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awf60 04-05-2017 10:33 AM

I need to improve my cutting!
Does anyone have any good suggestions, tutorials or tips on improving cutting? I don't know why, but my cuts seems to always be off. Do you use your ruler or your mat? I would like to graduate from using precuts only to cutting my own pieces but so far have been disappointed with the results......Any help would be appreciated!

MadQuilter 04-05-2017 10:38 AM

I always use the ruler which is mostly the Olfa with the yellow and black lines. You need to pay close attention where the ruler is lined up on the edge of the fabric. Then make sure you have a good grip on the ruler so it doesn't slide while you cut. When using the rotary cutter, make sure it is properly aligned to the edge of the ruler. I have seen people angle their cutter and that gets the cut skewed.

Check out Debbie Caffrey's method too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bkJKQwq4FI

Eva Knight 04-05-2017 10:43 AM

When cutting, it helps me to have my pinky finger on the cloth while the other fingers or on the ruler. Somehow it keeps the ruler from moving.

SuziSew 04-05-2017 10:45 AM

I was taught to use the ruler to measure, that being said, on large sections I do sometimes use the mat. One thing I have learned is to line up your straight edge on the line, not over not short. My cuts have been more precise since changing to this method (used cut over) Also different rulers may measure differently. No mater which one(s) you use, try to use the same brands for each project. I've had the best luck with either Creative Grids or Quilters Select. Good luck!

Pudge 04-05-2017 11:12 AM

My cutting skills improved drastically when I changed the height of my cutting table; it was too high. You might want to check your table height.

nativetexan 04-05-2017 11:23 AM

I"m five foot seven and a table at 35 to 37 inches in height works well to cut on. that may be one reason. Lately I have noticed I was getting slack on using my rotary cutter when trimming the fabric at the top of my small ruler. I tended to curve out away from the ruler a bit. bad to do! So now i concentrate when cutting at that angle.

Jennifer23 04-05-2017 12:01 PM

Things I look for when people are having cutting problems:

- Extend your index finger along the front of the rotary cutter, instead of wrapping it around the handle with the rest of your fingers. This helps prevent wobbling, and makes it easier to follow the ruler edge.

- Only cut next to the hand holding the ruler. Line up your ruler, then press it down with your fingertips near the bottom, where you will start your cut ("tent" your hand). If you have big enough hands, keeping your pinkie on the fabric can help. Cut to about the top of your fingers, then move your thumb up to where your fingers had been, and move your fingers further up. Cut to your fingertips again, re-position your hand again. I usually re-position my ruler-holding hand twice when I'm cutting fabric folded once (~22" wide).

- I cut using the lines on my ruler. I know that they are slightly different than the lines on my mat. Do whichever you like, but be consistent. Triple-check that both ends of the ruler are lined up properly before cutting.

- Make sure your table is the right height for you. This will be about the same height as your ironing board. I can't cut at my kitchen table; it's too low when I'm standing, and too high when I'm sitting. I got an adjustable-height table, and it has both improved my cutting and made my back and shoulders hurt a lot less.

- Make sure your blade is sharp!! You have to push harder with a dull blade, and that makes it more likely you will veer away from the ruler, or push the ruler out of alignment.

Boston1954 04-05-2017 12:57 PM

The lady at Missouri Star suggested putting painters tape on the ruler. It helps you remember where you were cutting.

patski 04-05-2017 01:38 PM

always use a sharp blade in your cutter, if you have small hands use only the 3" wide ruler if possible. I use the grid on a mat but only if I check it for accuracy first. Also go to harbor freight and for $2 or $3 you can get a "window" grip that will hold your ruler better. Good luck. It takes practice

joe'smom 04-05-2017 02:12 PM

Get some of these!


Use your ruler, not the lines on your mat. When you place the ruler on your fabric, make sure the black line is all on the fabric, not off the edge.

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