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Topic: Anyone especially good at cutting?  (Read 1393 times)
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« on: September 27, 2008 06:20:54 PM »

ok Im starting on my first quilt ever, i really have no idea how, but thats besides the point.  i drew out the very simple design and planned the size of each piece.   Its very organized.

When i started cutting i discovered its very hard, nearly impossible to get a right angle! i know that everything has to be precise.   i bought a rotary cutter, a mat and a big clear ruler.  These are my questions i am desperate.

  How do i get the fabric not to move around when im trying to cut it?  Im trying to get precise angles here!

 Any tips for using a rotary cutter?  Any tips for managing fabric thats way bigger than your mat and desk? I end up just so frustrated and angry!


Huh                                help!                             Embarrassed
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2008 08:50:43 AM »

When I took a quilting class, they used a huge, wide ruler and a large cutting mat.  The largest you can find, the better.  They'd fold the yardage into 1/3 or 1/4 widths and line it up so the bumpy edge was slightly over the yellow grid line on the mat.  Then they'd put the ruler (big enough to extend beyond both edges of the fabric) over the fabric and slice off the narrow bumpy section, aligning the ruler with the yellow lines.  Then they'd make strips in whatever width needed following the same steps.

I've got a handful of vintage patterns up for trade/swap (1950s/60s): Monograms, embellished bags, men's robe, lace work, spats/bags, bell bottom, mod dress.  PM if interested.
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2008 10:22:36 AM »

I would suggest you check out utube. There are lots of very informative tutorials on quilting. I think seeing it is easier than trying to understand written instructions.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2008 10:23:27 AM by melicon » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2008 10:54:49 AM »

I am not sure what size fabric and mat you are dealing with, but I can tell you what I do.  My mat has a 23" x 35" grid (the mat is 24" x 36"), and I have all kinds of rulers and cutters.  The first thing I do after washing and ironing my fabric, is to "square up" the end of my fabric. Squaring up is easier to do than explain.  See https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=210555.msg2259145#msg2259145  for an explanation on squaring up (no need to retype the same ol same ol).

To cut a straight line with the rotary cutter, you need to hold the cutter in your dominate hand (I'm right handed) and hold the ruler still (and straight) in  your other hand near where you are cutting - as you move your cutter past your hand on  your ruler, carefully move your hand up the ruler (I use a spider crawl, so my hand never completely leaves the ruler). 

As for making 45 degree angles - is this for triangles or trapezoids?  There are a variety of techniques that work well. For half square triangles, I love the E-Z Angle rulers cut from strips, but some people prefer a grid method or using foundation paper they purchase for such things (I forget the brand name).  If you give more details, perhaps I could give more specific instructions. . .

One is less than three.
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2008 03:38:42 PM »

a couple of tips that might help.  place your ruler where there is the most fabric so that your pressure will hold it.  also to keep fabric or the ruler from slipping spread your fingers so that your pinkie is on the outside of the ruler so that when you press against the ruler to cut it won't move...also, when cutting strips move your hand and cut in sections...hold the ruler, cut, stop, reposition your hand, cut, stop, reposition...hope this helps.
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2008 03:56:58 PM »

these were very helpful! the spider thing and the pinkie thing..  i finished cutting!  i already sewed a lot of stuff together, i will post a pic when (if) i finish!
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2008 05:44:23 PM »

I'm glad you had luck with this, just wanted to offer some extra tips. I fold the fabric in half, selvage to selvage, then again, fold to selvages. Make sure to line up the selvage and fold edges, not the cut edges of the fabric. This will get everything straight on the grain of the fabric. Then lay one end on your mat. I'm right handed so the extra fabric extends to my left. I take an 18" long ruler and cut off the uneven cut edges. Then I take my second ruler and put that against the cut edge to the width I need. I put my long ruler against the one measuring my cut. That way I know it's *exactly* at the measurement I need and I can move the first ruler up and down to make sure everything's lined up to that measurement. I take away the measuring ruler, put my weight on my left hand on the ruler and cut. Perfect and straight. I never really had luck using the grid on the mat, so this works well for me.
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2008 08:25:42 AM »

these were very helpful! the spider thing and the pinkie thing..  i finished cutting!  i already sewed a lot of stuff together, i will post a pic when (if) i finish!
Glad our tips were helpful!!!  Don't forget to post the finished project!!

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« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2008 05:57:11 PM »

Here's my two cents.
Screw the cutting.  Lay that project aside and make a small (crib/lap/gift) item to practice on. 
Tear your fabric into strips by clipping or using your rotary cutter to make small slashes at the edge and then ironing the strips down afterward.  Sew your strips and then cut those. 
Try paper piecing.  Even the worst person at cutting straight can get these to look great.
Who says everything has to be precise?  God?  You can make your quilt to look however you want and if it is wonky, do be it.  Don't even worry about it.  If it is lumpy or a bit wavy or not flat at all, just use a seriously fat batt and tie it.  No problem.  You are not planning to enter this into the quilt-of-the-world competition.  Look at some quilts if you can.  Look at them standing across the room and then up close.  There are typically gobs of small "errors". 
Start small.  You would not built a house before you tried build a dog house or table (unless you are an idiot).  Quilts are the same.  You can start giant, but your success and pleasure will be limited by the pressure you put on yourself.
The scant 1/4 inch "rule" is crap.  This is quoted by every "expert" when most probably don't even know what it really means but like it only  because it sounds like something an expert says.  "scant quarter inch" means 2 or 3 threads less than 1/4 of an inch.  Does that even sound like something that is truly possible to do consistently?
No one had a rotary cutter, mat, fancy thread, videos, or other modern luxuries in the past, yet wonderful quilts were made.  I yer granny could do it, so can you!

Good luck and have lots of fun!

Here's my stuff:


Are you making a selvage quilt?  I have some to share. PM me.
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2008 07:58:07 AM »

Who says everything has to be precise?  God?  You can make your quilt to look however you want and if it is wonky, do be it.  Don't even worry about it.

THANK YOU. - I came in here to say exactly that. I have a great tendency to freak out over this precise issue, and have to breathe and remember the same thing.
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