moves sometimes. *sigh* I do need to get a bigger mat tho. Mine is only 12x18. I looked at the larger ones. $50 :shock: I'm waiting for a coupon for that baby.

    Who is this Shelly Q and where is her tutorial?

    How do you keep the fabric from moving underneath the ruler?
    Here is ShellyQ's first tutorial and the second one too :D She is a member of our board who has graciously put together a beginners tutorial for usbeginners. She has quite a few tips and tricks throughout them :D :wink:

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/posts/list/6460.page

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/posts/list/7358.page

    If you look around this site there are other tutorials on various subjects that are very helpful also :D

    I don't know about the fabric slipping, I only had trouble with the ruler slipping. Maybe someone else will post something to help you with this

  23. #23
    Junior Member GMarie's Avatar
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    And here i thought i was the only one..i agonize over it too and it takes me so long to get started, even now i have had fabric for a while but havent got the courage up but i am nearly there as Shelley Qs tutorial seems very doable and i might even have a go this morning...[/quote]

    I tend to take more time cutting as well. However, without sewing a scant 1/4" I still end up off on most (if not all) of the blocks I've done so far. Then it's a pain in the you-know-what to pin and pull to get the blocks to line up correctly. I too like Shelley Qs tutorial on cutting - I am hoping that by using her tips I can avoid the hassles I have delt with so far.

  24. #24
    Junior Member GMarie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janeen
    I cut standing up at my sewing table (36" high) - I have no luck sitting down - except if I'm using scissors (buwhwhwhahahahaha)

    as for getting in the floor - fugedaboutit.... not gonna happen 8)

    I also use the ruler with the 'lip' and I take time to make sure the sides are lined up.... no 'elbows' for me... that happened to me once about 10 years ago and I've been really careful about that ever since....

    But I'm not fanatical about it.... I think my quilts turn out..... :wink:
    Elbows?

  25. #25
    Junior Member GMarie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zyxquilts
    I usually cut sitting down too. I fold my fabric from selvedge to selvedge, then take the fold up to the selvedge too. I straighten the edge on the right side, then flip it so that edge is on the left & the bulk of my fabric is now on the right side (I'm right-handed). I use the side of my mat without the lines mostly, and only use the lines on my ruler to measure. I'll cut 3 or 4 strips, then check to make sure my edge is still square & cut more.
    If I have a lot of strips to cut, at say 2.5", I'll use one of my big rulers, start as I say above, but I'll line up my ruler at a muliple of 2.5" - like 10", then start there, then move the ruler to 7.5", 5", 2.5" - that way I've made 4 strips, but haven't had to move the fabric at all! :D
    I don't usually have a problem with dog-legs that way either. :mrgreen:
    That is my method too - you explained it much better than I could have though!

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