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Thread: Rotary cutting,....ugh....

  1. #1
    Senior Member stefanib123's Avatar
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    I am having problems! I've been practicing and practicing my rotary cutting and somehow its still "off".

    I've searched all the threads on here, follow all the tips and still when I put my blocks together, they still aren't exact.

    I put some sandpaper on the back of my rulers yesterday and that helped a lot with it slipping. I starch the crap out of everything. I'm really careful when cutting, and only cut one layer at a time.

    And I am STILL getting blocks that aren't right! They look fine on my mat but, when I go to put two together to sew them, they are different!

    What am I doing? Or not doing?

  2. #2
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    I don't know what to tell you without watching you do it but I know for me it's easier to cut 2-3 layers than one, do you have a good sharp blade? what size cutter are you using? what size pieces are you cutting?

  3. #3
    Power Poster MamaBear61's Avatar
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    One thing members here have said here is that different rullers measure differently. Are you using just one ruler for your cuts?

  4. #4
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    LOL maybe you starched out too much crap! ROFL
    jk

  5. #5
    Super Member Deb watkins's Avatar
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    If your blocks are not matching up, make sure that you are cutting them the exact size. 1/4 or 1/8 inch off make a huge difference as you go along. When I need to cut several pieces the same size, I cut a strip across the entire piece of fabric, (folding it selvege to selvege then once again - making 4 layers) then open the layes to make just two, and then cut my next blocks.

  6. #6
    Senior Member stefanib123's Avatar
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    Kathy, LOL! I really needed that, I'm having a crappy day, and feel like a big grouch.

    I mostly use one ruler, its a 4x18. I have a smaller one that I use for little cuts sometimes. And I have a bigger one that I never use.

    I use a 45mm Ofla, with a brand new blade in it.

    Also, I am squaring it up at the beginning.

    Maybe I'm not being as "careful" as I think?

  7. #7
    Moderator Up North's Avatar
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    It may not be your cutting, It may be your seams.

  8. #8
    Senior Member stefanib123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Up North
    It may not be your cutting, It may be your seams.
    Yeah, that's something I'm still working on, too. But, for example, I was cutting some 5.5 inch blocks, and making HST's with them. When I would take the two blocks and put them together to sew them, they would be off. They wouldn't be the same size to line up right, know what I mean? Before I even start sewing.

    When I cut with templates and scissors, they come out perfect.

    I use my Cricut a lot to cut squares,etc. But, I really want to learn how to rotary cut well.

  9. #9
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    When you figure it out, please let me know the secret, sigh.

    Like you, I take great care with my cutting - starch everything, use the same ruler etc. (used my June Tailor Shape Cut Too last time), and there are still differences.that Luckily, they are usually small enough that I can compensate when piecing, but it sure would be nice to be able to cut as precisely as the experts.

  10. #10
    quiltilicious's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stefanib123
    Quote Originally Posted by Up North
    It may not be your cutting, It may be your seams.
    Yeah, that's something I'm still working on, too. But, for example, I was cutting some 5.5 inch blocks, and making HST's with them. When I would take the two blocks and put them together to sew them, they would be off. They wouldn't be the same size to line up right, know what I mean? Before I even start sewing.

    When I cut with templates and scissors, they come out perfect.

    I use my Cricut a lot to cut squares,etc. But, I really want to learn how to rotary cut well.
    That sounds like a seam problem. When you make your HSTs, do you mark the 45-degree line? If that's off, even a little, it will mess up your resulting blocks.

    Once the line's been marked, make sure you do a proper 1/4 inch on BOTH sides - having a 1/4-in foot really helps with that.

    you may also want to try marking the seam line on your HSTs before you sew, and sew slowly amd make sure your needle hits the line.

  11. #11
    Power Poster cjomomma's Avatar
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    If your making HST's then take a look at Rhonda's tutorial on HST's. I never could get mine to line up until I started doing it the way she does and now I don't have a problem with them anymore.

  12. #12
    montanablu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stefanib123
    Kathy, LOL! I really needed that, I'm having a crappy day, and feel like a big grouch.

    I mostly use one ruler, its a 4x18. I have a smaller one that I use for little cuts sometimes. And I have a bigger one that I never use.

    I use a 45mm Ofla, with a brand new blade in it.

    Also, I am squaring it up at the beginning.

    Maybe I'm not being as "careful" as I think?
    Please don't take offense (but you can laugh if you want!) How's your vision?? I ask only because a DF has horrific cutting issues & she keeps changing her glassesRX --- then takes them off to cut & sew! She has a really bad time w/errors, both sewing & cutting, but doesn't see (pardon the pun;) the connection between her errors & her vision problems.

    Just a suggestion...
    please laugh, but don't throw your mouse at me!

  13. #13
    Aunt Retta's Avatar
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    Maybe part of your problem is that you are looking at the pieces from different angles. Be sure to cut all pieces from the same angle, same place on your cutting mat, you in the same place your rulers in the same place. In what direction do you try to cut? For me it is easier to cut at a 90 degree angle from me. I always goof if I try cutting parellel to my body.

    I hope something someone has said helps you. It is so frustrating to try and try and not get it. If these ideas don't help, ask more questions!

  14. #14
    Super Member nwm50's Avatar
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    I've noticed that sometimes I cut sideways a little and not straight up, which resulted in uneven sides, could that be the problem with you? When i say "sideways"...i mean i lean over the mat some with cutter...

  15. #15
    Senior Member OdessaQuilts's Avatar
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    I agree with Donna, I thought it could be your seams, but then I went back and re-read your original post. If I understand correctly, you are discovering problems when you put 2 pieces together to sew them, right? If that's where you're noticing the problem, there are fixes.

