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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!

http://www.guidelines4quilting.com/GripStrips.html

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.

Jane Quilter 04-05-2017 04:11 PM

And cutting dies are repetitively accurate if you are cutting a lot of one shape. See https://www.accuquilt.com/

NJ Quilter 04-05-2017 04:53 PM

You've gotten excellent suggestions from everyone so far. I'll be so bold as to do a quick re-cap in no particular order.

-Put your index finger on the top edge of your cutter
-Use at least a small piece of painter's tape on whichever side of the line on your ruler you decide is where you want to cut. (I've advocated this for a long time and only recently started practicing what I preach - way too easy to have not done so sooner).
-Use your ruler to measure vs your mat. If you are having to make cuts larger than your ruler width, I'd do a slightly larger cut and trim up my unit/block as needed. You can butt 2 rulers together but I personally have not had much luck with this method.
-Keep one finger off the ruler onto the fabric to help hold the ruler steady. 'Walk' your hand up the ruler as you cut, keeping that pinkie finger on the fabric and the rest of the fingers on the ruler the whole time (sounds harder than it is).
-Use the same brand ruler throughout your project. If you need to re-purchase rulers along the way to accomplish this, it's well worth the expense - but use a coupon!
-Check your table height. There are lots of 'erognomic' sites out there to give you hints as to how to measure the best table height compared to your height. If you are stretching a lot to make cuts, likely the table is too high for your body height.
-I'd also recommend getting some of the clear rubber sticky dots to place on the 4 corners of all of your rulers. It helps grip the fabric and reduces chances of slippage.
-Slow down and take your time. Take a deep breath, relax!

QuiltingVagabond 04-05-2017 04:56 PM

A tip from Bonnie Hunter that helped me a lot is to place your ruler on the fabric so that the measuring line is on the fabric not next to it. Those couple extra threads in the cut piece can make a big difference in getting the correct unit size.

stilllearning 04-05-2017 04:59 PM

If possible, don't cut through too many layers. My cuts are more accurate when I don't cut through more than 4 layers, preferably only 2 layers. I'm waiting until I master the accuracy aspect before I worry about being more efficient or fast. If all the layers aren't folded perfectly, the folded areas will come out wonky. Measuring with the ruler instead of the mat seems to work better for me. Also, I've had better cutting results when I starch the fabric during ironing, especially since I pre-wash.

QuiltnLady1 04-05-2017 05:25 PM

When I was learning to use a rotary cutter and ruler, I watched someone on Simply quilts who used two rulers. One ruler measured the width that was needed and a second ruler was then butted up against it and the second ruler was the one you cut against. I use the ruler on the right to measure and the ruler on the left to cut -- I actually lay my forearm on the cutting ruler because I have hand and wrist problems and can't hold the ruler with my hand. It works well, but DH got me the Accuquilt Go Big for Christmas and it is a dream for the dies I have -- I just have to make sure the pieces are big enough to cover the blades (they don't need to be straight) and the pieces come out perfect every time. For the Go, I do still starch.

Tartan 04-05-2017 05:53 PM

​Use the lines on the ruler. Have the line on the fabric when cutting next to it. Use the same brand of ruler throughout your cutting.

awf60 04-05-2017 10:31 PM

Thanks everyone for the wonderful advice!

Battle Axe 04-06-2017 02:36 AM

To keep my ruler from slipping, I am applying some Elmer's cement glue to the back and letting that dry overnight. It's just a little tacky, just enough.

The Creative Grid rulers have etched spot on their backs and don't slip as much.

Don't cut with a person who is hard of hearing and wants you to look at them when you say something. I looked up from my cutting and sliced off the edge of my left index finger. What a mess!

The person was so rattled that she could not help me. We finally found a doctor and he said I had not cut enough off, not enough to sew back on. Took forever to heal but I did miss the nail.
Marcia

railroad 04-06-2017 05:08 AM

This has helped me, too.

feline fanatic 04-06-2017 05:09 AM

One thing I have not seen mentioned and a common problem is make sure your fabric is folded straight. You will know it is not when your cut strips come out with a dog leg (V notch) in them on the fold lines. Rarely is fabric cut straight off the bolt, heck rarely is it even loaded on the bolt straight from the factory. So when you line up your selvages you may have to offset the cut edge as much as in inch (sometimes even more!) to get the fabric straight.

Here is a good youtube by Leah Day
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkHLWTQSy1M

Dina 04-06-2017 05:16 AM

I used to have a great bit of trouble cutting until I started using the June Taylor Cut Shape ruler. It is a slotted ruler, and you just put the rotary cutter in the slot and follow the opening. It has saved me. I don't cut anything without this ruler. The first time I used it was a bit scary, as I just barely understood the instructions on how to fold the fabric to get what I wanted, but I got used it very quickly.

You might google it and see what you think. This ruler is really the only one I use for cutting out quilt pieces.

Dina

farmquilter 04-06-2017 05:25 AM

I got great information for a non slipping ruler from tessagin. Buy a $1 roll of shelf liner and cut it in different widths to place on the fabric under your ruler---NO slipping at all. I place the liner close to the cut edge of the fabric and be out of the way, then cut.
I have some homemade plexiglass squares that I will attach the liner with double stick tape.

