Using a Rotary Cutter for Strip Quilting

Successfully Cutting Through Quilts

When using a rotary cutter for quilting it can speed up the cutting process. It is a round cutting blade in the shape of a wheel attached to a handle. It is very sharp! Used inproperly you could cut yourself. Before buying one be sure it has a safety latch and learn how to use it properly.

One popular method of quilting using a rotary cutter is strip quilting. It is a faster method that produces lovely results. It involves cutting long strips of fabric with a rotary cutter and sewing them together, then cutting them again to make the individual blocks. A rotary cutter is used with a ruler and cutting mat and can cut through several layers of fabric at once.

Strip Cutting Procedures

To cut strips, you have to align the pattern and fabric to begin with. This can be done by using a ruler to determine the dimensions you will cut. If the strip you want to cut is to have two inches, put a peice of tape on the ruler to mark the desired length and move with the ruler across the fabric to obtain a two inch strip.

Always do this on a cutting mat to protect your work surface and to not dull your blade to quickly. A dull blade will produce poor results, you will need to sharpen it or replace it.

After setting the markings in the right place, you have to cut the fabric. Use a rotary cutter which can cut through several layers of material. Remember that the strips will determine the pattern figures you will use, so this is why you need to mark them beforehand to insure that your quilting work won't be affected.

The same process is to be repeated when making rectangular shapes. Square shapes are obtained in the same way but you will have to cut two square forms.

If there is a thick fabric, then you need to cut two rectangular shapes per cut. To make a quick operation, to obtain three fabric strips measuring three inches and a half per forty-four, you will need in fact to cut six inches and a half per three inches and a half per six inches and a half in order to be able to form the rectangles.

If you want triangles, you need to set up an initial 45-degree angle. The squares can be cut according to a set slope or to obtain, equal sides, by following the diagonal. When dealing with triangular shapes, bear in mind that longer sides need more seaming work to be completed on them.

A finish line for a triangle or side would need a two inch-measurement, however to ensure you have enough room left, when cutting triangular side, leave two inches and a half as set measurement.

To take exact measurements, use a heavy-duty ruler in order to create templates and cut through fabrics.

What you need to do is to align the templates on the material then mark the edges on all three sides; then use the ruler to cut in straight lines, over the template, the desired strips. When the template is securely into its position, you can then cut the material by following its width.

Once the patterns are cut with a rotary cutter, they need to be organized and then cut again into smaller pieces. When you do the cutting work, make sure not to lose the pieces in the process, so it is best to gather them in the exact way they were positioned when the fabric was cut. You can then put them in different sets, stack them near the sewing stations according to the uses you will give them.

Finishing Technique

When the pieces are organized in places, you need to press them. Prepare an iron to press the material but be careful, because gentle pressing doesn't mean ironing. What you need to do is to press, lift the material, then press again and relocate, in a process that takes up several cycles before it is complete. In that way, you are not ironing the fabric, you are just pressing it.

You need to put the press the stitching area on he fabric, together with the seams and allowances in the fabric. Remember that you need to follow the same direction when pressing the material and that in order to strengthen your material; you need to press seams on one side.

You may not realize it now, but pressing represents an important part of quilting, because after cutting the patterns, you now need to press them perfectly to obtain the quilting piece you diligently worked on.

Please enjoy this short video that demonstrates how to use a rotary cutter.

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