    First, are you holding your cutter so the blade is straight up and down? You do not want to "angle-in" toward your ruler, as this will give you an "off" cut. If one cut is angled and the next one straight, your block is going to be "off".

    Secondly, why are you only cutting one layer at a time? A 45mm blade can easily cut 4 layers without difficulty. If you've got your fabrics laid out nicely, you can certainly get accurate cuts easier (I believe) with more than 1 layer of fabric. (Please don't take this as a "snippy" comment, I'm just trying to understand...)

    When you cut, how are you holding the ruler? Many people put a lot of downward pressure on the ruler, which can actually move it during the cutting process. Obviously, you don't want that "shift" to happen, so use a lighter touch. Also, one of the things I hit upon when I first started rotary cutting is to keep the heel of my hand and my little finger just off the edge of the ruler. This gives me a little more security in "feeling" if the ruler is drifting.

    Don't apply too much pressure from the blade up against the ruler. This can also cause shifting of the ruler and therefore, a "wonky" cut piece.

    A sharp blade is very important.

    Also, if your pieces are off by a thread or two, it should be okay. Lay them together so they are as centered as they can be, and sew with a 1/4" seam just as you normally would. If you are seeing a thread or two of the underneath fabric, it's okay - just use that edge to line up on your machine/foot/line for your 1/4". If the two pieces are more than a couple threads off (like perhaps 1/8" or more), you should re-cut.

    Finally, if these tips don't help you, I'd recommend that you go to your LQS, if you have one nearby, and ask someone there for some help. I wouldn't recommend a big chain store, because sometimes they're just too busy. But a LQS is there to provide SERVICE TO THE CUSTOMER. They WANT you to be happy and successful, because that is what will keep you coming back and their doors open! Ask if you can bring in some fabrics and your tools and have someone watch you cut. They may be able to pick up on something that we can't necessarily "see" from this board and the help will be invaluable to you.

    I hope that this will help you to have a better cutting experience. Good luck and let us know how you make out!

    Odessa

  16. #16
    Senior Member grammatjr's Avatar
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    I, too, was having similar issues, then read "be sure to hold your rotary cutter handle straight up, so that you don't PUSH the fabric as you cut". I tired it, and it does seem to cause less slipping and a more true cut. Good luck.

  17. #17
    Senior Member stefanib123's Avatar
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    Odessa, you are not being a bit "snippy", this is exactly what I'm looking for! Everyone's responses are great and I'm sure will be big help!

    You are correct in saying its not really my sewing the seams right. My problem is when I go to put the pieces together to sew them, they aren't the same size.

    I'm going to carefully go over everything you guys have said, and see if I can't figure it out.

    Or maybe I should just give it up and use my Cricut, LOL!

  18. #18
    Senior Member stefanib123's Avatar
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    I have been holding my cutter at an angle! I was trying to get it as "close" to the ruler as I could, kwim?

    Hm...That may be the problem.

    The reason I am only cutting one layer is I'm afraid! LOL! I was thinking if I was messing up one layer, I didn't want to mess them all up! LOL!

  19. #19
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    I had a teacher tell me to make sure I don't use the lines on the cutting mat. That many times they are off.

    As someone else suggested it might be your seams. Did you measure them? She also told us that not all 1/4" feet are the same. you have to measure from your needle and put a piece of electrical tape on the machine throat where the true 1/4" is.

    Hope this helps

  20. #20
    Bottle Blonde's Avatar
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    Are you using the measuring lines on the cutting mat or the measurement lines on the ruler? or both?

    I had been using the lines on the mat for all cutting --- it was causing problems for me. Now I just use the measuring lines on the ruler and my cutting has improved.

  21. #21
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    Be sure to set the ruler on edge and squat down and make sure you don't see air between the ruler and the table. One of mine was giving me fits and I discovered it had a "whoo-hoo" in it (my husband's term for when wood has a curve). That will make a difference...also, your sewing makes an even bigger difference. Make sure ALL your seams, on both sides are 1/4".

    also - this may have been mentioned.....double check the measurements on the ruler with another ruler. My old HUGE cutting board (one of the originals) is off by 1/8" on one end...!!! Don't ask me how many years it took me to figure that one out!!!

  22. #22
    Member Donna - Batiks's Avatar
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    I hate cutting with rotary blade when it is a longer piece. I have a ruler I bought at Wal Mart for $30. You can not always find it there and the quilt shops say they won't sell it because there is no profit BUT! if you have trouble with wobbly/wonka cutting this ruler is great. The blade is ATTACHED to the ruler! You can't cut "off". It's also a 24 inch ruler so yeah! Large pieces! It's made by Fisker's. I would not trade it for the world!
    See if you can find one because I got it when I was a new quilter because the rotary really scared me and with this WOW! I have been quilting about 10 years and still go to it first.
    Also check your quarter inch on your foot for sewing. If you are squaring your blocks it's probably that!

  23. #23
    Super Member sewmuchmore's Avatar
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    Are you using the ruler to measure your fabric or the cutting mat. I found that if I use the ruler measurement it is more accurate. Ask me how I know that :?

  24. #24
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Someone sent me this in an email a few years ago when I was having problems with different size swap blocks. It should help you with your cut shapes, it sure helped me.
    I now just use strips of the paper.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  25. #25
    Super Member quilterguy27's Avatar
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    OK, I've read everyone's responses and one thing I haven't seen anyone mention. Do you "square up" your blocks before you sew them together. If you are making HSTs I'd try making them a bit larger than what is called for. Sew them together and press. Then square them up (trim them) to the exact size you need. Then they should all be the same size before you try to put them together. Good Luck!

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