Thank you tessagin for the helpful solution.
Jan

railroad 04-06-2017 05:34 AM


Originally Posted by railroad (Post 7799173)
This has helped me, too.

I mean, the Bonnie Hunter tip about having your ruler on the fabric, not next to it.

AZ Jane 04-06-2017 05:52 AM

I can not recommend any higher than the Slide Lock ruler. http://www.quiltersslidelock.com/ It may be pricey at $50-ish (may have to save up) but it made a world of difference to my cutting, also, no little fingers holding the ruler to slice off (all fingers are on top).

juliea9967 04-06-2017 06:28 AM

I don't think I could quilt any more if I didn't have my GO Cutter. I just cut out 84 1 1/2" strips in a little less than 20 minutes, and I love how all the pieces fit so nicely together. You have to be careful when you cut with your GO, but not anymore careful than when you cut with your rotary cutter, and the cuts are always perfect.

simpsonfs 04-06-2017 06:43 AM


Originally Posted by awf60 (Post 7799083)
Thanks everyone for the wonderful advice!

If you live near a quilt shop or guild, see if you can't get into a rotary cutting class. I really learned a lot from that kind of class. It is worth the money.

JanieH 04-06-2017 10:19 AM

Such good information - I have problems also and these suggestions are ones I will pay attention to in the future.

awf60 04-06-2017 03:33 PM


Originally Posted by Battle Axe (Post 7799103)
To keep my ruler from slipping, I am applying some Elmer's cement glue to the back and letting that dry overnight. It's just a little tacky, just enough.

The Creative Grid rulers have etched spot on their backs and don't slip as much.

Don't cut with a person who is hard of hearing and wants you to look at them when you say something. I looked up from my cutting and sliced off the edge of my left index finger. What a mess!

The person was so rattled that she could not help me. We finally found a doctor and he said I had not cut enough off, not enough to sew back on. Took forever to heal but I did miss the nail.
Marcia

Ouch! That hurts!

lots2do 04-06-2017 04:53 PM


Originally Posted by Jennifer23 (Post 7798781)
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.

These are all excellent tips. I would add: cut slowly, creeping your hand up not doing a fast swoop even though you will see plenty of people cutting that way. Also, after a few cuts, recut your edge because slowly your ruler will tend to shift.
Good luck!

lots2do 04-06-2017 04:58 PM

I also try to do my cutting early in the day at home when I can relax and take my time. Cutting at a class or a retreat has been a complete disaster for me.

AVFD215 04-06-2017 05:03 PM

Unlike most quilters, I normally use the mat to measure. Never use both for measuring. Only one or the other.
The keys for me are holding the blade vertical, a firm hand on the ruler, and the carpenters saying "Measure Twice, Cute Once". And trust that you will get better.
Happy quilting.

IrishgalfromNJ 04-07-2017 01:58 AM


Originally Posted by stilllearning (Post 7798951)
If possible, don't cut through too many layers. My cuts are more accurate when I don't cut through more than 4 layers, preferably only 2 layers. I'm waiting until I master the accuracy aspect before I worry about being more efficient or fast. If all the layers aren't folded perfectly, the folded areas will come out wonky. Measuring with the ruler instead of the mat seems to work better for me. Also, I've had better cutting results when I starch the fabric during ironing, especially since I pre-wash.

I love the layer suggestion. I try to cut through only 2 layers at a time, I'm not perfect, but I think it helps and if I mess it up, I haven't ruined too much fabric.

bneuen 04-07-2017 04:30 AM


Originally Posted by Boston1954 (Post 7798810)
The lady at Missouri Star suggested putting painters tape on the ruler. It helps you remember where you were cutting.

I am making the Grand Adventure quilt and the cutting measurement is an in between measurement- 2 3/8". She recommended using the painters tape. I've heard that before but never used that on my rulers. LOVE it with this particular pattern. Takes a lot of pressure off each time you cut. ;-)

Beachbaby12 04-07-2017 04:43 AM

I understand about the cutting process because I'm not very experienced with it at all - but I did find with practice it does get better - at least I noticed some improvement for myself. Also, the idea of the clear rubber sticky dots, sounds good, however, you can also use round sticky dots that look like they have sand paper finish - it helps the ruler from slipping. Don't hesitate to use quite a few on your ruler :)

Beachbaby12 04-07-2017 04:44 AM

I've used the mat for measuring too like AVFD215

tessagin 04-07-2017 05:12 AM

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL-...aKLiwWWbFr19Fw

tessagin 04-07-2017 05:13 AM

Nancy Roelfsema has good tips also.[QUOTE=tessagin;7799867][url]https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL

gramma nancy 04-07-2017 01:45 PM

If your ruler moves when you are using it, try applying a clear nonslip sheet to the back. For me, it has made a major difference. It doesn't entirely eliminate slippage, but it reduces it. Not sure of the brand name, but your LQS should have it. It's transparent, inexpensive and one roll covers several rulers.

moonwork42029 04-07-2017 01:53 PM

y'all might think it's silly, but I put a large can of peaches on the far end of my ruler so it doesn't slide. I can't hold the entire ruler at once (even for 15" or so), so I found the extra weight on the end helps. By the way, you can use other fruits .... it doesn't have to be just peaches :).


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